Monday, September 27, 2010

Notes from the B-Movie Celebration

About a half hour south of Indianapolis rests the sleepy town of Franklin, IN. This town hides a secret. Behind its idyllic facade creep monsters, dastardly villains, killer robots, and other things that go bump in the night: they're just all part of the fun for participants at the annual B-Movie Celebration.

Running from September 24-26, 2010, the B-Movie Celebration is the brainchild of Bill Dever -- a fan-turned-filmmaker who unveiled his latest production, Monster Cruise on the fest's opening night. Monster Cruise was one of two films directed by Jim Wynorski who was also part of the festival as the subject of Popatopolis, a great gonzo documentary.

My second trip to the B-Movie Celebration (I also attended in 2008), I met up again with Cashiers du Cinemart contributor Rich Osmond for a weekend of movies and hanging out. This time we were accompanied by Justin Bozung of Mondo Video and Jason Payne of Gut Munchers. Also making a special cameo appearance was Richard Edwards of Out of the Past. Along with watching movies, Edwards, Payne, Bozung and I took part of the "State of Indie Film Criticism" panel on Saturday afternoon where we gave a gut (munch) check of how things are in the world for folks writing and talking about film from a diverse range of viewpoints.

Our panel went pretty well with maybe a dozen people in attendance at the Franklin City Hall where we took over the city council's chambers. This unusual setting was the scene for the "B-Movie Classroom" and entertained discussions of being a "Scream Queen" by Jessica Cameron as well as a director's roundtable with Jim O'Rear and Mark Burchett.

Along with the historic Aircraft Theater, this year the B-Movie Celebration got out of the local museum's basement and got into the nearby Canary Creek theaters where festival attendees could take advantage of the Canary Creek drive-in. You could find me at the drive-in on Saturday night for the bizarre double feature, The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Nomads (yes, the one with Pierce Brosnan and Adam Ant).

For the most part, I'd seen most of the films that I caught at this year's B-Movie Celebration with the exception of the cowboys vs. dinosaurs film The Valley of Gwangi. Along with The Rocky Horror Picture Show, I was thrilled to see The American Astronaut and share it with folks that had never experienced Cory McAbee's masterpiece before.

I didn't sell a lot of books in Franklin but not for lack of trying. I plugged Impossibly Funky a few times during the State of Indie Film Criticism panel and Director's Roundtable, had an interview in the local Metromix (thanks to writer Shawna Kenney), and made an appearance on Film Soceyology on WFYI.

I'd point you over to the B-Movie Celebration website for more information about the festival, the special guests, and other movies that showed but it's pretty inaccurate. So, I'll just say that I had a fun time over the weekend; I met some great people, hung out with friends, had some amazing grub, and certainly have some stories to tell from it all.


Anonymous said...

How can you write an article about BMC and not talk about all the troubles of this fest? Hardly anything shown on film, shitty digital projection, half the guests listed on the site even a week ago not showing up, movies announced as being shown never getting a screening, a complete clusterfuck of organization. The entire festival seems to exist to promote Jim Wynorski movies which are being produced by Bill Dever. Coincidence? I think not.

Anonymous said...

Overall the BMC was a wash. I do have to disagree that it's not about promoting Wynorski, as only one of his films was shown. And it's Franklin, Indiana, not exactly the capital of B cinema.. The festival just needs some help is all.

Mike White said...

I'm not defending "Anonymous" but I did want to say that Monster Cruise and Bone Eater were helmed by Wynorski and both played this year.

The doc on Wynorski is amazing. Knowing that there's a documentary on HG Lewis out there as well, I'd have loved to have seen that programmed this year.

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