2013 JDIFF

Awards by local artist Gene Tully
The 2013 JDIFF was a success, for the second year, in a bid to become the next Sundance, and to give Dubuque a new identity as an international hub of the arts. Taking over Lower Main and transforming it into an urban hub for four days, the festival was a spark of life and energy.

QUIZ———Which statement did honorary chair Gary Busey make at the 2013 Julien Dubuque International Film Festival?

A) "It was my spring vacation"

B) "FUN" = Finally Understanding Nothing

C) "I am a violent person"

If you don't know the answer, YOU MISSED IT! Catch Gary's opening night speech

(Answer is "B". My neighbor Marge said "A".  "C" was from a challenging short film called Murder Mouth.)

From the Launch on through to Fade to Black, this year's festival included a wide range of films, from comedy to drama to experimental to bizarre. 

The documentaries—covering topics as diverse as Trappist casket making (God Alone) and lesbian kidnappings (Cloudburst)—showed a nice range and balance of local and international flavor. Local films such as Pints and Pins and the award-winner for best documentary, Grey Area, were buzz-creating highlights.

Saturday night's marquee, the silent film "Speedy," was a sold-out event that featured a short film composition written and performed by local middle-schoolers, followed by a 1928 feature accompanied by a live orchestra. Audience reaction was high, and merry.

Some of the best viewing came in the form of the short films, curated in sets of six, and viewed at the downtown venues on HD screens or projectors. These challenging sets were well-curated and well-attended. Of special note were The Man at the Counter, EMIT, Guang, and The Carrier.

The presence of Gary Busey, along with the directors and filmmakers from around the world made it a truly international event, and one that was both attractive and memorable.

And now for some critique, which will be brief, because mostly this is an A+++ event. 
  1. More films aimed directly at children, and well-advertised ways to handle child care during the screenings. This is very important especially considering the market of young professional families who would otherwise attend the festival but for cost and complication of child care. 
  2. Where possible, bigger screens for better viewing experience.
  3. Films sometimes go overboard. Inexperienced (and experienced for that matter) directors do not always know how to edit down to the essence, especially in the documentary genre. That ought to be a criteria for selection. This is what makes the shorts so great. 
  4. Are there scholarships or passes for the income-challenged? The arts are not just for those with money.
  5. Stagger the times, and make more viewing opportunities. (This does not mean screening more films, just offering them at more times.)
And very importantly: 
The City of Dubuque needs to stand up and make this event more visible. This is not just another festival. This is the future. 

Thanks to Executive Directors Christopher Kulovitz and Michael Coty for their vision and tireless activity, and to the festival board for their attention to fundraising and support of the festival, and to the army of volunteers running each venue throughout the weekend. We appreciate your contribution to our lives.

***Long live JDIFF!!***

Watch for more reviews here at DeeperFilm of the JDIFF films coming soon, including Speedy, the Carrier, Tie It Into My Hand, EMIT, and The Man at the Counter.

No comments: