Thursday, November 27, 2014
Anyone familiar with Couch Fest?
I just found out about it, and it's coming right up on Saturday, December 6, 2014. FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC!
Couch Fest is a cozy shorts film fest that brings world-class short movies out of the cinema and into non-traditional venues like living rooms, boats, offices, and more--all over the world, all on the same day.Upon learning about it, I contacted the host for Philadelphia, Nicole Ayers of Madlab Entertainment for an interview:
T&T: How did you hear about Couch Fest?
Nicole: I’ve supported Couch Fest (click for CouchFest Philly facebook page) since its inception in 2008 by writing about it on my independent film blog, The Madlab Post and also hosted this festival in a Mt. Airy theater, in 2012. It's been so long, how I first heard of Couch Fest escapes me. I am glad to have watched it grow over the last several years…from a few houses in Seattle, Washington to galleries, boats and other alternative venues all over the globe while maintaining its mission of bringing people together to view, enjoy and discuss short films and supporting the hard work that filmmakers put into these movies by giving them an audience and wide exposure that their work might not otherwise have.
T&T: Are you a filmmaker?
Nicole: I wrote, directed and produced a short film titled “Abyss: The Greatest Proposal Ever,” about an Army Sergeant who gets stranded by SEPTA when a troubling wedding proposal shakes up his homecoming plans. The movie is currently being used to raise funds for the Red Cross of Southeastern Pennsylvania as a way to pay it forward after the help this organization provided to a U.S. Veteran I worked on my film with, who lost his home in a Chester County fire that claimed multiple properties. Since the winter storms that came through Philadelphia earlier this year had a significant impact on our local Red Cross’ disaster relief funds, I’m hoping I can do my part to help them secure the resources necessary to respond to fires in and around the city because they respond to 5-7 fires every night during the winter months.
Prior to making my film, I worked as a freelance videographer and editor for area schools and private clients doing sporting events as well as documenting educational speakers. I am currently working on a television series to be broadcast on PhillyCAM, a local cable station that airs on Comcast & Verison channels, in 2015.
T&T: Why did you choose to screen at a laundromat?
Nicole: I chose to screen at The Laundry Café because Couch Fest is all about watching movies with strangers, so what better place to gather strangers and get them talking to each other than a laundromat, right?! I also had a pleasant experience when doing my laundry there for the first time during the post-production stage of my short film and this make for a great excuse to rehabilitate those who have succumbed to silly daytime talk shows. The Laundry Café is one of few local businesses that operate with the community that it serves in mind by providing quality, friendly and all-inclusive service that is hard to find in Philadelphia…particularly in neighborhoods heavy populated with minorities and/or a large percentage of low-income families.
This Laundromat puts on many community events such a talent shows, back-to-school celebrations, etc. while providing amenities such as computer access, a gaming area, Starbucks coffee and large flat screen televisions that give customers a way to occupy their time while waiting for clothes to dry or their last rinse cycle to end, so it was the perfect place for me to host Couch Fest in Philadelphia.
T&T: Where is The Laundry Cafe? And what time does the screening begin?
Nicole: The screening begins at 3:00pm. The Laundry Café (5675 N Front St. Philadelphia, PA 19120) is located in the Olney Plaza Shopping Center at One & Olney Square (Front and Olney sts.), directly across from Shoprite and a few storefronts down from Modell’s Sporting Goods store.(For public transportation just jump right on route 26 bus which goes to One & Olney Square).
T&T: Are attendees encouraged to bring food, and if so, will we be sharing?
Nicole: There are vending machines inside The Laundry Café and they also sell soft drinks, giving attendees several options for snacks. Any other food items that attendees might want to bring, either for themselves or to share, are optional and available at many of the stores surrounding the Laundromat including Shoprite, Dollar Tree and Subway. Attendees are encouraged to bring themselves and a friend or two, if possible. Everything else is purely up to each individual but I would advise anyone, who likes to eat something that smells like day-old gym socks, to chow down on it before stepping foot into the Laundromat, for the sake of all that is good about humanity.
T&T: Have you seen all the chosen films ahead of time and if so, which one(s) really caught your attention?
Nicole: As a host I get to watch films in the program scheduled for the Couch Fest screening in Philadelphia including “THE BEAST INSIDE,” a hand-drawn animated film featuring spoken word rap about a teenager who sleeps on rooftops, yet, still finds ways to be charitable toward people in his community. I also find the movie merchandising mocking of “CRUISING ELECRTIC” and the cynicism that hopeless romance battles with in “VALENTINE” to be funny. The Seattle film “MAIKARU,” about hope after growing up surrounded by violence and human trafficking, and the British film “VALSE,” about the unfortunate timing of a love story between two snails, are the shorts that caught my attention the most. Some of the chosen films I would watch if I were in the other cities or countries where they are showing at Couch Fest include “A DAUGHTER’S SCARS” about a Cambodia sex worker and her family history and “DVR,” about a tech obsessed couple trying to figure out who to blame for erasing GAME OF THRONES off the DVR.
T&T: Anything else you'd like to add to encourage attendance?
Nicole: You have a chance to travel the world through the semi-big screen without leaving your couch, or in this case…your seat space in the Laundromat. Plus, it’s FREE and space is limited. Expect Foreign films to be in full force…this is an international festival, after all. That means if you believe in the freedom of expression or if you tend to gravitate toward art-house cinema or experimental media, chances are you’ll see a movie (or several) you enjoy at this year’s Couch Fest.
While I intended to host a family friendly program for the Philadelphia screening, the current lineup appears to have a PG/PG-13 vibe, so I would strongly advise some parental discretion for any attendees with small children. Attendees at this year’s Couch Fest Philadelphia screening also get to vote on the films at the screening
which helps the festival jury choose winners in various categories. Come out to watch a diverse range of films at Couch Fest 2014 and show the rest of the world how much Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection Philadelphians have to offer!
Check out CouchFest films scheduled for other cities
to get notices on Free Screenings, Giveaways and Upcoming Philly Events!
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