The past week was a whirlwind of creative energy, community-boosting moments, innovative films and overall, a seriously cool culmination of indie spirit in Red Bank, NJ at the second annual Indie Street Film Festival! It’s hard to believe that another year has come and gone! And after an inspiring 5 days, the team behind Indie Street Film Festival was beyond honored to announce this year's award winners! "Like Me", directed by Robert Mockler, was named the best narrative feature and "Unrest", directed by Jennifer Brea, took the top prize for best documentary feature as we concluded five days of film screenings plus a wide array of special events and entertainment in Red Bank, New Jersey. Short film winners included Best Narrative Short – "Hold On", directed by Christine Turner and Best Documentary Short – "Little Potato", directed by Wes Hurley and Nathan M. Miller. Best Animation Film was awarded to "Pussy", directed by Renata Gasiorowski. The jury, including noted film critics, producers and filmmakers Alison Willmore (Buzzfeed), Dominic Davis (Rooftop Films), Heidi Reinberg (Producer), Leah Sapin (Human Rights Watch), Meredith Alloway (Writer), William Cusick (Filmmaker/Programmer), James Belfer (CEO, Cartuna), James Siewert (Award-Winning Director/Animator) and Ben Wiessner (Producer, Ornana Films), also presented Special Jury Awards for Best Editing to "Fish Story", directed by Charlie Lyne and Best Comedic Vision to "Business", directed by Kati Skelton. Red Bank artist and resident Gerda Liebmann earned an Audience Choice award for Best New Jersey Film for her first documentary, "You will be Persecuted". Audience Favorites included Best Narrative Short – "Resolutions", directed by Tamara Fisch and Best Narrative Feature – "Life Hack", directed by Sloan Copeland. Among the many discussions presented, notable panels included Adaptation, which included festival Advisory Board Member and noted Actor/Producer Arian Moayed (Rock the Kasbah) and Oscar-winner Mara Kassin, and Meet the Programmers, featuring Larisa Apan (Hamptons Film Festival) and Opal Hope Bennett (Nantucket Film Festival, Doc NYC). A community mural project at Kitch Organic, an appearance by special surprise guest Actor Amir Arison (The Blacklist), a community barbecue, provided by JBJ Soul Kitchen following the screening of "Barbecue", a documentary directed by Matthew Salleh, and the world premiere of "Brothers", the latest work from New Jersey filmmaker Jack Ballo, about two brothers who lived off the grid for four years in the woods of Sayreville, NJ filmed using only the camera in Ballo’s iPhone, were also festival highlights. “The films we’ve shared made us laugh, cry and hungry,” noted Jim Scavone, Executive Director of Red Bank RiverCenter, and the festival’s Managing Director. The films were screened and the special events held at multiple theatrical venues in Red Bank, including the historic Count Basie Theatre, the Two River Theater, Bow Tie Cinema and Red Bank Middle School. Winners from each feature film category will enjoy a shared 1-week theatrical release in NYC. At the awards presentation, Indie Street Film Festival’s Artistic Director Jay Webb confirmed the event would return to Red Bank in 2018 and planned a long-term commitment and partnership with sponsors and the local arts and business communities. Webb also posed a rhetorical question, asking attendees why support for independent artists and filmmakers was important. "In a world of digital content overload that demands more curation and leaves us less physically connected, gathering people in the community around film screenings and the arts is something our whole team believes is of critical importance,” Webb concluded. “Audiences in a theater or at a live art event in the presence of the creators will feel the shared emotional vibrations of the exhibition and truly become a part of the story. Offering locals, especially young people, these types of shared creative experiences can help them learn to accept human differences and not be afraid of them.” For more information about the screening of films from the festival, or how to connect with Indie Street Film Festival organizers, artists and filmmakers, visit www.indiestreetfilmfestival.org or follow us on social media!
If you can’t make it to SXSW 2017, what better way to numb away the sadness and pain by spending a few hours this week checking out Vimeo’s Streaming SXSW Channel? Watch films and music videos as if you were right there in Austin with all the other cool cats. And all from the comfort of your own home! Though the majority of selections available on the channel are narrative shorts and music videos, there are also feature length options to check out. Itching for some SXSW in your life? Head on over to Streaming @ SXSW 2017 and get watching NOW!
A few days ago, the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival announced their exciting competiton feature film line up, which you can learn more about here. And now, finally, we have been gifted with an incredible full slate of short films to look forward to next month! 57 films. 10 sections. 1 out of this world festival experience. You can check out the full list of shorts over on Variety! And don't forget: the 16th edition of the film festival runs April 19-30.
The 2017 Tribeca Film Festival line up announcements are starting to roll in and we are already super psyched for what's on the table so far! The US Narrative, Documentary, and International Narrative competition categories have been announced, as well as Spotlight, Viewpoints, and the popular Midnight section. The 16th annual Tribeca Film Festival takes place April 19th - 30th. You can check out the latest revealed chunk of their program here - and make sure to stay tuned for more!
A scorching sun. A Western route. A man in a car, destination unknown. A woman, seemingly aimless, offering purpose and direction and yet nothing at all. She is our modern day Madonna - and I don’t mean the musician. I’m speaking biblically. Celia Rowlson-Hall’s debut feature “MA” is a dreamlike journey, probably unlike anything else offered on film in recent years. Be warned, though watching is a challenge, patience will reward you with imagery, dancing, and genius that are far from the expected. With “MA”, you’ll find just what you need below the surreal simmering surface of creation. Rowlson-Hall’s unconventional offering attempts to follow the story of a modern day Virgin Mary, making her pilgrimage across the Western landscape - the desert. End goal? Both Las Vegas and birth. The Creation of our Christ Figure. Sound strange? Well, only silent choreography and movement lead the journey. Looking for words? Literally, try the Bible. But if you’re looking for something different, almost transcendental, that doesn’t utilize the moving image medium the way we’ve all narratively become accustomed to, then “MA” might be right up your alley. Our “Mary”, donning an XL T-shirt and cowboy boots, traverses across the baron land, the heat almost permeating off the screen. She encounters a troupe of bizarre characters along the way - some oppressive, some impressive. Her companion for much of the journey is Daniel, your gentle, average man (played by Andrew Pastides) - a sort of “Joseph” if you will. After the two are separated later in the film, she becomes both characters, masculine, preserving the tendency of this film to steer a bit off course from how we usually perceive Mary’s story. Every movement, costume, setting, and character becomes important to note, jumbled up and left to beautifully come together in one of the most bizarre cinematic puzzles I’ve ever witnessed. Celia Rowlson-Hall created a dance-based ode to spiritual concepts that translates if you know how to tune to this very particular frequency of storytelling. Try to join Rowlson-Hall’s pilgrimage blindly and silently - let feeling guide your way and emotion help you through this film. Give into the surreal nature with an active mind and patient eyes. Trust us, it’s not an easy thing to digest. But if you’re looking for a festival fare challenge, beautifully shot and uniquely staged, get acquainted with “MA”, well, ASAP! A true visionary work of art and inspiring voice, further cementing Celia Rowlson-Hall on our one-to-watch list.
To celebrate one of our favorite shorts of the last year getting STAFF PICKED on Vimeo, enjoy this reposting of our review of "The Past Inside the Present"! ------------------------------- Ever feel like everyday is the same? We all sit down, plug in and press play. Phones, computers, TVs, tablets. You name it, someone's connected to one. It's a routine we've come to adapt our lives to - day in and day out. A picture here...a video there...a FB post here...a tweet about something inane there. We've become a society so obsessed with documenting our lives within past and present moments that it actually makes the future seem like some intangible concept that never comes into fruition. Every second lived becomes the past at some point. We want to share and we want to document so we can go back and relive. Memories are best preserved and accessed in a physical or digital form, no? Well, what would happen if we totally escaped from the consequences of both our current and future obligations by having the ability to literally crawl back into the best instances of our memories? All of those moments we documented, in a cache or library of some kind, literally available and at the ready to welcome us back with open arms? Filmmaker James Siewert's animated short "The Past Inside the Present" brings us into an existence where all of this (and more!) is possible. His painstakingly handcrafted world shows us what could come from constantly being plugged in, portraying the soulless black and white by-product of shunning the idea of free, undocumented living. This insanely animated, slightly cyberpunk wonder is what Siewert calls an allegorical tale, displaying the actions of a couple trying to save their dying relationship by renewing it. And how so? By literally connecting themselves into a recorded moment from their time together. Yes, in this world, analog media literally works as a trippy, fucked up time traveling device. Like robots, they wire themselves in and for just a little while, disappear into the abyss. True renewal. While the act of unfulfilled but comfortably repetitive living seems like it would be a safe zone, that feeling is tangled here in an intricate jumble of insanity, madness and eventual emptiness. Past meets present meets future in one overlapping instance that seems to explode into infinity until it's all over and numb reality sets back in. It's dark, it's twisted and it's all very fascinating to disappear into for the 13-min journey. Ask yourself, is this the future world we really want to live in? In order to answer that, experiencing this film and its underlying lesson is a must. In the end, maybe...just maybe...we might realize we don't want this life outside of the confines of the film. The irony? We have to plug-in to watch and learn this fact. That's life in all its past, present and future glory. But oh, what a beautifully hand drawn payoff! Siewert must be one of the most diligent and innovative up-and-coming animator/directors out there and is definitely one to watch out for in the near future. From animations to music videos, he's got his talented rotoscoping, cinematic hands in a little bit of everything - a true connoisseur of independent creation. "The Past Inside the Present" was a project years in the making, meticulously filmed and drawn frame by frame by a small group. Each individual drawing combines with the others in order to create a dark treat that you should definitely feast your eyes upon and consume. The great news is that Indie Street gets to help release this must-see, mind-blowing film out into the wild, where it belongs, to claim its plugged-in victims. Watching this short and taking in its extras all feels like an adventure - one into the mind of a talented filmmaker that truly seems to understand the way humans are connecting and disconnecting with each other as well as where we came from and where we are now. Truly a case of the past inside the present. Check out the trailer below and then head on over to BitTorrent Now to download and watch the full film! While you're there, check out Indie Street's exclusive behind the scenes bundle, including the trailer, a 70 page handcrafted book chronicling the film's conception and production, animated GIFs and stills from the film, 2 time-lapse progress videos and finally, an epic music video honoring the completion of the film (as creative as the final product itself). All it takes is an email to get the full "The Past Inside the Present" experience! Don't miss out on this beautifully dark and prophetic opportunity. Just remember to disconnect, go out and live your life afterwards! WATCH THE FULL FILM FOR FREE NOW ON VIMEO!!!
Red hearts. Pink hearts. Roses. Chocolate. Kisses galore. The symbols and stereotypes of love we’ve come to expect. And what happens when they all culminate into one single day? Valentine’s Day, that’s what. A “holiday” of sorts that seems to always pop up unexpectedly, reminding us of our present lovers OR of our overwhelming solitude. Though the 2017 edition of this annoyingly omnipresent day is fast approaching, we’re up for a little diversion. So calls for another installment of our monthly discovery into the best in VOD and craft beer on the scene. Jayme G., Warehouse Supervisor at Advintage, is bringing us something a little less lovey dovey and a little more, well, psychotic this February. So, make plans to stay in on the 14th. Grab a heart shaped box full of chocolates (all for yourself) and slip into something sexy (or maybe just warm and comfortable), and get ready to get a little crazy! FILM: The Alchemist Cookbook"The Alchemist Cookbook" follows the bizarre story of Sean, an outcast that isolates himself - along with his cat - in the middle of nowhere in order to carry out some rather...unusual...experiments. Though seemingly “scientific” in nature, things begin to get far more sinister as Sean's alchemist trials and tribulations veer more towards some type of black voodoo magic than a high school chemistry experiment. Enticed? You should be. "The Alchemist Cookbook" is almost, just almost unlike anything I've ever seen before. A film more fitting to Halloween, we think this VOD indie is actually perfect for all you anti-Valentine’s Day loners. We’ll refrain from telling you too much about the film and tell ya to just check out the trailer below! If it’s your cup of tea (or beer!), well then we’ve brewed up the perfect crazy pairing to go with this one-of-a-kind story!
BEER: Straight To Ale's Unobtanium Jayme shares with us one of his favorite concoctions, suiting to this satantic, tooth-pulling tale: “With a heady film like “The Alchemist Cookbook”, my mind immediately jumps to high ABV and barrel-aged beers and Straight To Ale's Unobtanium seems an eerily perfect match - right down to the can design. The 12oz can literally features the devil in a lab coat! Unobtanium, an old "scientific" term for a material that perfectly fits the needs of a project but doesn't actually exist, is surprisingly approachable given its style. I guess you could say the same thing about black magic too, in that the first taste is so welcoming that it's easy to get carried away, and at 11% ABV, getting carried away can get you in trouble fast! Don't let black magic be the unobtanium in your life, try a nice beer instead! With a toffee aroma, a bit of dark fruit and vanilla flavor, a small bite of oak and alcohol, pretty soon you'll realize you have everything you need right there. Shoutout to Wayerbacher Brewing's Insanity, too, another barrel-aged beer, because... well, you get it.” There you go: the perfect pair for this season of love! Maybe even soul mates! And no Tinder, online dating or matchmaking required! Become a third wheel this Valentine’s Day with beer and VOD lovers that will make all your long term dating, boring friends jealous!
Last week, SXSW announced the bulk of their 2017 line-up, including all 100+ feature screenings. This week, the short films and midnighters were finally unveiled, along with SXSW’s new, inaugural virtual reality section. If you’re looking to satisfy all of your weird, sick, twisted, bizarre, innovative, eclectic, controversial tastes and get acquainted with some of the best in well-crafted storytelling that 2017 has to offer, you don’t want to miss out on this line-up! Head over to SXSW’s website to get the full program rundown.
Happy February! While you're bundling up and trying to stay WARM, it's looking like the full lineup for SXSW 2017 is shaping up to be very, very COOL. This year, the festival will screen 125 feature films, including 85 World Premieres and 51 films from first-time directors. Films, technology, panels, special events, music and more - what else could you want?! Austin is definitely the place to be this March if you're a lover of all things innovative and new. Terrence Malick's highly anticipated "Song to Song" is set to open the festival. Check out the full schedule here and start planning!
With another Slamdance Film Festival over and done with, a whole slew of oddball, outlier and unique indie films and stories are set to be unleashed out into the world and around the festival circuit. The 23rd annual festival saw a program of promising, emerging talent that will be on our radar for years to come. Check out the full list of winners below! Narrative Feature Grand Jury Prize: Dim the Fluorescents (Canada, Director: Daniel Warth) Narrative Features Honorable Mention: Kate Can’t Swim (USA, Director: Josh Helman) Documentary Feature Grand Jury Prize: Strad Style (USA, Director: Stefan Avalos) Documentary Feature Honorable Mention: The Modern Jungle (USA/Mexico, Directors: Charles Fairbanks, Saul Kak) Documentary Short Grand Jury Prize: Moriom (Switzerland, Directors: Francesca Scalisi, Mark Olexa) Documentary Short Honorable Mention: Irregulars (Italy, Director: Fabio Palmieri) Narrative Shorts Grand Jury Prize: No Other Way To Say It (USA, Director: Tim Mason) Narrative Shorts Honorable Mention: Oh What a Wonderful Feeling (Canada, Director: François Jaros) Animated Shorts Grand Jury Prize: Hold Me (Ca Caw Ca Caw) (USA, Director: Renee Zhan) Animated Shorts Honorable Mention: My Father’s Room (South Korea, Director: Nari Jang) Experimental Shorts Grand Jury Prize: UpCycles (USA, Director: Ariana Gerstein) Experimental Shorts Honorable Mention: Blua (Colombia, Director: Carolina Charry Quintero) Anarchy Shorts Grand Jury Prize: Ape Sodom (Canada, Director: Maxwell McCabe-Lokos) Anarchy Shorts Honorable Mention: Horseshoe Theory (USA, Director: Jonathan Daniel Brown) Spirit of Slamdance Award Winner: Neighborhood Food Drive (USA, Director: Jerzy Rose) Audience Award for Narrative Feature: Dave Made a Maze (USA, Director: Bill Watterson) Audience Award for Documentary Feature: Strad Style (USA, Director: Stefan Avalos) Audience Award for Beyond Feature: Future ‘38 (USA, Director: Jamie Greenberg)
With another exciting festival week about to wrap up, the 2017 Sundance Film Festival announced its short film awards on Wednesday, with the jury granting seven prizes overall. Check out the winners below and keep your eyes peeled for these shorts as they continue their successful runs on the festival circuit! Short Film Grand Jury Prize: “And so we put goldfish in the pool.” (Japan, Director: Makoto Nagahisa) Short Film Jury Award, US Fiction: “Lucia, Before and After” (USA, Director: Anu Valia) Short Film Jury Award, International Fiction: “And The Whole Sky Fit In the Dead Cow’s Eye” (Chile/USA, Director: Francisa Alegria) Short Film Jury Award, Non-Fiction: “Alone” (USA, Director: Garrett Bradley) Short Film Jury Award, Animation: “Broken - The Women’s Prison at Hoheneck” (Germany, Directors: Volker Shlecht, Alexander Lahl) Special Jury Award for Cinematography: “Dadyaa - The Woodpeckers of Rotha” (Nepal/France, Directors: Pooja Gurung, Bibhusan Basnet) Short Film Special Jury Award for Editing: “Laps” (USA, Director: Charlotte Wells)