Are you seeking intellectual and cultural stimulation? Racking your brain for date ideas? Or are you just looking for something to do this weekend? Never fear, we’ve got you covered.
Talking Pictures, Evanston’s first independent film festival, will take place right in our own backyard this Friday through Sunday. Produced by Percolator Films, an Evanston-based media arts organization, the festival will consist of events taking place at three locations: our very own Block Cinema, the Evanston Public Library (where admission is free), and Boocoo Cultural Center and Cafe. A full schedule of films and locations can be found here.
Kathy Berger, co-founder of Percolator, explained that festivals have the unique ability to give audiences access to some of the more esoteric works, a change from the bubble-gum Hollywood flicks that show every night at the local theaters. “One of the reasons that we’d like to do this festival is because we’d like to give independent filmmakers a platform,” Berger said. “It’s hard to access independent films, even when they come to places like art house theaters, the Music Box, and the CineArts in Evanston…. They’re here and gone before you know it.”
In addition to giving audiences the rare opportunity to see independent films, Talking Pictures will directly help out the filmmakers as well. “I think independent filmmakers still have a really hard time finding venues for their screening and also being able to interact with their audiences. I think it’s very important for independent filmmakers to get that feedback from audiences,” Berger said. There will be an opportunity for such feedback since about 15 of the festival’s offerings were produced by local cinematographers, many of whom will be in attendance.
Percolator may be a new organization, but its connection to the Evanston community is strong and long-standing. Before creating Talking Pictures, the people behind Percolator had been running Reeltime, which has held monthly independent film events for ten years. Will Schmenner, the film curator and director of Block, explained that Northwestern, too, has a relationship with Reeltime: “We’ve been doing Reeltime together for eight years, and this is a new departure for them … They really know the Evanston community well …. With this first year we’re just trying to show a lot of different types of films that we think that people in Evanston and on Northwestern’s campus will like.”
And what does that entail? According to Berger, “there’s a good mix of films, so there’s something that should appeal to everyone. We’ve got documentaries, we have narratives, we have animation, we have Oscar nominees. So hopefully there’s something there that will appeal to some of the students at Northwestern.”
In the words of Schmenner: “If you find yourself needing some time to get away this weekend, the Evanston film festival is going to provide that for you. Ideally, when it’s something so close and so easy to get into, you can just step in and discover a movie on your own. You don’t really have to do a lot of research on this, just stop by and see what’s going on. That’s one of the really cool things about being in college, about being on a college campus, the ability to just go to a place real close and see something pretty great.”