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A Filmless Festival comes highly recommended, but be warned

“More frightening than any horror I’ve seen come out of Hollywood in years.”

The festival that wasn’t
The festival that wasn’t

Fear no art! The shibboleth must not have made its way to Songzhuang, a suburb of Beijing and home to China’s largest “artists village.” One day before the curtain is scheduled to go up on the 11th Annual Beijing Independent Film Festival — and with filmmakers and other visiting dignitaries already en route — word arrives that the government is shutting it down.

What ensues is horrifying. The cops confiscate the festival’s 1000-plus DVD collection. To make sure their orders are obeyed, the government goes so far as to cut off the building’s water and power supply, making it impossible for people to type, let alone project movies. Calm down, fellas! It’s a freaking film festival, not a terrorist cell conference.

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Unfortunately, the direction (for lack of a better term) is equally frightful. The story is told through footage culled from 17 different sources (filmmakers, audience members, volunteers, artists, etc.), many using nonprofessional equipment. For the first 25 minutes, so many subtitles and character idents coated the screen that I frequently found myself reaching for the pause button.

If film is indeed a collaborative medium, then never before has the need for an “auteur” been so greatly felt. (A narrator might also have helped to smooth things over.) Those not wanting to have their “cameras” confiscated kept the iPhones positioned waist-high so as to remain undetected. Too often, this delegates shots of feet and torsos as the prevailing mode of visual expression.

The film still comes highly recommended but be warned: in this case you’re going to have to work for your art. And Brian Hu sums it up best with, “As a festival organizer too, it’s more frightening than any horror I’ve seen come out of Hollywood in years.”

Place

UltraStar Mission Valley at Hazard Center

7510 Hazard Center Drive, San Diego

A Filmless Festival screens Sunday, May 1, at 1 p.m. at Ultrastar Mission Valley as part of this year’s San Diego Asian Film Festival Spring Showcase. For festival information visit Pacific Arts Movement.

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The festival that wasn’t
The festival that wasn’t

Fear no art! The shibboleth must not have made its way to Songzhuang, a suburb of Beijing and home to China’s largest “artists village.” One day before the curtain is scheduled to go up on the 11th Annual Beijing Independent Film Festival — and with filmmakers and other visiting dignitaries already en route — word arrives that the government is shutting it down.

What ensues is horrifying. The cops confiscate the festival’s 1000-plus DVD collection. To make sure their orders are obeyed, the government goes so far as to cut off the building’s water and power supply, making it impossible for people to type, let alone project movies. Calm down, fellas! It’s a freaking film festival, not a terrorist cell conference.

Sponsored
Sponsored

Unfortunately, the direction (for lack of a better term) is equally frightful. The story is told through footage culled from 17 different sources (filmmakers, audience members, volunteers, artists, etc.), many using nonprofessional equipment. For the first 25 minutes, so many subtitles and character idents coated the screen that I frequently found myself reaching for the pause button.

If film is indeed a collaborative medium, then never before has the need for an “auteur” been so greatly felt. (A narrator might also have helped to smooth things over.) Those not wanting to have their “cameras” confiscated kept the iPhones positioned waist-high so as to remain undetected. Too often, this delegates shots of feet and torsos as the prevailing mode of visual expression.

The film still comes highly recommended but be warned: in this case you’re going to have to work for your art. And Brian Hu sums it up best with, “As a festival organizer too, it’s more frightening than any horror I’ve seen come out of Hollywood in years.”

Place

UltraStar Mission Valley at Hazard Center

7510 Hazard Center Drive, San Diego

A Filmless Festival screens Sunday, May 1, at 1 p.m. at Ultrastar Mission Valley as part of this year’s San Diego Asian Film Festival Spring Showcase. For festival information visit Pacific Arts Movement.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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