Like many of its ilk, the purpose of the Filmstock Film Festival is to showcase the talents of independent artists to a broader audience. What makes Filmstock different, however, is that all the films shown during the three-day event are shorts produced in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico or Utah — the Four Corners states.
Festival Director James Lee spoke to GetOut about the festival, which runs Dec. 5-7 at Tempe Pollack Cinemas.
Q: What do you hope people get out of Filmstock over the three days?
JL: Number one, you’re going to be watching short films, which is an experience most people haven’t had. They get an opportunity to see 90 minutes of high-quality movies. The cool thing about shorts is they’re still movies; they’re kind of the Reese’s Pieces of movies. You get to enjoy a lot of them with the same amount of time that it takes to watch a feature, and in the independent world that’s a fantastic thing. That’s a win/win for the audience. If, for whatever reason, you don’t like one of the films, just wait five minutes, and you’re going to see something you’ll enjoy more, if not fall in love with.
Q: A lot of short films seem to have an advantage when compared to action-packed blockbusters because the forum requires efficient storytelling.
JL: Exactly. You have to be efficient. By the way, we have exploding cars [and] we have mutating ninja teddy bears. And then we have the drama as well — everyone loves a good drama or a good tear-jerker. But, at Filmstock we’re really all about putting together a fantastic audience experience. Even though it’s independent — and we’re all about the independent filmmaker — if the audience doesn’t enjoy it, then everyone loses. But if the audience loves it — and so far they have in the other events we’ve had this year — then everybody wins because then they’re going to want to come back and see more. We’re funded entirely off of ticket sales, and we’ve been able to keep ourselves afloat, alive and well and growing for the past five years based on that.
Q: Do you think having local filmmakers involved has had an effect on keeping it alive because it connects directly with the audience?
JL: Absolutely, and it’s a good thing based off what we want to do. We want to connect audience with these creative visionaries. What better way to connect them than with the people in their backyard? At Filmstock, they’re able to meet the four filmmakers who are local and part of our official selection lineup, but you’re able to meet some of the other filmmakers in addition to that. To top it off, because we’re all about creative visionaries — and creative visionaries are actors as well — we have actors and actress who are 100 percent local hosting every single one of the showings.
If you go
What: Filmstock Film Festival, a short film fest that covers the major metro areas of the Four Corners states.
When: Screenings begin at 7 p.m. nightly Dec. 5-7
Where: Tempe Pollack Cinemas, 1825 E. Elliot Road
Cost: $10 per showing, $15 for a Flex Pass, $35 for All Access Pass
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