Special Edition: No Budget Film Festival 2014

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nbff LOGO 2Film festivals can be a great way to absorb raw creative energy. It offers up new ideas, new way to visualize, and just plain wonderful conversation starters. For those who imagine vividly in their minds and have a burning need to tell a story, a film festival is a great goal to head towards.For those who just want to see something different instead of the same repackaged blockbusters, festivals can be a unique visual buffet.

Especially in a city like LA, the number of film festivals that one can attend is overwhelming. Everyone has their reasons for picking out certain film festivals to go attend. A good criteria for picking a film festival:

1. Does the overall theme appeal to me?

2.  Are the films different?

3. Has the film festival been established long enough to be reliable?

No Budget Film Festival (NBFF) did appease these questions.”Never Stop F*&king Shooting” is the motto of the festival. A simple motto that holds a strong sentiment of brute encouragement. A motto that can extend to other media. Never stop writing, never stop creating, never stop drawing, never stop whatever art you create.

With over hundreds of submissions to NBFF from various parts of the world, people heard this call loud and clear.This was a film festival for those who were prepared to be creative under financial restrictive means, to share stories, and to encourage others to join in their madness. For film lovers, this was a festival that brought another splice of talent and stories to assail the senses in a community of film lovers.

The people running No Budget Film Festival delivered a packed three day schedule of movies and panels. For such a tight schedule, I expected tension, tantrums, or all out panic. Instead, I was treated to three days of laid back,relaxing atmosphere. So relaxing that there were free haircuts from The New California Barbershop and makeup application by students of Make Up Designory (both of which I took advantage. Thank you folks!).

The bulk of the film festival was held at a hidden place of a gem called Mack Sennet Studios. A place I must have drove up a gazillion times, not knowing what was on the corner. This was a great space for the festival with two wide open rooms to host the films and panels. In between the films there were couches surrounded by complimentary drinks including samples from  Vita Coco. Filmmakers and panelists would mingle with the audience in between the segments. There were lots of laughter, busy chatter, and just an upbeat vibe.  Every day the NBFF would greet me and ask how I was doing. I would watch them greet returning film viewers. This was impressive and so unique to such a large city like LA. There is only so few film festivals that will deliver such a personal and warm atmosphere.

Some of the movies were just absolutely brilliant. Follow up posts will highlight the ones that stood out the most. They each contained something that I appreciate in story telling: production, a narrative, character, or were just different

The opening night was at Vortex Immersion Dome showcasing a documentary called “The Past is a Grotesque Animal“. The documentary is a behind-the-scenes glimpse of a band called Of Montreal. The band has been around for quite a long time garnering fans such as Susan Sarandon, Janelle, and Solange Knowles. Of Montreal is an American band known for raw music influenced by psychedelic times, Beatles, and catchy music. They are most famous for their incredible live act performances. From the clips that were shown in the documentary, these acts were pretty intense.

The documentary was completed by first time film maker Jason Miller. The format of the film is pretty simple and predictable. For those who binge-watched Behind the Music episodes, this film would be very familiar.  It starts off with the front man Kevin Barnes reading some of his work out loud as Millers hangs out with him in a studio. From there the film chronicles the birth of Of Montreal to the rise and fall to the plateau of adoring fans.Miller hung with the band with the intent to create a music video. Instead, Miller compiled seven years of befriending and following the band to bring just a small glimpse of the phenomena called Of Montreal.

The simple format gives a solid foundation to harsh madness that assails your senses. For the the uninitiated to the music and style of Of Montreal (me), the remainder of the film was a mixture of awe, confusion, and pain. There is no denying that this band is on another plane of creative existence. The music was catchy but loud (that may have been attributed to being a small globular space). The editing of the film flash so much psychedelic images that the eyes were tightly closed shut for quite a while.

Overall, it was a painful experience to watch since my neck was slightly arched due to the dome. The screens were curved in such a way that it seemed too close for comfort. I was envious of those who were lying on the floor.

Thankfully, there were soothing pudding treats from the Pudding Truck afterwards.

The opening night jarred my senses but so did a bunch of other movies. The films that were selected were on a wide range of genres and styles. With the exception of the cArtel selects, the majority of the films had a very small, small, small budget. Small budget but HUGE ideas.

Thank you to the staff of No Budget Film Festival for allowing me access to the films and events. Also big thanks to the sponsors of NBFF that help make this event successful.

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