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

TEMPE, Ariz. – Street racing, a drive-in chapel, the events of 9-11 and an artist who installs his own sign on a Los Angeles freeway are the subjects of just some of the entries in the ASU Art Museum’s Sixth Annual Short Film and Video Festival, commencing at 8 p.m., April 20.

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.

The ASU Art Museum Short Film and Video Festival is different from most others because 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 approximately 1,200 in each of the past two years. It attracts entries from around the world; this year organizers received 341 entries from 26 states and 16 nations.

Jurors John Spiak and Bob Pece chose 23 entries representing the United States, Canada and The Netherlands, and varying from two to 12 minutes in length. Three entries are from Arizona, including one by Metro Arts High School student Nick Longworth, who entered a non-narrative, performance-based piece. All films and videos will be projected in VHS format. Awards are given for the best entries.

In addition to the juried entries, a short film created by third grade students at Phoenix’s Machan Elementary School will also premiere. This is the second year that students at the school have created films in conjunction with the museum’s educational department for inclusion in the festival.

The entries in this year’s festival are family friendly, with the exception of two close to the end of the evening that contain some adult language, according to Spiak. There is no nudity or violence in any of the films.

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 fact that, even within one genre – such as documentaries – there is enormous variety.

Tucson filmmaker Al Leitman’s Drive-in Chapel is, as the titles suggests, about a drive-in chapel in Tucson and won this year’s Arizona Award. Juddy Racer, by James Cho, is filmed in Las Vegas and follows a young woman who participates in illegal street races. Guerilla Public Service by Richard Ankrom tells the story of an artist who created a freeway sign, built to code but installed illegally, which has improved traffic flow on a major Los Angeles freeway. And Great Balls of Fire by Leon Grodski and Pearl Gluck focuses on the events of 9/11 through the eyes of a homeless person.

The ASU Art Museum is a division of The Katherine K. Herberger College of Fine Arts. 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 20, commencing at 8 p.m.
Parking: Free after 7 p.m. in Parking Structure #3. 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