The Referral: The Filmcake finishes a film, has regrets, starts a discussion

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.

A Look Back With Dwight Edwards of The Filmcake: The 2009 Festival

The 10th edition of deadCENTER is just ONE WEEK AWAY. The drone of festival buzz is in the air. Anticipation can barely be contained. Hyperbole abounds. Since I’ll be seeing a ton of films starting in just one week, I decided to keep it short and sweet this week as I look back at last year’s festival. There were plenty of great feature films that screened last year. My two favorite features happened to be documentaries, the wonderful Sweethearts of the Prison Rodeo from Bradley Beesley and the Best Documentary Feature winner Official Rejection. Both definitely worth checking out. But, I’m sticking with short films in this final recap. The short film programs are often your best bet. You can pack in a bunch of movies in a short period of time. And if you happen to run across a not-so-good one, you only have to wait a few minutes for something else to start playing. Luckily, there are more than enough real gems to be found as well. For this week, I looked back at SAFE, Hit Boys II Men, Whore, The SPAM Job, and Miracle Investigators.
 
SAFE – A nice Okie short that came out of Living Art’s 2009 24-Hour Video Race contest. A curious kid tries to see what is locked away in his neighbor’s safe. Given the limitations of the video contest, the film is nicely done with a fair amount of restraint. Good camera work. Not too wordy. But certainly very promising. The two young filmmakers, Bunee Tomlinson and Jackson Fall are also bringing a couple of films to this year’s festival as part of the Kids’ Fest shorts program–Mom’s Favorite Vase and Without a Doubt–which will screen Friday and Saturday mornings at the downtown library.
 
This 5-minute short film is available on Vimeo.
 
Hit Boys II Men – Another Okie short from the ubiquitous Singletree Productions. Mark Potts, Cole Selix, and Brand Rackley deliver a funny dark comedy about desire, redemption, and…MURDER. On the one hand, it emits an honest vibe of three friends sitting around the house, goofing around, and just deciding to make a movie. It looks like they’re all having a blast. On the other hand, it happens to be well crafted, quite funny and eminently watchable. Stone’s (Potts) delayed reaction to drinking the raw eggs makes me laugh every time. The Singletree crew was also responsible for the very hilarious Hard Justice promo videos before each screening at the 2009 festival. This year they return with the feature Simmons on Vinyl and the short The Bedazzler.
 
This 20-minute short film is available online.
 
Whore – Screened during the Midnight Shorts program, this 22-minute short film from Prarthana Mohan follows Wendy’s awkward high school experience. Wendy (the excellent Corina Boettger) is a former home-schooled student who both fears and is fascinated by the sexuality around her. As the bullies encroach, she must come to terms with her own sexuality while figuring out who are her real friends. The director is respectful of the female lead, her religious home-school background, and her dysfunctional family. These depictions are tempered, seeming more honest than exploitative.
 
The SPAM Job – This 12-minute short film directed by Padraic Culham follows a stolen can of SPAM in a story of international mystery. This “documentary” follows the multitude of evidence that surrounds the theft of the aforementioned meat-like product. The filmmakers play it so straight that in between all of the laughs you almost begin to actually care about the eventual outcome of the investigation.
 
Miracle Investigators – My favorite short film from the 2009 festival. This 13-minute comedy short from Jeremy Dehn certainly delivers on the laughs. The movie has to contain two of the most quotable and hilarious lines of dialogue from any deadCENTER film past or present: “I’ve been pretty New Testament with you up to now, want to see me go Old?” and “I gave up ass-kicking for Lent/But it’s not Lent/I know.” The movie also very competently alludes to old cop shows and kung fu movies. I could watch this one ALL day.

 

 

Next Wednesday: The 10th Annual deadCENTER Film Festival begins!!!

A Look Back With Dwight Edwards of The Filmcake: The 2007 Festival

In the Guest Spot today, we have Dwight Edwards, the man behind the very cool Okie-film website The Filmcake. Dwight has attended deadCENTER every year since 2002 (we’re willing to forget the two years he was absent, as he was there in spirit), and even contributed to our live blog of the festival in 2009. Every Wednesday until the festival, we’ll feature his look back at the deadCENTER film festivals of old, starting with 2002. This week: 2007

I think the defining moment of the 2007 deadCENTER Film Festival was the WORLD PREMIERE of famed international auteur Esteban Don Von McDonaldson’s brilliant film, L’Hell. Truly, deadCENTER had come into its own with this spectacular get. First, it’s in French. So you know it’s really good. Second, it’s in black and white. So you know it’s REALLY good. Despite the infamy surrounding that film’s premier, it turns out there were some other films that screened at the festival as well. For this week’s look back, I re-watched UFO’s At The Zoo, Shwarma: Spawn From Hell, BITCH, and Man With a Moustache.

UFO’s At The Zoo — The Flaming Lips have become a deadCENTER staple. Wayne Coyne, Bradley Beesley, and George Salisbury brought their footage of the 9/15/06 Zoo Amphitheater concert to the Saturday night outdoor screening. They returned in 2008 with the long-awaited Christmas on Mars and this year’s they’ll bring their documentary short Blastula: The Making of Embryonic to the festival.

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A Look Back With Dwight Edwards of The Filmcake: The 2006 Festival

In the Guest Spot today, we have Dwight Edwards, the man behind the very cool Okie-film website The Filmcake. Dwight has attended deadCENTER every year since 2002 (we’re willing to forget the two years he was absent, as he was there in spirit), and even contributed to our live blog of the festival in 2009. Every Wednesday until the festival, we’ll feature his look back at the deadCENTER film festivals of old, starting with 2002. This week: 2006

Ahh…2006. There was Maxed Out and Brothers of the Head.  There was The McPassion and Secession. There was Rusty Forkblade and Mr. Malikai. There was Binta and the Great Idea and Entre Luz Y Sol. There was even Armand Assante as a super-serious mall cop. And still some of the most enjoyable stuff I saw at that festival was before the films even started. The City of deadCENTER spots, starring Matt Brown, were among the best stuff at the festival. After 2006, I began to anticipate these spots almost as much as the regularly submitted films.

But, alas, a film festival is more than its brilliant intro spots. For this week, I take a look back at Maxed Out, Outside Sales, Mr. Malikai Battles the Aeroplane, and Secession.

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A Look Back With Dwight Edwards of The Filmcake: The 2005 Festival

In the Guest Spot today, we have Dwight Edwards, the man behind the very cool Okie-film website The Filmcake. Dwight has attended deadCENTER every year since 2002 (we’re willing to forget the two years he was absent, as he was there in spirit), and even contributed to our live blog of the festival in 2009. Every Wednesday until the festival, we’ll feature his look back at the deadCENTER film festivals of old, starting with 2002. This week: 2005
 
The 2005 festival was madly hot. While Mad Hot Ballroom DID kick off dCFF ’05 at the Noble Theatre, the rest of the fest was literally sweltering. All the venues were blasting fans. Whatever good the air circulation might have provided was mitigated by the drowning out of sound on some of the films. Despite the sweat, it was still a blast of a festival. This week I’ll be looking back at Rosevelt’s America, Admissions, and The Fearless Freaks.
 

A Look Back With Dwight Edwards of The Film Cake: 2002

In the Guest Spot today, we have Dwight Edwards, the man behind the very cool Okie-film website The Filmcake. Dwight has attended deadCENTER every year since 2002, and even contributed to our live blog of the festival in 2009. Every Wednesday until the festival, we’ll feature his look back at the deadCENTER film festivals of old, starting with 2002.

This year I’ll attend my seventh deadCENTER Film Festival. Once again, I await that week in June with boundless anticipation. Familiar faces, great and not-so-great movies, flowing beer. What more does one need? The 10th Anniversary edition of the festival arrives in just eight weeks. In anticipation of that, I’m going to go back and rewatch some of the festival movies that I remember fondly, remember quite UN-fondly, or just flat out missed the first time around. I’ll start with the 2002 festival and work my way up weekly to this year’s festival. Here we go!

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