BISBEE UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL

SPRING, 2002

 

David and I are now entering the fourth year of The Bisbee Underground Film Festival. Last year, 800 people attended over 3 days. Since it's always harder to organize volunteers than just do it ourselves, David and I have basically found ourselves running every aspect of the show and it can be scarily tiring. It is so different from those days down in our basement at TMH. Among other things, we've learned how to keep a show going during a monsoon. Our programming in Bisbee is true to our values while at the same time attempting to reach out to people who don't know much about film with more accessible (though not commercial) material. We make ourselves available in the conference room at The Bisbee Free Library for film dicussion with the (usually geriatric) folks who want to show up at 11:00 on a Sunday morning. Every summer we've had visiting musicians who've created original live scores for silent films. We've always been lovers of openair music and the combination of music and film is truly sublime. Last summer, George Kuchar was our first filmmaker in residence. Bisbee disarmed him with it's freshness. The festival is the most adventurous thing that we've done yet as independent film curators. Our city friends can't really understand the essentially NEW feeling of the project until they come and see the festival for themselves. It's interesting to obseve how a more naive audience processes experimental works; some people are just happy to be sitting outside on their lawn chair and will watch anything, some get worked up about bullshit, some seem to just be born into an metabolism which responds to abstract and non-narrative constructs (like our neighbor, Jeff Shriver, a carpenter, who just "gets" the films and find himsellf quite articulate in describing why). Nobody has every suggested that we stop doing the Festival. Except, this summer, we're so wiped out by other projects that we've decided to re-invent it as one night event, fueled by generators out in the desert. I hope people will join us.

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