everything you need to know about the feelings film festival
Ahead of the first ever Feelings Film Festival, screening tonight at New York’s Anthology Film Archives, we caught up with co-creators Chloe Wise and Adam Levett about creating a festival for the digital age.
Still from 'Mutants' by Mike and Claire
In one particularly knockout episode of The Simpsons, Marge proposes that Springfield stimulate its tourism industry and boost its cultural clout by hosting a film festival. Mr. Burns' epic A Burns for All Seasons, resident alcoholic Barney Gumble's Pukahontas, and Homer's favorite short, Man Getting Hit by Football, all bring Springfield together to laugh, cry, and unsuccessfully bribe each other.
Bright young artists Chloe Wise and Adam Levett decided to pull a Marge and launch their own screening, the Feelings Film Festival. Featuring new works from Michael Bailey Gates and Claire Christerson, India Menuez, Jeanette Hayes, Alexandra Marzella, and many more, the first ever FFF screens tonight at Anthology Film Archives. Ahead of their curtain call, we caught up with Chloe and Adam to get the story behind launching their own festival. Today, the proud Canadians share a few of their favorite pieces--including new works from Mike and Claire, Hari Nef, Jeanette Hayes, and more--only on i-D:
How did FFF come about?
Chloe Wise: Adam and I had been making films together for a few years, and we've always wanted to see them on the big screen rather than a little square on the Internet. We realized that many people we know that also make videos just to be disseminated online would probably feel the same way, or might want to see their work re-contexualized in a theater setting as well. So we started brainstorming how to do that.
Adam Levett: It seems such an ingrained part of our lives, movies and going to the cinema. Because of the Internet, people don't do that as much anymore. I miss the enjoyment of going and experiencing things: everyone laughing together, everyone being uncomfortable together. So we made our own.
How did you come up with the name?
A: We had an hour long Facebook/ FaceTime/ texting/ getting angry/ hanging up repeatedly/ making friends again session.
C: Mostly just texting different words and seeing if the other person would laugh or not. "Spicy Cabbage Film Fest?" "Eh, no." It was a very long time of texting words back and forth until "feelings" came up.
A: It was like, "Yes, that's it, bye, never want to talk to you again."
C: Cyber Bullying Film Festival.
How did you choose the films and artists?
C: It was a mix of hitting up our friends and Adam reaching out to artists that we were familiar with, we had previously collaborated with, or whose work we just enjoyed. It's a lot of people that we're friends with and work with closely like Mike and Claire, India, and Logan [Jackson], but then we reached out to try and incorporate more people who are not just in New York or just in our friend group. There were also some people that submitted; it was supposed to be just a few, but it grew as people gained interest and as we realized that variety is the spice of life. All of us are in some way familiar with--not the struggle or frustration--but the inevitability of only showing on a computer screen.
Will this be a recurring event?
A: Our ultimate goal moving forward is making it annual or biannual and trying to create a community, which I think is already on its way. Watching all the films back-to-back, I think there really is a kind of cohesion and voice to it that came together on its own. Going forward, we hope it'll be an ongoing showcase for people's new work.
Do you see any themes or commonalities in the works?
C: Our collaborative work has a lot of comedy and music. There's elements of fashion and of cinema, but there's a lot of comedy and musical rhythm, so I feel like we're drawn to artists that incorporate similar aspects.
A: Almost by accident, all of the films are funny or funny-ish.
C: In previous festivals that Adam and I have been involved in, there's a lot of really serious pieces. When you think of experimental video or video art, it's a black and white video of someone smoking a cigarette or something. There's nothing wrong with that, it's just that a lot of film festivals that are already established might have a serious tone. We wanted to bring videos that are funny and quick and done on an iPhone, but give that work the same kind of gravity and attention.
A: Speaking of iPhones, I feel the films also have some aesthetic similarities and cohesion because of the technologies that are now available as forms to make work.
C: Exactly. There's a lot of things we're showing that you probably wouldn't see in other festivals. We've been the odd man out in other festivals, the funny weird one. This is gonna be fun energy. There's almost no rules except for the time limit, there was no standard form. A lot of people haven't previously shown in film festivals or gallery settings, it's people that we believe in. It's high energy and a friendly vibe, all of our friends in one cinema.
A: You'll probably still be bored though.
C: Yeah, I'll be so bored.
Check out all the videos on the brand new Feelings Film Festival tumblr!
Text Emily Manning