Skip to main content

Film and video festival with cult following marks seventh year at ASU Art Museum

March 14, 2003

TEMPE, Ariz. – Terminator tomatoes, extreme Bible stories and the merits of a gay boyfriend (when you’re a girl) are the subjects of just some of the entries in the ASU Art Museum’s Seventh Annual Short Film and Video Festival, commencing at 8 p.m., April 19.

The festival is held on the outdoor plaza at the Nelson Fine Arts Center, creating an atmosphere that encourages attendees to bring a picnic basket and a blanket or lawn chair to make the most of the nicest time of year in Arizona.

This annual film and video festival celebrates the artistic and creative endeavors of individuals with different visions and levels of experience. It is different from most other such festivals, in that there is no entry fee for the film and video makers, or for the audience members. The venue is also part of the event’s charm, according to organizer John Spiak.

“People ask why we don’t present the festival in a traditional theatre,” Spiak said. “We want to keep it very informal, with the feel of a Fourth of July picnic. Arizona’s beautiful spring weather is a great asset and we believe it enhances the event.”

Attendance at the festival, which has developed a following among filmmakers and aficionados alike, has grown from about 500 in 1997 to a regular attendance of about 1,200. It attracts entries from around the world; this year organizers received 359 entries from 30 states and 19 other nations. The festival’s fame has spread as far as Norway, Iran, South Korea, Greece and Italy, to name just a few of the countries from which this year’s entries came.

Jurors John Spiak and Bob Pece chose 27 entries representing the United States, Canada and Australia, and varying from 60 seconds to 9 minutes in length. Several entries are from Arizona, including Herberger College of Fine Arts’ student Yurika Abe’s touching documentary, Something about LIZ, which explores the world of an ASU student who is hearing impaired. All films and videos will be projected in VHS format. Awards are given for the best entries.

Most of the entries in this year’s festival are family friendly, with a few that are more appropriate for mature audiences scheduled later in the second half of the evening, according to Spiak. 

Among this year’s film genres are animation, comedy, non-narrative and documentary. One of the wonderful aspects of a short film and video festival is the enormous variety.

This year’s films vary from humorous to heart wrenching. Ryan McFaul’s music video-styled short, Gay Boyfriend, features two women singing about the merits of having a gay boyfriend, while Suzanne Twining’s Terminator Tomatoes explores the consequences when a farmer and his daughter get in too deep with a crop of genetically modified tomatoes. At the other end of the scale is Joseph Peragine’s Three Small Deaths, a cartoon about the profound change, loss and shock that comes when the worst possible nightmare befalls three sets of parents.

Among the other films in this year’s festival is Extreme Bible Stories: Don’t dis Elisha, in which a group of kids finds out that childish hijinks can have fatal consequences when they make the mistake of teasing the wrong bald-headed stranger. This is the first in a series of short animated films that take an unflinching yet humorous look at the many sex-drenched, barbaric and bloody stories found in “The Good Book.”

The ASU Art Museum is a division of The Katherine K. Herberger College of Fine Arts. It is located in the Nelson Fine Arts Center on the southeast corner of Mill Avenue and 10th Street, Tempe. For more information, members of the public should call the ASU Art Museum at (480) 965-2787.

When You Go:
Location: Nelson Plaza, Nelson Fine Arts Center, 10th Street and Mill Avenue, Tempe.
Date &Time: Saturday, April 19, commencing at 8 p.m.
Parking: Parking is free at ASU on weekends. Parking for physically challenged visitors is available in front of the Nelson Fine Arts Center.
What to Bring: Chairs or a blanket to sit on, food and drinks if you would like to enjoy a picnic.
Cost: Free

Media Contact:
Jennifer Pringle