Celebrating 17 Years of Film.Biz.Fans.
by Indiewire
November 1, 1996 2:00 AM
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That Hipster Indie Film Festival

That Hipster Indie Film Festival

by Sarah Jacobson



Going to the Olympia Film Festival is like stepping onto the crossroads of
cool. Everyone is interesting, doing their own music/zine/film/writing and
the nice guy sitting next to you just happened to write a book you really
loved or the girl who runs the movie theater is a singer whose albums you
have in your collection. It's the kind of town where you can lose your
wallet twice and get it back with everything intact each time. The festival
organizers give back rubs and the best bar in town is in the projection
booth! I've never seen so many happy volunteers. This is a festival that
you put in on your 'fun' list, where the organizers, volunteers and audiences
love film for the sake of film and know how to appreciate it. Intersecting
major releases ("Grace of My Heart"), arty foreign films ("Bye, Bye"),
underground shorts ("Portland"), animation (Best of the "Ottawa Animation Fest"),
cult classics ("Two Lane Blacktop") and classic trash ("High School Confidential"), the festival becomes *the* Olympia event of the year, bringing
all the inhabitants out for some good cinematic fun.

Highlights: Dante Harper's glamorous 'I'm-here-for-an-hour-and-then-I'm-off'
presentation of the brilliant "The Delicate Art of the Rifle". All Freakin' Night,
which started at midnight with "Uncle Sam" (presented by director William
Lustig and featuring Isaac Hayes!), and then continued on with "Friday the
13th In *3D*
", "The Beyond", "Cannibal Ferox" and "Zombie". Jim McKay's overwhelming turnout for "Girls Town" where his Q&A established him as Most Respected Guy in Olympia. Beth Harrington in person to present her excellent "The Blinking Madonna", proving that you can kick butt on video and tell a really great story when using yourself in a film. The intensely sexy scene of two snails making out in "Microcosmos". Hearing the feminist reactions to Jacob Pander's underground classic infra-red porn flick "The Operation" as they cheered when the girl was on top and booed when the girl was on the bottom (only in Olympia).

Then there was Big Miss Moviola (aka performance artist Miranda July) whose
mission is to connect girl filmmakers via a video chain letter. If 10 girls
send in their short films plus $5, she'll put them all on a tape and send out
a video comp or you can buy the tapes for $15 each. Some of the films were
hysterical, some were weird, and some were deranged (like the mime
presentation of Love which she snaked from the local library!). The best
part was when she set up a video camera in the closet and everyone in the
audience had to go in and talk for one minute using the words "Nobody ever
told me..." It was pretty amazing to see the intimate side of the people
sitting around you in the dark as she showed the final project. You can
reach Big Miss Moviola at P.O. Box 14284, Portland, OR 97293. Long live the
Olympia Film Festival!

[Sarah Jacobson is a San Francisco based writer/director whose new film, "Mary Jane's Not a Virgin Anymore", was a hit at this year's IFFM.]

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