Friday, July 13, 2012

A NEW Multi-Genre Film Festival!

The Bad-Ass Film Festival combines Sci-Fi, Horror. Action, Adventure and all other genres in a film festival that celebrates edgy and soul moving film and media. It is coming to Erie Pa in 2013 and I talked to the festival president David Bostaph about the festival:

What is the Bad-Ass Film Festival?

The Bad-Ass Film Festival (BAFF) is a film festival designed to celebrate what I have been calling the “art of bad-ass”. The types of films we will be celebrating have swagger, they have balls. They kick ass so hard it turns your brain into jelly with their cinematic fists of awesome! We all have sat and watched as something ferocious unfurled on film, and as we staggered to catch our breath, a simple phrase always comes to mind: “That was Bad-Ass!” These moments, these films are often not rewarded for the right reason. These films maybe lauded for aspects that all come together to create the bad-ass, but they have never been given their due for the right reason. We aim to change that.

David Bostaph, B.A.F.F. Prez
How is this festival different from all the others?

The whole thing is set up to be completely different from any other film festival, where in most film festivals you are looking at many different types of films and judging them in a very conventional fashion. Acting, script, editing, photography; these things are all important to any film and while they will continue to be important to how we judge and select films to play at BAFF, there is another layer to it, and it makes the whole thing even trickier. The BAFF will be selecting films on how Bad-Ass they are.  There are Science-fiction and Action Film Festivals out there and while they appeal to a specific genre of film, and when you go to one, you know what to expect. The BAFF is going to be a bit more gonzo in its approach. When you ask someone what a bad-ass film is, I find people have a specific image that appears in their head, but when you get past that initial response, there is a whole world of films that can fall under the title. You won’t know what to fully expect when you come to the BAFF!

What makes a film “Bad-Ass”?
Joseph Mellesh B.A.F.F. VP

Now, when I say the word “Bad-Ass” there is that instant image that instantly appears in your mind, but “Bad-Ass” doesn’t even evoke an image but more of a feeling, and it is that feeling that we want to celebrate. All art connects with people on some level, it just does so in different ways because no two people are the same. This applies to film as an art form, and it applies to the art of bad-ass as well. A good drama can make you feel for its subject, tragedy can make you cry, a horror movie can make you jump, but a Bad-Ass film does something just a bit more. It affects you on a gut level. There is something very tactile about how it makes you feel.  But, again, this is very subjective as are most things with art, so what we have been doing is creating a judging system where we can tear a movie apart as you would with any critique, but the filter we would run the parts through would then seek to identify those elements that make a movie Bad-Ass. We already are seeing that this is resulting in a wide spectrum of Bad-Ass, and this is helping us gauge where the cut off should be for what gets played while allowing us to see just what it takes to give the ultimate prize: the Bad-Ass certification of 100% Bad-Ass.   

Are there any genres that the festival will specifically focus on?

'Monster' Mark Kosobucki B.A.F.F. Art Director 
Absolutely not. Any type of film has the potential to be Bad-Ass, and that is something the BAFF will be striving to reward Bad-Ass wherever we find it. In our planning and development of the festival we began to realize that it is something that is very open to many different formats. Music, photography, and almost any other form of art can have elements of, or even be Bad-Ass. The whole thing has to convey a weirdo mix of confidence, spontaneity, and force that combine in awesome ways to create such unexpected, fleeting moments of raucous energy that gets directly infused into the observer. It is magic, it is full of power, and it cannot be contained into one medium, let alone one single style of film. 

What can film fans expect to experience at the Bad-Ass film festival? Any events, contests or other activities planned during or to coincide with the festival?

There are a lot of things we are looking into as possibilities to coincide with the BAFF. We would love to have a trade show with MMA and professional wrestling celebrities, trainers, and demos. We also will encourage film makers and film tech companies to come to the trade and demonstrate the latest gear and techniques being used to create Bad-Ass films. There are plans to invite someone new every year and possibly name them “Bad-Ass of the Year”. After parties, a possible music festival, contests, and too much to even go into. I’ll just say that there will be quite a bit to keep Bad-Ass attendees entertained. 

What are some of your favorite “Bad-Ass” films?

It’s funny but when we were first kicking around the idea of creating our own film festival, there were so many different things we could do, and the knee jerk reaction was to go to the type of film that you love best. I am a huge fan of science-fiction and horror, but in the years working with the horror fest, I got a bit pigeonholed as a horror person, and I love more than just that. I love all kinds of films, and that was where the idea for “Bad-Ass” kind of started from. Years ago, I had a conversation with Monster Mark where we envisioned a festival where we could invite anyone we felt was awesome enough to attend. It was from this framework that the idea for Bad-Ass was born. There was one small change, the addition of “Bad-Ass”, which added threshold for us gauge toward. We have an incredible and diverse team, but in the end, we all agreed that there was one type of film we all enjoyed. These were the films that made us geek out with amazing fights, mind-blowing action sequences, and hard edged characters who we just could not forget. All of these things had one major quality, when we sat back and examined them, we all agreed. They were Bad-Ass.

There were films that we each threw in as examples of Bad-Ass Cinema. One that will always be close to me is Aliens. I was like 11 when I first saw it and it changed my life. I had never seen anything like it before and the intensity was almost overbearing. That 11 year old still comes out in me whenever I see Ripley step out in the powerloader and begin bitch-slapping the queen around.

Last year I would say my two favorite films definitely defined Bad-Ass. Takashi Miike’s 13 Assassins and Attack the Block by Joe Cornish. What’s funny is that both of these films are about groups of people trying to overcome terrible odds. Attack the Block  is a great character study with a beautiful arc built around its main character, and Assassins is more about the entourage and builds slowly to a climax that is profoundly epic and beautifully brutal.

Recently, I have to say that Gareth Evans film, The Raid: Redemption was a bombastic display of constant bad-assery. The final fight between Iko Uwais, Doni Alamsyah, and Yayan Ruhian left me out of breath. It was superhuman without becoming a superhero movie. 

Have there been any films that you thought would totally stink but they surprisingly blew you away?

I am a film whore. I go to see a film with very few reservations and I am rarely completely disappointed. There is something in almost every film that redeems the project in some way or another, and on the rare occasions where I am not able to find something redeeming, it usually stems from disappointment out of a film promising something it doesn’t deliver on. There have been a few surprises out there when I have went in not unsure of what exactly I was getting into. One recent example was Cabin in the Woods. All I knew was it had been gathering a huge amount of positive buzz. Now, I try to stay away from spoilers, and I was determined to see this before anyone could ruin the “twist” for me. With misplaced confidence, I already felt I had a good grasp on the story the film was going to tell, and I thought I was ready for whatever it had to throw at me. Understand I was perturbed at the thought that the trailer had given most it all away. Yet, I remained curious. Well… let’s just say this, (and anyone who has seen the film knows the part I am about to allude to) but when the elevator doors opened, all I could think was: OH MY GOD, THAT IS SO BAD-ASS!

Oh, and Law Abiding Citizen. Watched it on a whim and was completely surprised by the incessant insanity it spewed out. I know some people did not think it was a good film, but in the Bad-Ass world that doesn’t matter. Bad-Ass doesn’t have to be good by anyone else’s definition. Bad-Ass doesn’t care. It’s just too Bad-Ass.

What can local film fans do to help get this project off the ground?

We have launched a Kickstarter site to help us get the project moving. We have a lot of things planned for the next year in preparation for the event, and if our Kickstarter is successful, it will give us the means to ensure that we are successful in delivering the event we are envisioning! We need support from the local and film communities to reach our Kickstarter goal.  In exchange we are offing some really exclusive Bad-Ass rewards for backers, including exclusive Bad-Ass Shirts, Wristbands, and glasses. Also you can get donate and get passes to the event. There are even lifetime passes available where the backer would get admission to every BAFF every year! There are a lot of Bad-Ass rewards and Kickstarter is the only place to get them!

You can help get the Bad-Ass Film Festival get off the ground by pledging at Kickstarter:

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