The 2005 Midwest Independent Film Festival
by Gary Schultz
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I was there! I was at the inaugural event, the first Midwest Independent Film Festival, or for simplicity sake the Midwest Indie. Spawning from the ashes of the Chicago Community Cinema’s monthly film festival, a local schmooze and film festival hosted on the first Tuesday of every month at a really nice club called Excalibur, is born the Midwest Indie. After a strong five year stand as the C.C.C. it seemed the producers needed a bigger venue and to make some adjustments. So they secured a deal with The Landmark Theater in Chicago to host the film festival in one of their fine theaters with stadium seating and HD projection provided by Resolution Digital Studios and Fletcher for all to enjoy. The opening night hosted four short films and two music videos to a packed house. The mood was vibrant and The Wolfe was in the house.
Screening at the inaugural event were two music videos by Morocco Vaugn for the resurrected rap group Do Or Die. The videos predominately shot in Chicago’s west and south side were well received. The next film screened was Mindy directed by Chor Ai Lene, a really nicely shot, well told, simple film about children feeling alienated and finding friends. We then got the pleasure of seeing an excerpt from D.P. Carlson’s documentary Chicago Filmmakers on the Chicago River, an interview with John Landis talking about his experiences shooting Blues Brothers in Chicago. We then watched an animated piece that looked like it should have been on Adult Swim called The Clan directed by George Eckhart. Think romantic comedy with ninjas. The closer was the award winning short Sugar Mountain by Aaron Himelstein, a drama about a child born with two sex organs whose parents choose what gender he/she will be. It was actually a pretty cool film and even kind of funny at times. Everything was well received by the enthusiastic crowd.
All in all the first Midwest Indie was a success with a packed house filling all the good seats in the theater. The Midwest Indie has great projection, a host that reminded me of Ryan Seacrest, and beer provided by Goose Island. All that was missing was some smooth Captain Morgan and cokes and caged wrestlers, to top the evening off. Maybe next time. Check out the Midwest Indie at the Landmark Theatre in Chicago the first Tuesday of every month or be lame and stay home.
Gary Schultz is a filmmaker in Chicago, IL.
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