A bit over one week away, the East Village of Manhattan will be overtaken by all sorts of artistic shenanigans, musical, cinematic, and otherwise. The Royal Flush Festival, formerly known as the Evil City Film Fest, has a really innovative lineup of independent films, music videos, live musical performances and underground art openings taking place October 15 - 19 at Anthology Film Archives and other venues throughout New York City. In autumn of '07, the year I moved back to New York, I participated in a panel at Evil City with Michael Tully, Stu VanAirsdale and Karina Longworth--with lots of cocktails on hand. It was such a blast that I didn't hesitate when they asked me to jury and lead a panel this year.
In its current incarnation, it is now named after, and partnered with, Royal Flush Magazine, a nationally-distributed "killer rag" that celebrates underground music, art, video games, pop culture and indie movies. During this year's fest, the magazine will showcase its 2009 issue featuring Playboy founder, Hugh Hefner, and rock goddess, Joan Jett, appearing on two separate covers.
To start things off in Royal Flush splendor, the festival kicks off with a free opening night bash on the 15th at the Hiro Ballroom in the Maritime Hotel. There will be live performances at the Knitting Factory throughout the fest from the likes of British psychedelic punks The Raincoats, and an appearance by Melissa Auf der Maur of Hole and Smashing Pumpkins fame. The fest has a sneak peek of her self-produced new project called Out of Our Minds, a multimedia concept that includes a musical album, comic and film directed and edited by Tony Stone. It's breathtakingly beautiful with mesmerizing imagery, and of course, sonically stunning. Take a look and a listen here.
The film program will open with Merle Becker's ode to American rock poster art, American Artifact: The Rise of American Rock Poster Art, one of several New York premieres. To take a gander at other filmic fare on offer, click here. Cool program, eh? Come join festival directors Jim Muscarella (film), James Galus (music), and Josh Bernstein (art) for a fun-filled four days featuring thirteen New York feature film premieres, six live rock, metal and hip-hop shows, three exclusive art events and a closing night burlesque bash.
I'm also very excited about the stellar filmmaker panel I'll be moderating on Sunday the 18th at 1:30 p.m. called Docs Under Duress at the Soto Clemente Vélez Cultural and Educational Center's Milagro Theater on Suffolk Street. I will be joined by Ross Kauffman (Born Into Brothels), Andrew Berends (Delta Boys), Eric Daniel Metzgar (Reporter), Ian Olds (Fixer: The Taking of Ajmal Naqshbandi), and Laura Poitras (Flag Wars, My Country, My Country). We will talk about doc filmmakers who take great personal risks to tell important stories from war-torn or impoverished places around the world. These five artists will share their own personal experiences making their films and how these works impact domestic and international audiences.
The two other panels will take place on Saturday the 17th in the same location. The first, at 2:00 p.m., is called How Green Was My Production? with Tony Stone, director of Out of Our Minds, Jesse Ash of GreenerMedia.com, M.J. Magbanua of White Collar, Kerin Ferallo of FX's Damages and Rooftop Films' program director, Dan Nuxoll. At 4:00 p.m., John Holmstrom of PUNK Magazine will moderate Blog This Panel with Michael K of Dlisted.com, Brandon Harris (Hammer to Nail, FILMMAKER Magazine), Heidi McDonald of Publisher Weekly's The Beat, and Brandon Kim of IFC.com's Indie Ear. Definitely not the usual suspects at a film fest; praise be for a little originality.
Come out and join the fun and support a hometown fest. I'll have more updates as Royal Flush approaches and hopefully, if he has a bit of time, a chat with film festival director, Jim Muscarella.