Keith R. Higgons
Flux Fest 2013, equal parts short film festival, creative gathering and party, took place last night (Sunday July 28) at Sandbox Studios in Bushwick. The festival theme was time travel and Flux Fest is the third in the ongoing “fest” series. Flux Fest follows Spooky Fest and Love Fest. The goal of each “fest” is to challenge a group of young filmmaking collectives to create short films inspired by creative prompts chosen at random. Flux Fest yielded ten interesting shorts created by ten different creative teams.
Technological advances have blown the doors open on visual storytelling and made the technology and distribution more accessible to the proletariat (how’s that for an SAT word). This is a good thing. Last nights Flux Fest merged the concepts of “film” and “festival” quite well. This is also a good thing because I am not convinced that we need another high brow film festival in the area.
Flux Fest sponsors Mythic Bridge, Big Vision Empty Wallet, Royal Wine Corp and Sandbox Studios created an excellent creative and fun vibe last night. With doors opening at 6pm and the promise of a six hour open bar, I had some reservations about what to expect. In my head, I had envisioned a drunken cinematic hootenanny.
It was nothing like that. Sure, the lighting may have been an epileptic’s nightmare and the DJ certainly gave it that true “festival” vibe but by the time I arrived at Sandbox Studios, I had little time to mingle. I grabbed a soda and made my way back to the screening room to try and secure a good seat.
Now, my cynicism can sometimes overshadow my objectivity when it comes to covering things like this (a favorite game of mine is count the beards, starting with mine). And admittedly, I can tend to be hyper critical of some of the changes our neighborhood has seen over the past few years, but one thing I am never too critical of is the amount of creativity that thrives and continues to grow in our community. Last night’s Flux Fest is further proof of a pulsating creative hive.
Important to note is what Flux Fest filmmakers accomplished. Each filmmaking collective had eight weeks, from concept to completion, to create a compelling short form narrative based on time travel and randomly chosen creative prompts. The fact that all ten did so with such aplomb is a testament to their skills and certainly highlights the best of what our community offers.
While the Flux Fest vibe at Sandbox Studios was certainly cool enough, I’m not entirely sure this is the best venue to screen shorts. The acoustics are awful and made more awful by the incessant chatting of a lubricated crowd which bounced around the room like a rubber ball in a prison cell.
Acoustics aside, the projection of the shorts was spot on, aside from the absolute failure of The Misadventures of Incredible Dr. Wonderfoot. If you were seated anywhere behind the first six rows, you were completely blind to the subtitles and missed the short entirely. Which is a drag because based on the laughter of the first few rows, I suspect it was quite good. Sandbox Studios works for the DJ’ing and festival vibe, I’m just not sure it is best for the film part. Fortunately, the Flux Fest shorts usurped some of those challenges and ultimately, it is about the work.
And the work was good, really good. All ten shorts had something about them that resonated with me and I thought they all showed the best things about this hive of creativity that is Williamsburg/Grenpoint/Bushwick.
As is the nature of these things, there can only be a few “winners” and here are the Flux Fest 2013 winners:
Best in Show: The Misadventures of Incredible Dr. Wonderfoot, Tiny Baby Bad Boys
Runner Up: Hippocampus, Jarrod and Tessa Productions
Big Vision Award: Primogenesis, Present Day Productions
Audience Choice Award: Russell Curtis, Pocket Storm Productions
I am not surprised that The Misadventures of Incredible Dr. Wonderfoot got Best in Show because from what I saw, it looked great. Apparently, I really did miss out on the whole Wonderfoot experience by not being able to read the subtitles.
For the record, my audience vote went for Old Timers which I thought nailed the comedic parts perfectly and it was just clever enough without being too clever. It was really a perfect short. Very well done Prash NYC!
Big ups to the founders, organizers, sponsors and creative partners of Flux Fest 2013, it appeared to be a huge success. It was the perfect coupling of quality visual storytelling and a festival environment. I’m not sure what “Fest” is around the corner but I look forward to what it is.