Filmstock Film Festival is the longest running film festival in Arizona that has been dedicated to screening locally made independent film. Now covering the four corners, with festivals in New Mexico, Utah, Colorado and Arizona, the Filmstock Film Festival reaches out to independent filmmakers across the US, making their short films available to a wider audience, and giving their creativity the exposure it only rarely gets. This Saturday, October 5th 2013, Filmstock Film Festival has teamed up with IFP Phoenix and the Phoenix Film Festival to present “Filmstock In The Park.” This free event will present 90 minutes of family friendly short films screened during the Filmstock Film Festival as well as some film submissions made for the IFP Phoenix Film Challenges.
Filmstock Film Festival director James Lee described the free event as an opportunity to bring these short films to a much wider audience. “At Filmstock, that's what we're all about: connecting audiences with creative visionaries, so I jumped at the chance to have Filmstock be the vehicle for a free, fun, family-friendly movie night.” Lee said. “The films being screened this Saturday will be short, fun, family-friendly films by independent filmmakers. Some local to Arizona, some not. We really wanted to curate a great show that the entire family could enjoy.”
Lee explained the purpose behind Filmstock and Saturday’s event as more than an opportunity to screen rarely seen short films. Lee hopes to provide an alternative to the mainstream, Hollywood blockbuster films, and return independent film to the general audience, an audience that usually only gets to see these films during annual film festivals. “Over the past year, we have been putting a continual focus on films and filmmakers that bring a great show to the audience” Lee said “Audiences deserve the best shows possible, and I believe filmmakers and creatives have a responsibility to continually up the ante and make films that stand out. When we find films that do that, we at Filmstock find it our mission to shout as loud as we can about them, hence, Filmstock in the Park!”
Lee selected the Filmstock portion of the films from their past shows as well as films from some Filmstock alumni. “You'll even see two pieces that will appear at Filmstock AZ in December” Lee said “They were selected because we thought they were films that an entire family could enjoy. With independent film, there's no rating, and you never really can tell whether or not you're about to hear, see or experience something rather extreme and very non-kid-friendly. With these films, you won't have to worry about something drastic, grisly or profane happening on screen. But that doesn't mean they're not entertaining! Whether you're new to indie film and are taking a chance with your Saturday evening to watch something that's not the film equivalent of a chain restaurant, or you are a fan of the independent cinema already, we wanted to put together a great show. You'll see films ranging from animated ninjas fighting crazy, schizophrenic teddy bears, to fascinating documentaries of tough old ladies who document every climb on Everest, or even a doc on how a band makes efforts to unite all the different cultures and beliefs of the Balkans.”
Lee also explained the importance of the local film challenges in Phoenix that provide not only the inspiration for filmmakers to create their work, but also the films that may eventually end up screening at one of the Filmstock Film Festivals. “We have partnered with the good folks at IFP PHX and the Phoenix Film Festival, who have brought six films totaling thirty minutes of the 100 or so minutes of total programming from their various challenges and events” Lee said. “They are the perfect partnership to not only show people what other local filmmakers have produced, but how easy it is to get involved and make one yourself. Whether you're considering it for an art, career, or a skillset, I believe everyone has the responsibility to tell good stories with their life, and filmmaking is one of those ways. IFP provides the valley with that conduit, as well as a continued outlet for the tried and true Phoenix indie.”
When he’s not busy putting together Filmstock In The Park, Lee directs the Filmstock Film Festival throughout the four corners. Lee described the mission of the festival and the opportunities it provides for independent filmmakers. “We can take four award-winning films from each of these events and play them in all of the other three states' events.” Lee said. “This is a win-win-win: the audience gets to see 12 award winning films designated by industry judges in each state, filmmakers get to have their work shown to a focused audience that they don't know and have never met in three different states, and we are able to provide loads of great content at every show! Each show has its own batch of fresh Official Selections that are eligible for awards and advancement, so if you get on the road and follow us to each of the major metro areas of those states, there's still new content you'll be able to enjoy! In addition, we also look for any opportunity we can to get these films of ours in front of an audience. We were privileged to be part of the Phoenix Film Festival's lineup with selected shorts that have screened at Filmstock shown at the PFF. Last year, we hosted our free event at the Studio Movie Grille in Scottsdale.”
Lee hopes to see everyone out for a free evening of independent film, and expressed his optimism for the future of indie filmmaking. “As we move towards closing the year out with another Filmstock (Filmstock Arizona, December 5-7 at Pollack Tempe Cinemas), we will continue to work, think and innovate for better ways to provide a better experience for the audience, and more exposure for the filmmakers.”
What: Filmstock In The Park
When: Saturday October 5th at 7pm
Where: Phoenix Civic Space Park 424 N. Central Ave.
How Much: This event is free.