Typically, when a film festival includes a city in its name, it simply denotes the fest's location. For the Cinedelphia Film Festival, however, the “delphia” half of its name is as important to its mission as the “cine” half. The brainchild of local film advocate Eric Bresler, founder of Cinedelphia.com, the festival will feature 40 programs and nearly 100 screenings throughout April, all shining a spotlight on the city’s multifaceted film community.
“I’ve been involved in the Philly film community for 15 years now,” says Bresler, who is also director of programming at PhilaMOCA. “It’s a small community, kind of like Philly is a small city, so I wanted to bring together all of Philly’s film-related organizations and showcase them under one banner.”
The festival kicks off tonight with a look back at the history of film programming at International House, featuring a selection of short films originally screened there in 1979. Other programs celebrate the history of film in Philly with local industrial and educational shorts from Secret Cinema; a retrospective of the Philadelphia Film Festival’s Danger After Dark series with programmer Travis Crawford.
Bresler hopes the festival will show “not only the area but the country at large that Philly does have an active film scene that covers all facets from production to programming to exhibition and distribution. I think the final line-up is as diverse as can be, like the community itself.”
Despite its wide reach, Bresler does admit to the fest having “a concentration on the weird.” That includes his own offbeat VHS collage project Video Pirates, an evening of Wes Anderson-themed burlesque, and a double feature of locally shot 1980s horror movies. But it also celebrates the rich history of local film, with a birthday celebration for silent film pioneer Sigmund Lubin and a talk by TLA Entertainment founder Ray Murray about the company’s history.
“I think there’s a good overview of Philly film over the past hundred years,” Bresler says, “with a big concentration on celebrating the now.”
5 Picks from the 'Fest
Video Pirates: Cinedelphia founder Eric Bresler's own contribution is an edited blast of the horrific sights from old VHS tapes, ranging from Christian television to Beanie Babies. Sat., April 6
Girls School Screamers and Blades: A double feature of two low-budget horror films shot in the Philadelphia area, the latter a "Jaws" parody set on a golf course. Sun., April 7.
Video Violence: Filmed in Frenchtown, N.J., Gary P. Cohen's no-budget gorefest is actually a mashup of two horrors — revolving around a video store proprietor — made in the '80s. Sat., April 13
Loud! Fast! Philly!: Exhumed Films' Joseph A. Gervasi put together this video history of the history of hardcore punk music in Philadelphia. A second show has been added after the first sold out. Tues., April 23.
The Lost Man: Despite starring Sidney Poitier, this 1969 Black Power remake of Carol Reed's "Odd Man Out" has fallen into obscurity, making this screening a must. Fri., April 26.
If You Go:
Cinedelphia Film Festival
Through Apr. 27