Friday, 9 February 2018

Straight-Jacket Guerrilla Film Festival - Laura Grace Robles (Interview)

How’s the Straight-Jacket Guerrilla Film Festival impacting the world of indie filmmakers? 

It used to be that Indie filmmakers felt like they needed a film crew, a script and great lighting equipment, not to mention an expensive camera to make a decent film. But now movies are being made with camera phones and they are destroying Hollywood by stealing their audience, because its a movie now being made to fit in your pocket. Because of internet distribution things have changed drastically and the future of cinema is streaming films for free on Youtube and Vimeo. Which is really inspiring to others who dream of making films one day and with our festival. With the Youtube and Vimeo era of today film festivals like ours, we are giving an opportunity to those filmmakers who take the same risks Fabrizio Federico and I do. That’s why we started this film festival to begin with so that struggling film makers get a chance to participate in an innovative showcasing system. Now, you don’t need to have auditions or worry about all the fuss behind creating the perfect feature film or music video because our festival promotes the DIY mentality that comes along with guerrilla film making, street culture that says I will take any risk necessary to capture my solace vision and it doesn’t have to be perfect to be accepted. This will endorse the individual and freedom of speech with films that aim to fail but most of all included the Punk Cinema and Anti-Art Film generation that believes mistakes are beautiful and perfect, that continuity is wrong and film schools are poison. We hope to rescue the underdog running into these dilemmas. That’s what makes the PINK8 manifesto so great, its the utter essence and roots of Punk Cinema; directors like Fabrizio Federico, Lars Von Trier, Harmony Korine and myself among others who have already proven taht you don’t need to do things by industry standards, whatever that means because now you don’t need anyone to make a film but yourself and a phone camera. Indie film making is headed towards a wide awakening debut of transgressive films. I mean it already has hit the wall of films of today that guerrilla film festivals like ours are taking over by emptying the sardine seats at the box office. When you think about it directing films should be a luxury not something you must do to make money off to survive as a human. It takes all the true virtue and purpose out of film making for the self and if its money your after your obviously in the wrong business, everybody knows that. Even those million dollar budget films that are being made lose tons of money from the lack of spectators who refuse to spend a dime on a movie, especially now that you can just download any movie you want online before it even comes out in the theatre.

What kinds of feature films have been submitted over the past years? 

Well the first year we ran the Straight-Jacket Guerrilla Film Festival I was really excited because it was going to be my first time ever participating in a film festival like this. I had been rejected so many times after paying money to submit my films just to be excluded again and again. Then with Straight-Jacket I found my audience and I knew i had to take advantage of the opportunity I had to showcase in a festival that Fabrizio Federico and I had directed. Straight-Jacket was now giving me a chance I had never had before. My film Nigga Booty Nights has been showcased, the film was extremely rude, controversial and racist when compared to the analogies of modern day slavery during the time Obama was in office. It was the first time any guerrilla film festival had showcased hybrid video art and experimental film like this as one and the same ever before. Its rare that festival judges are willing to take such a big risk at showcasing something so rare and unique like this because by showing something like this it meant you were taking the risk of losing your audience because what you were showing was not “popular” or accepted as “good filmmaking” and we welcome all types of audiences, critics and filmmakers of the everyday people who just want to see or do something risk taking. The second year we ran the festival the award winning film for most proactive film was Peacock directed by Kurtz Frausun, a film maker out of Dallas, Texas, a guerrilla film maker who pushed the boundaries of what was art and questionably pornography. When we screened his film some spectators were appalled by the effort we made to publicly screen such a pornographic images at a public venue that was open to the public. This year I’m excited to see what kind of submissions we get in, its always a challenge picking out the film selection after spectating the tons of submissions.

The festival has received a lot of criticism from the biggest festivals because Straight Jacket offers free submissions to anyone with a feature film or music video, why such criticism? 

Typically the reason people start film festivals is to make a pretty penny off having some kind of outlet for the many desperate filmmakers dying to get into a film festival. These millions of filmmakers compete with hundreds of thousand films every year. Thats not what we came here to do, its free because we care more about generating a new common audience that caters to the DIY culture and everyday person, not just for critics but for all types of film makers and spectators. We feel money shouldn’t keep anyone from submitting their feature film or music video and allowing them to have a chance to be a part of our showcase it generates feedback. We depend on the future of cinema and film distribution that’s why we choose films streaming on Youtube or Vimeo so that way our audience isn’t putting a price on these priceless films that are self actualising films and not as though it were a form of ordinary entertainment. Its more like a form of junk film evolution that has now become a part of the Ant-Art Film genre for DIY guerrilla and junk film street culture.

Whats better about having an online film festival? 

Those who get accepted into our film festival do not need to travel across the world and they don’t need to go broke just to participate in the film festival just to show up for a night to partake in their premiere. Instead they can browse among the entire film selection in the privacy of their own home and see how other film makers are taking the same risks they are. Its really a muse to compare the different film making styles around the world and how they interpret experimental and guerrilla film making styles with a new care free attitude. We hope to rule the the world one day by becoming apart of the future of cinema. Also our film festival takes the pretentious mentality away from who and who cannot obtain access to our film selection, its simple anyone who has internet access can view our festival during our screening dates. This means the audience is able to watch our films for free without having to leave the comfort of their own home by not having to spend hundreds of dollars to spectate great creative films. Of course its an acquired taste but this is the future of film entertainment, free online streaming and by beating the corporate costs we are moving up in the industry because the market for homemade films are becoming more on demand to the you tuber who has more fun watching real people and street super stars who aren’t so pretty, perfect or over glamorised but instead more natural and realistic yet so convincing and so believable it is what makes films more authentic thus more desirable by more to be seen just like the boom of reality TV, its what makes you feel like a human again, it helps people accept themselves for who they are not how perfect they must be. 

What is the difference between Anti-Art Film & Anti-Film? 

Anti-Art Film doesn’t actually exist its just something we could consider a new genre and assumed to be related to the Dada movement and or related to the antithesis of the Art Film genre. Instead of the Anti- Art film having a niche audience like Art Film should have it would attract a larger more common scale audience from the masses as though it were like fast food cinema not being produced for financial gain and of course instead of it being a serious work of art it would appropriate junk film aesthetics that remain part of the junk aesthetic discovery, during the Dada movement when artist began to work with found objects using quotidian materials as the ultimate punk attitude questioning the definition of art exactly assuming there might not a be a definition at all to begin with. Anti-Art Film is just the after Neo-Dada experience following the Dada movement in the era of Fluxus. Fluxus, not a movement rather a radical happening most considered a movement although to some Fluxus artists like Yoko Ono refused to agree that Fluxus was a movement but more of a phenomenon that emphasised ideologies stated in the Fluxus manifesto, a manifesto which a group of many kinds of different artists from around the world published together becoming the most radical era for art in the 60’s at the time. A time where conceptual artists were practising interdisciplinary forms of research for their art making in order to resolve their experimental process. I think anti film is more comparable to punk film and the punk film making mentality being made today during the Punk Cinema movement, but just the way Fluxus was and was not considered a movement to some, anti film can or will not be considered a movement to everybody rather some may argue the movement may or may not continue to be Punk Cinema. Anti-Art Film is a newly discovered genre that is just now coming to the surface of guerrilla and experimental film making discussed as the repercussions of anti art that occur regarding the study of anti film making styles.