Last Friday the 13th was definitely fitting for an event centering on the works of Edgar Allen Poe. That evening saw the film adaptations of several of Poe’s stories and poems by local filmmakers during The Poe Project, part of the Sacramento International Film Festival, at the Crest Theatre. The screening was organized by the Sacramento Public Library and the Capital Film Arts Alliance--a non-profit organization of filmmakers, actors and writers. This screening event brought together film, classic literature and even fashion design under the horror genre.
The evening started off with promotion of local organizations and a reception in the theater’s lobby. The organizations included the Sacramento Public Library who were promoting their book at their table--“The Slender Poe”, a collection of Edgar Allen Poe’s works produced by the library’s I Street Press. One table down The Capital Film Arts Alliance sold DVDs of the films that would be screened that evening. In a darkened, remote area of the lobby a prop of a severed snarling head “greeted” visitors at Sacramento Horror Film Festival’s table that offered much literature and promotional material, including posters, for their annual film festival that occurs each October.
The Poe Couture, a Poe-inspired fashion show, began in the main auditorium at 6 p.m. Each fashion design was inspired by a work or ideal of Poe, such as a costume consisting of a black leotard and a metallic cage-like skirt that symbolized Poe’s tormented mentality. Though this costume was not a winner, it drew much attention in the lobby after the fashion show where attendees snapped photos of the model in front of a logoed screen. The winners of the show were as follows: First Place, Sacha Laurin for her design “On the River”; Second Place, Kyle Gujeton for “The Raven”; Third Place, Rachel Lewis’s design “The Valentine”.
The film screening and awards began at 7 p.m. also in the main auditorium with a much larger crowd than for the fashion show, almost every seat having been occupied. The screening was introduced by the organizers, including a representative from the library who announced such events as ones related to Poe and Halloween coming this October, including the official release of “The Slender Poe” (October 2, 6:30 p.m. Central Library) and even the release of a Poe inspired brand of beer, Edgar Allen Porter. The origins of the screening were discussed which were said to begin with the idea for a simple reading of Poe’s works but had turned into a screening of short film adaptations instead. Each film was 13 minutes or less, a total of 11 movies. Movies included the following: “A Dream Within A Dream”, a very short but concise portrait of the artist (poet to be exact) that only ran for under two minutes, the poem of the same name being recited by the movie’s narrator; “The Task of Amontillado”, which was set in 19th Century New Orleans and appeared to have been filmed partly at Sacramento’s Delta King river boat; “Ligeia”.
The winners of the film competition were announced at the end of the screening. The winners were as follows: For Best Overall Film, director Paul Kramer’s “Ligeia”; Best Adaptation, director Dean Carl and producer Cathy McGreevy’s “Cask of Amontillado”; Best Film Inspiration, producer Reginald Waters’ “Ligeia”; Best Student Film- College, Director Andrew Blankenship’s and producer Lizet Fernandez’s “a dream within a dream”. Winners of other categories can be seen at Capital Film Arts Alliance’s website. The Project cumulated in an after-party at the Blackbird Kitchen and Bar.
The Poe Project was an example of how Sacramento is forming not only a larger film community but also one that is showing its appreciation for classic authors, including gothic horror writers such as Poe. It is definitely an example of how Sacramento is turning into a city of film, literary and fashion culture.