Photo: Siouxside – Korben Dallas, courtesy LESFF.
The always fun and fabulous Lower East Side Film Fest is gearing up for their 6th annual festival, which kicks off this Thursday with the opening night feature, Art of the Prank. After the film, they’ll host the biggest party of the festival, with live music by Shareef Keyes and the Groove, special guest performers, appearances by friends and filmmakers, and an open beer & wine bar all night long at Drom.
This year’s lineup offers screenings at the Sunshine Cinema (including a special 25th anniversary midnight screening of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II, The Secret of the Ooze), the beloved “Gay Night Pool Pary and Dive-In Movie” at Sixty LES, and a Horror & Suspense Screenwriters Panel at the newly opened Ludlow House. Not to mention their unusually great lineup of themed short films.
Co-founders Roxy Hunt and Tony Castle tell us this year’s theme is “Lowkey Highbrow,” because, “We’re not gonna kid ourselves, we’re not Tribeca (film festival), but we still support really great independent filmmakers, (and take a huge amount of time and effort to curate a great lineup) but we don’t do elaborate ‘V.I.P.’ events,” Hunt said.
And, they promise “no Virtual Reality” at their festival this year. “That’s fine for a tech conference,” Castle said, “but film festivals are about people coming together to watch a movie in a theater, and we supply the drinks to make it even more fun.”
Highlights for the two of them include their opening night film, Art of the Prank, which is about the original hoax artist Joey Skaggs, who will be in attendance. “It was one of those films where, when we were watching it, we thought, ‘this is amazing, it’s so fun and so captivating,’ and we knew people would love it,” said Castle. And the duo is very excited about the midnight “retrospective” screening of the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2. Director Michael Pressman will be in attendance and pizza, wine and beer will be provided.
“I think our features are always really strong,” added Castle, “but this year we have a lot of really good films that define the kind of spirit we always try to capture. True independent films that deserve to be seen and probably will get distribution if everyone fights hard enough.”
Closing out the festival is the world premier of The Babymooners, which features New York actors from the PIT (People’s Improv Theater), about a couple who are having a baby. The film was written and directed by Shaina Feinberg and Chris Manley, who are a real life couple and were having a baby at the time. “It’s very personal, very funny and sweet – it’s not a documentary, it’s a narrative film, but they used what was going on in their life (including Feinberg’s real life parents) to tell their story,” said Castle.
The Lower East Side Film Festival opens Thursday, June 9th at the Sunshine Cinema and runs eight nights straight, through Thursday, June 16. Visit the website here for more details and the full schedule. TLD is the proud local media sponsor of the 2016 Lower East Side Film Festival.