Beginning this week, every Tuesday we’ll be pointing out a new film in theaters, on demand, or on DVD that we think you should know about. This week Program Director Kevin Ely looks at 2009 Best Documentary Award Winner OFFICIAL REJECTION. Got a pick of the week? Post your picks in the comments below.
In 2006, writer Paul Osborne and director Scott Smith brought their indie thriller TEN TILL NOON to deadCENTER, walked away with the Jury Prize for Documentary Feature, and hit the festival trail in search of fame and glory. In 2009, Paul and Scott returned to deadCENTER with a new film and a huge chip on their shoulder.
OFFICIAL REJECTION tells the sordid tale of Scott and Paul’s death march through the highs and lows of the independent film festival circuit, debunking the rags-to-riches myths perpetuated by festival behemoths like Sundance, and providing a firm-but-loving slap in the face to delusional filmmakers around the world. Did I mention that it’s hilarious?
Somehow director Osborne manages to create an unflinching, (semi) sober and jaded look at the politics of the festival process without losing the enthusiasm and love for movies that brought him there in the first place. Maybe it’s the genuine camaraderie between him and TTN director Scott Storm that comes through in every scene. Maybe it’s the good experiences they have along the way in places like Phoenix (and Oklahoma City, sadly relegated to the end credits). Maybe it’s the drinks. Whatever. Paul Osborne made a great doc that should be seen by indie-film lovers everywhere, and should be required viewing in every film program in the country.
Our good friend Dwight over at The Filmcake published a really interesting blog post we think deserves your attention. Having just finished his first short film, he has begun to reflect on the reviews he’s written from the perspective of a new filmmaker.
Along the way, he touches on several things many of us involved with independent film at any level struggle with – how important are access and funding? To what extent, if any, should those circumstances affect or make themselves known to the viewer? And finally, how should critics approach low or no-budget films?
Read the whole thing here. And when you’re done, we’d love to hear what you think about the subject in our comments section below.
Houston Press writer and Film Threat contributor Pete Vonder Haar checks in with an epic account of his time at this year’s deadCENTER Film Festival, including how he got a wicked black eye during a screening.
The quotes are meaty and plentiful, but here’s one of our favorites: “In this, its tenth year, deadCENTER is firing on all cylinders and is — in my humble opinion — one of the best film festivals around. Period.”
On July 15th, Cacky Poarch will be stepping down as Executive Director of the deadCENTER Film Festival. Cacky actually made this decision before the festival, but was asked to keep the announcement confidential until yesterday.
Here’s a statement from Cacky herself…
I’ve been doing this gig for the past 8 years, both as a volunteer and employee, and it’s been a great ride.
For our 10th anniversary, the Festival hosted a Decade of deadCENTER Retrospective at the IAO Gallery (thank you Jennifer, Alyx and Brian!) and it was a sincere gift to be able to reminisce about how much our festival has grown over the last decade. Since moving the festival downtown with the ‘Fab Five’, the festival has experienced continual growth that has been amazing. The festival experienced a 2000% revenue growth, which seems outlandish, but it’s true. Even Lloyd Kaufman, the owner of the oldest independent film studio, Troma Studios, has said that we are the best run film festival he has ever attended. We are all extremely proud of that.
For our 10th year, we can honestly say we rocked the face off OKC. We had record attendance, multiple world premieres and attracted the likes of Spike Jonze, Elvis Mitchell and even Simply Irresistible. That’s about every shade of fabulous a festival can hope for. We’ve also developed a solid strategic plan, and with a sound Board of Directors, the next Executive Director will have all the tools necessary to successfully take deadCENTER into the next decade.
A heartfelt thank you goes out to all our sponsors and volunteers that have helped make deadCENTER the largest and most prestigious film festival in Oklahoma. We couldn’t do it without community support and for that I am sincerely grateful. I’ve always said that people think our festival is run by magical fairies because it operates so smoothly. It’s truly because of the Kimmisioners’ hard work and all the volunteers that rally to make it a success.
Year 10! How in the world did we make it this far?! This inspired creation that almost closed it’s doors after year 2 has grown into the largest and most prestigious film festival in Oklahoma, and it has literally taken a village to get us here. In reviewing the past decade, we’ve reminisced about some of our favorite memories. Here is a cumulative top ten list:
Just in case you didn’t get sick of it before every screening this year, here’s one last look at our opening bumper for deadCENTER 10, featuring clips from many of our outstanding films. (we tried to include them all in a minute, but we didn’t want to induce any seizures from the quick edits).
Stay tuned for more fun from this year’s fest, and news on upcoming events!