I had a blast at Dead Center Film Festival in Oklahoma City. Five days of independent film and, even though I went for all of it, the sheer number of simultaneous showings made it impossible to see everything. Still, there were some true gems. “In This Place” (filmmaker Amy Bench) won best student film at DeadCenter. Best documentary short was “A Song for Ourselves” (also great- about one of the founders of the Asian-American movement). Best feature doc was “A Good Day to Die” (about the founding of AIM – great film). And grand jury doc film was “Our House” (about squatters in a collaborative space in New York City) which was darned good. I really liked “How To Lose Your Lover”. The Extra Man had a packed Museum of Art auditorium laughing all the way through. It takes a lot for someone else to make me laugh, and Kevin Klein had us all rolling – funniest film I can remember seeing, ever.
The “Midnight Shorts” segment, unfortunately, was marred by a maturity deficit in the audience, and an excess of bumpkinism – it went from people cackling with enjoyment at blood and suffering (beginning with a film about a serial killer) to people shouting out their own narrations. Might as well have been opening night of any film with Steven Seagal or Jean Claude Van Damme. Since it was ruining the venue, I ditched it.
Holy Rollers – about Hasidic Jews smuggling Extacy into NYC – was immense. The “X-Files” shorts segment had some killer vids – most of them, in fact, but To Be Remembered by Kelley Katzenmeyer should take the cake. It was about a girl (and others) whom people couldn’t remember for more than a moment – they were immune from memory.
In This Place by Amy Bench production values were high, the writing had depth, and she closed the deal with the audience, even if not everyone realized it. It wasn’t a laughing film, mostly, but it was great film. Only thing is, the venue shouldn’t call the segment of films “Kidfest” – people expect “kid” stuff to be cute. It’s student film if they must class it differently, or youth film if they can’t help tacking an age issue onto it, but kid stuff this film wasn’t.
Biker Fox was freaking fantastic. Frank DeLarzelere (BikerFox) is now officially one of my heroes. He takes and has taken a lot of undue crap, but I like him.