Film fest rundown: Reel Fest + Experimentally Ill 4
Two separate film festivals converge at the Somerville Theatre this month, both sparked by local filmmakers unwilling or unable to get their work into larger festivals. Here’s a rundown of what to expect from both celluloid celebrations.
March 11-15 at the . reelfest.org
Reel Fest is the brainchild of scrappy writer/director Rod Webber, who after years of frustration adopted a manifesto for his films that severely limits the shooting time down to three days and the budget to below $3000. The festival is an opportunity for him and his likeminded friends to screen their rapid-fire, semi-improvisational work. A few musicians added to the mix promote a party atmosphere.
Friday, Mar. 11: Webber debuts My America, the centerpiece of the five-day event that will be repeated each night. The film is a chilling drama about the horrors of racism. The filmmaker stars as a loudmouthed troublemaker, with Joseph James Bellamy as the urbane black man he pushes too far. Friday also marks the start of the weeklong series, Super 8 Extreme—one-take Super 8 films by various filmmakers. In addition there will be music from Webber himself, Nina Violet, Lady Lamb the Beekeeper and more (8pm; $10).
Saturday, Mar. 12: Feature film Reagan Returns will screen, plus various shorts (5pm; $10) and A Man Among Giants (9pm; $10), a documentary Webber made about little person wrestler Doug “Tiny” Turnstall and his quixotic campaign to be mayor of Pawtucket.
Sunday, Mar. 13: The Why (9pm; $10), a bizarre experiential meditation on death by Anthony Pedone, Eli Higgins and Stephen Floyd. Also showing: Webber’s Northern Comfort, starring well-known Indy actress Greta Gerwig (5pm; $10).
Monday, Mar. 14: Modus Operandi (7pm; $10), an ambitious CIA black ops thriller by Frankie Latina.
Tuesday, Mar. 15: Little Gods (7:30pm), an Afghanistan war story filmed and edited entirely with an iPhone.
Experimentally Ill 4
Mar. 16, 18 at the ; Mar. 24 at the , March 31 at BATV Brookline (46 Tappan St, Top Floor, Brookline. 617-731-8566; batv.org). experimentallyill.wordpress.com
Experimentally Ill 4 is a creative outlet for the outrageous films by the far-out friends of Lawrence Hollie and Michael Phelan O’Toole. Both veterans of the highly obscure world of underground cable access TV, the pair has cultivated a scene bursting with edgy creativity.
The festival will screen a huge number of short films over the course of its four days—thirty-three in the first two hours alone. Featured during the festival will be works by eccentric auteur D.L. Polonsky including Grill Interrupted and Ersatz, in which a pulp fiction writer carries around her deceased father’s head. Don’t Spill The Eggs is a surreal romp through the streets of Central Square by cartoonist Mick Cusimano. Hollie’s "The Believer" is a short outtake from a longer film he is making called The Vampire Chronicles. Dom Portalla’s Door II Productions is a collection of Tarantino-esque shorts. The Detective is by Hollie and O’Toole, and stars Quincy Brisco, an irrepressible luminary of the underground cable access scene, who also shares hosting duties with O’Toole.