The Reeler


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


--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


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


--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


--CMJ FilmFest
--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


--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


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


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


--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


--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


--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

NYC Film Festivals

Indie Flavor, Green Focus at Animation Block Party

By Annaliese Griffin

Animation Block Party got its start in a bar. A series of bars, actually. Founder Casey Safron had been organizing semi-regular screenings of animation work by friends and students from the School of Visual Arts in bars and performance spaces around the city when an audience member, who was also a writer for The New York Times, complimented his curatorial powers and urged Safron to organize a larger, more formal event.

Calm before the storm: A scene from David Schlafman's global warming PSA, one of several in a program scheduled for this year's Animation Block Party (Photo: ABP)

Several months and hundreds of submissions later, the festival debuted on a rooftop in Bushwick. The rain that had worried Safron and his collaborators all day cleared just before the doors opened and more than 300 people crowded onto the roof, making the inaugural run an unqualified success. Now in its fourth year, Animation Block Party has become a full-fledged festival. It opens Friday as a Rooftop Films presentation at Automotive High School in Williamsburg.

Safron, who heads the animation department at SVA, still curates the festival, matching each program in the four-day festival to its screening space. “We get so many different genres between music videos, narrative shorts, gross-out cartoons, each night we try to really zone in on what’s right for that venue,” he recently told The Reeler. “Each night does have a feeling. I wouldn’t call it a theme, but we try to capitalize on each venue’s ethos.” In addition to the opening night in Williamsburg, which will feature narrative shorts and student work, the festival screens narrative shorts at the Pioneer Theater; experimental pieces and music videos at Galapagos Art Space, also in Williamsburg; and award-winning and international works -- including some Sundance selections -- at BAM.

The Sunday night program at Galapagos includes a presentation from the Lower East Side Ecology Center by an Al Gore-trained emcee. Animated public service announcements about global warming will be integrated into the ecology lesson. “We wanted something that would get a message to our audience, online and beyond,” Safron said about the festival green angle. “We really wanted to have a New York-based organization we could plug into our festival -- plug into the community so people would have a place they could go to if they were in New York and had questions. ... We opened up a call for people to submit public service announcements that they would like us to fund.”

Although it has grown exponentially over the past few years, Safron makes every effort to keep ABP true to its roots. “We’ve made a point to be very indie and grassroots and always keep the submission fees very low, and that’s something I’ve always emphasized,” he said. “I personally think that with a big festival, when you pay like $75 to submit your two-minute film, then what is the point of that?” Currently, students who submit early pay only $5 per entry.

Safron also emphasized that viewers who attend ABP screening get a lot of entertainment for their ticket. Most of the screenings include live music, the film program itself, plus an open bar and after-party. “How can you go wrong with that on a Friday night?”

Animation Block Party runs July 27-30 at Rooftop Films, the Pioneer Theater and BAM. Visit the festival's Web site for full details and program listings.

Posted at July 26, 2007 6:28 AM

Comments (3)

Can't wait for the festival. The films I saw last year at the Block Party were from all over the place, Vancouver Art School, Rhode Island, NYU, Royal College of Art in London, Cal Arts, USC, truly an international student show. Plus there were so many amazing professional films like the Wraith of Cobble Hill, that movie was incredible, I still remember it from last summer. Tons of Indie stuff too. I reallt really can't wait.

animation block party sounds super cool. one of my friends is screening their film and i will be there to hangout and have some drinks. this will be so much fun.

I went to the opening night of Animation Block Party and the third night with the ecological presentation, and both were different and amazing in their own ways. The films on the first night were funny, silly and alternative and the third night were more visionary and experimental. Also I learned a ton of stuff from the ecological presentation and have the checklist they gave out on my fridge.

Looking forward to next summer,


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