August 13, 2008
Flim Fest Lets Local Artists Be Seen, Heard
By WILL DREYFUS
THAT'S NO TYPOWhat started in a backyard with a sheet tied between two trees serving as a movie screen has grown into a festival of movies, art, music and comics.
Called the Flim Fest (that's no typo), it's the brainchild of Kevin James and Joe Botsch, high school buddies from Kingston who have been producing B-grade horror films since they met in junior high school. The festival takes place Sunday at the Beal House in Kingston.
With James at Fitchburg State College studying video production and Botsch an animation student at the Art Institute of Boston, the festival seemed like a great way to help their fellow artists get their material seen and heard.
It all started five years ago when James and Botsch began making movies together.
"We used our parents' cameras and our computers to edit together some funny short movies with corny special effects," James said. "Our first few movies included the two of us fighting off zombies in 'The Never Ending Zombie Movie' and being horrified in 'Attack of the Swamp Goop.'"
The boys hung up a bed sheet, found a projector, and held a screening. "We had roughly 50 people in my backyard in MacFarlane Farms sitting in lawn chairs and eating popcorn as they watched us battle monsters on our makeshift movie screen," James said. And the rest is, well, local history.
"We settled on the name Not A Tad Bad Flim Co. to give us some silly prestige, though people are always asking if it's a typo," James said. "I'm not really sure why we used the word "flim" but I think it has something to do with the fact our movies always push humor involving movie cliches, and that we really couldn't call them "films."
While James and Botsch joke about their own campy, fun work, they are quite serious about the festival. Live-action short films and animation from top local artists will be on display, including screenings from Ryan Murphy of Rojhelio Studios in Kingston and student-director Craig Shannon of Plympton. The bands Hello Ninja, Stalemate and The New Buildings will perform.
As far as choosing artists for the festival, James said there's an open-door policy.
"A big motivator for us is to provide a way for fellow artists to display their work and show off what they can do without all the red tape or politics," he said. There's no charge to submit material for consideration and the only stipulation is that people be considerate of time restraints. "We basically ask that submissions be kept to under 10 minutes, but we don't turn something away if it's longer."
Helping to expose new artists and their material is important, but James said the community aspect is what's crucial.
"Seeing our neighbors, friends, family, and fellow artists all together for one night is really something else," James said. "Each year, we continually try and get more people involved, better venues, and push ourselves to outdo the show every year. The event is always a blast and really gives everyone the opportunity to relax and enjoy new work not only as artists but as friends and colleagues."
The festival already has filled its slate for feature-length films as well as bands, but submissions for shorts and animation are still being accepted.
"We're also looking to get as many painters or photographers involved as possible," James said. "But if it's too late for you this year don't worry; there's always next summer."
Originally published by By WILL DREYFUS, For The Patriot Ledger.
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