Monday, December 16, 2013

The Unofficial Google+ Film Festival Goes Global

By Tami Shaloum

The third annual Unofficial Google+ Film Festival, which took place December 13-15, has concluded but viewers can still watch the nearly 80 short films and web series online. The festival was truly a global event, taking place through a series of live screenings and panels made viewable on Google Hangouts in locations as varied as London, Singapore, New Zealand, Mexico, and New York City. In addition, the festival brought together filmmakers from 23 countries around the world.

WGINY had the opportunity to attend the live event in New York at Katra, a Middle Eastern restaurant and lounge in the lower east side. The eight films screened were from Film Block 4, representing filmmakers from the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Of particular note are “Unplugged,” a visually unique, pro-nature animated film; “Love Squirts,” an ├╝ber-short comedy that explores the fine art of zit-popping; “The Story of an Egg,” a documentary about the real meaning of terms such as “free range” and “cage free;” and “Los Santos (The Saints),” a comedy about a couple of inept kidnappers and the three couples they mistakenly detain.

The discussion afterward took place on Google Hangouts with some of the filmmakers and actors live in New York or streamed live on screen. Some film students from a university in Tijuana, Mexico were also in virtual attendance. It was interesting to see the way Hangouts was used to facilitate a Q&A. With only a few minor technical glitches, the conversation seemed to run smoothly. Some of the topics discussed included the number of submissions (500), the veracity of the mockumentary “Fished Out: The Truth Behind Lionfish Addiction” (inconclusive, as the filmmakers were playfully ambiguous), and the conceptualization of some of the films: “La Comida (The Meal),” “Fuck You, Lucy Pickens (The Orientation),” and “The Wood House.”

It’s nice to see some younger, newer filmmakers getting recognized for their work. Events like this really help to celebrate the diversity and creativity of film.

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