If it's time for ArtsFest in Riverfront Park, then you know it's time for FilmFest -- and for the past 11 years Harrisburg's own film extravaganza has pulled out all the stops and has attracted filmmakers and film lovers from all over the world.
This year's fest boasts 81 films, and according to Moviate's Caleb Smith, "the quality is amazing on all the current films. Plus, it's still a free film festival."
And the free-ness is pretty remarkable, considering the sheer number of films and filmmakers that will be on hand.
The fest is doing something new Friday night -- a special outdoor screening at Troeg's Brewery playfully called "Brews and Bros," featuring the 1983 classic "Strange Brew," a beer-inspired adaptation of Shakespeare's "Hamlet" written by Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas. Seriously.
"It was [Troeg's] idea for 'Strange Brew,' and we thought a kickoff like that would be a fun way to start the four-day festival," Smith said .
Get there early. The first 100 patrons will receive a free jelly donut. Beer and concessions will also be available for purchase. Mmmmm donuts and beer. Homer Simpson would be in heaven.
On Saturday, the Whitaker Center will feautre a day of film. The day kicks off at 11 a.m. with animation, followed by narrative films of all kinds.
All Warhol lovers should definitely check out the screening of the vintage 1964 Warhol film "Tarzan and Jane Regained Sort Of," starring Taylor Mead and Dennis Hopper (yes, that Dennis Hopper). And Mead will be in attendance at the screening! AAA!
"Taylor is a Warhol 'Superstar,' but more than that, he is a poet, storyteller, actor, filmmaker, and [he] co-directed and edited films for Andy Warhol," Smith explains. "[He] also edited ["Tarzan and Jane Regained Sort of"], so it will be great to have him at the Festival talking about working on that Warhol Film."
The day will culminate in a meet-and-greet event at the Abbey Bar at ABC, where you will have the opportunity to, well, meet and greet filmmakers and the like.
At 9 p.m., Taylor Mead will perform at the Abbey Bar. That's sure to be exciting.
"His show is a half-hour performance with storytelling, visual aids and crazy poetry, highly entertaining," Smith said. "He has a pile of pictures and a pile of stories and poems and he pulls from both to give a live performance, sometimes he talks about Andy and other events in pop culture."
And after that, if you'd like your mind to be blown, head to the Midtown Cinema for a special midnight screening of "Eraserhead." This cult classic will be shown on a rare 35mm film print, which will undoubtedly add to its Lynch-y terrifying-ness. I'm getting shivers just thinking about it.
Don't sleep too late on Sunday, though. The films begin at 11 a.m. and run all the way until 8 p.m., when you can get another Warhol fix with the classic "Chelsea Girls, which will be screened in the way that Warhol envisioned: with two 16mm projectors showing different scenes on the same screen.
Monday, the final day of FilmFest, will be a really good one - with two documentaries kicking off the day, followed by two locally produced feature films: "Rough Cut," Todd Klick's documentary based on a 2003 murder in East Pennsboro Twp. that made national news, and the comedy "Route 30," starring Curtis Anderson of "Revenge of the Nerds" fame.
IF YOU GO: 11th Annual ArtsFest FilmFest, Friday at 8 p.m. at Troeg's Brewery, 800 Paxton St., Harrisburg. Saturday through Monday at Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts, 222 Market St., Harrisburg. Meet and Greet/Taylor Mead performance at 8 p.m. at The Abbey Bar at Appalachian Brewing Company, 50 N. Cameron St., Harrisburg. "Eraserhead" screening at midnight at Midtown Cinema, 250 Reily St., Harrisburg. All events free to the public.
Complete schedule and info at artsfestfilmfest.com For a complete schedule of the 81 films that are part of FilmFest, visit artsfestfilmfest.com
By Alexis Dow