Recently, I overheard two teenagers discussing film festivals after the topic of Sundance had come up.
Adolescent #1: "What do they even mean, film festival?"
Adolescent #2: "It's this thing where celebrities go skiing and have parties outside of Hollywood."
A1: "So why is it called a film festival?"
A2: "Because they're all in the film business, and they're partying for, like, days straight."
I couldn't have said it better myself, although my wisdom and experience have educated me on the ferocious consumerism that also goes along with these now-ubiquitous events. We won't even get into that.
In a world where even simplicity is trendy, it's often hard to discern substance -- unless, of course, you can make it out to Cannes. But New York's GenArt Film Festival (GAFF), in its 14th year April 1, 2009, does a good job of delivering equal parts film and festival to the common man and woman.
The formula is simple (which is in, remember?): just seven features, seven shorts and seven premiere parties over seven nights. Films by emerging filmmakers are thoughtfully chosen by screening committees consisting of young professionals, before final cut by an industry panel. Without a sea of screenings packed into the schedule, the seven-a-day layout can be a big opportunity for concentrated exposure if you can secure both the popular vote and the super delegates.
The 2009 headliner, Lymelife , is a 70s era family drama starring Alec Baldwin, Cynthia Nixon and Kieran Culkin and Rory Culkin playing brothers. Full lineup will be announced next month.
GAFF should be interesting. I mean, I'd trade a Swarovski crystal-encrusted BlackBerry Bold and (maybe) a slopeside romp with the cast of Entourage to actually see a film...and the sublime Kieran Culkin and Alec Baldwin in the flesh, of course.