UNfestival is a short film and music video show with an emphasis on Philadelphia filmmakers. The third manifestation of the festival screened videos at PhilaMOCA on Friday, April 27th to a standing-room only crowd. The event is presented by Fractal Circus, a local filmmaking and video consultation group.
The idea is to gather all of the area’s filmmakers and enthusiasts together for a screening and discussion about their work in order to bolster the Philly indie film community. Throughout the evening, the UNfestival provided a healthy cross-section of Philly cinema. The guys from Fractal Circus put together a program of a dozen shorts, which ranged from animation to music videos, narratives and one paint-on-celluloid experiment.
Kicking off the evening was the stop-motion animation premiere of Gavin Hecker’s “The Fabulous Fortune Gang.” This amusing video includes a band of tiny, dancing metal figurines and the fortunes from many a fortune cookie. As these little monsters dance, they slowly reveal new fortunes, which then become part of the song lyrics. The driving electronic soundtrack was perfect to get the crowd going and the often surreal words (as anyone who’s eaten fortune cookies can tell you) left things pleasantly thoughtful and open-ended; an ideal way to start a film show.
The film “Oscillating Garett” by Mark Kochanowicz is a brief excursion into the world of a man mourning the loss of his wife. He visits to a shady warehouse facility to meet a couple of men for dubious reasons. Once there, he utilizes a sort of virtual reality/time travel device to attempt to warn his wife but ultimately gets trapped when he overstays his welcome.
Later in the evening a music video for the band Blayer Pointdujour directed by Marc Brodzik got everyone ready to party. The music video, shot on unmistakable North Philadelphia streets, includes the North Philly Stompers, a local drum line and percussion group. With shots of the band’s vocalist singing through an vintage television monitor and enough rhythm to go around, the video for the song “Gunz of Philly” is definitely worth a watch.
Wrapping up the festival was the well-produced “Rockefeller.” This story follows an awkward, mysterious character whose toy robot emits light which – in some sort of Jedi mind trick – convinces anyone to listen to him. He spends his time gathering items, only to put them in a capsule which is found by a more than slightly surprising crew of characters. “Rockefeller” is apparently a work in progress, as the director John Gelety plans to continue with the story.
Helping bolster Philly’s independent and creative filmmakers, UNfestival is a new, but welcome part of the local film and visual arts community. This year was by far their most attended and most successful iteration of the show, so you’d be well advised to stay tuned for year four.