The Reeler
FESTIVAL CALENDAR

JUNE

--Brooklyn International Film Festival
--Human Rights Watch International Film Festival
--Media That Matters Festival
--NewFest LGBT Film Festival
--Rooftop Films
--Swiss American Film Festival
--Urbanworld

JULY

--Japan Cuts: Festival of New Japanese Films
--NY African Film Festival
--NY Asian Film Festival
--NY Asian American Film Festival
--NY International Latino Film Festival
--Reel Venus Film Festival
--Rooftop Films
--Rural Route Film Festival
--Scanners: The NY Video Festival

AUGUST

--ACE Film Festival
--Central Park Film Festival
--LaCinemaFe Film Festival
--NY Korean Film Festival
--Rooftop Films

SEPTEMBER

--Coney Island Film Festival
--Impact Festival
--IFP Market/Independent Film Week
--NY Brazilian Film Festival
--NYC Midnight Movie Making Madness
--Next Reel International Film Festival

OCTOBER

--Cinekink
--CMJ FilmFest
--DocFest
--E.Vil City Film Festival
--Fordham Law Film Festival
--Hamptons International Film Festival
--Harlem International Film Festival
--NY Film Festival
--NY Bad Films Festival
--NYC Horror Film Festival
--NY Turkish Film Festival
--Pordenone Silent Film Festival Weekend at BAM
--Russian Film Week
--South Asian International Film Festival
--Woodstock Film Festival

NOVEMBER

--African Diaspora Film Festival
--Avignon New York Film Festival
--Indo-American Arts Council Film Festival
-- International Dog Film Festival
--Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival
--Native American Film + Video Festival
--NY International Independent Film and Video Festival
--NY Lesbian & Gay Experimental Film Festival
--Queens International Film Festival

JANUARY

--Explorers Club Documentary Film Festival
--NY Jewish Film Festival

FEBRUARY

--NY Arab and South Asian Film Festival
--Red Shift Festival
--SinCine Fest

MARCH

--Craic Film Fleadh
--Fusion Film Festival
--Harlem Stage on Screen
--Independent Thai Film Festival
--New Directors/New Films
--NY International Children's Film Festival
--NY Underground Film Festival
--Westchester Film Festival

APRIL

--Brooklyn Underground Film Festival
--Gen Art Film Festival
--Havana Film Festival in NY
--NY African Film Festival
--Sprout Film Festival
--Tribeca Film Festival
--Urban Visionaries Film Festival

MAY

--Bicycle Film Festival
--Bosnian-Herzegovinian Film Festival
--NY International Children's Film Festival
--NY Minute Film Festival
--NY Polish Film Festival
--Pacifika: NY Hawaiian Film Festival
--Sundance at BAM
--Be Film / Tribeca Underground Film Festival

ONGOING --Animation Block
--Asbury Shorts of New York
--Caroline's Funny Film Shorts
--First Sundays Comedy Film Festival
--NewFilmmakers

NYC Film Festivals

Going Underground

Chad England and Anna Biller in VIVA, the opening night film of the NY Underground Film Festival (Photo: NYUFF/Anna Biller)

By Elena Marinaccio

Spring is finally here, but like Persephone, New York will be snatched up and hauled back underground for one more tumble in the Hades hay before April's full bloom of blockbuster red carpet premieres. Celebrating its 14th year as the city's unofficial arbiter of all that is indie and experimental in film and video, the New York Underground Film Festival kicks off tonight with what co-director Mo Johnston calls its most interactive year yet.

"We're trying to expand into making the screenings seem like actual events as opposed to just screenings," Johnston told The Reeler in a recent chat. "We have people coming in from all over the world, which is really awesome and kind of the whole point of the festival: for the filmmakers to be there and be able to talk with us and meet the people who see their films. We try to coordinate things, like every night we have a party afterwards... to make it sort of a cohesive thing, so it's not just something completely separate."

Other interactive highlights of the week-long fest include For a Blonde... For a Brunette... For Someone... For Her... For You, a video short that invites the audience to reenact, karaoke-style, a crucial scene from Vertigo (as part of Friday night's Welcome To Normal program of experimental shorts) and Tube Time! -- a follow up to last year's inaugural audience-judged game show featuring "NYUFF celebrities" including Gabe Liedman (A Night With Gabe and Jenny), Rich Juzwiak (Four Four blog), and last year’s winner Kenrdra Levin, each competing with their stash of scandalous Internet videos shown up on the big screen.

The fest features 14 programs of shorts and several documentaries, including the New York premiere of Usama Alshaibi's ominous 2004 Baghdad homecoming, Nice Bombs. Johnston noted the jump in sexploitation submissions for '07, including the fest opener, feminist homage flick VIVA and Doris Wishman's posthumous Each Time I Kill, which will have its world premiere on Friday night and a repeat showing on Monday.

Although many of the films will be re-screened next week, the fest officially ends Sunday with another New York premiere of Victor Zimet and Stephanie Silber's Random Lunacy: Videos from the Road Less Traveled, a documentary about "wandering soul" Poppa Neutrino and his extended family of fellow travelers. "The whole gang of them is coming to the screening," Johnston said. "[Neutrino] is coming, his daughter is coming up from New Orleans, and they have a sort of musical band, so they're all going to be there. It's great to show a film that has a huge community because it's such a great event for them -- it's great to have people who are really excited to be there and want to have fun.

"That's definitely the goal," Johnston added, "And it's definitely the only way that something like the NYUFF can sustain itself: by having the people who care about it have a good time while they're there."

The New York Underground Film Festival runs through April 3 at Anthology Film Archives; visit the fest's Web site for more information.

Posted at March 28, 2007 9:39 AM

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