Flim [sic—Ed.] Fest began, perhaps, as all great film festivals begin: with terrible short films being projected onto the blue fitted bedsheet of festival co-founder Kevin James (no, not that Kevin James). "People thought that was the coolest shit, though," says co-founder Joe Botsch. Despite these ghetto-ass origins, audiences haven’t been deterred.
"When we did the first one, those movies were bad—like, really bad," says Botsch. "The movies that we make and our friends make have gotten a lot better since then, but we still want to support the people who are making movies."
Botsch, James and their South Shore film buddies make goofy movies under the Not A Tad Bad moniker. "It’s sort of an incestuous little community of filmmakers down there," Botsch says. "We all trade actors for various projects and help each other out."
Watching a Not A Tad Bad "flim" (you read right, spelling Nazis) sober is like watching anything else intoxicated. Everything just seems a bit more surreal. They are gloriously—perhaps proudly—no budget. The acting is over the top, the writing even more so. Everything is a bit too much. But it works. Plus, they’re actually funny. "We like the idea of taking that seriousness," Botsch says, "that sort of standard movie you’ve seen a million times, and just making it the most ridiculous thing possible."
Flim Fest, however, is not just here to tickle your funny bone. "Our general policy," Botsch says, "is to try to put in something from every filmmaker."
More importantly, there is no submission fee and filmmakers are encouraged to send in as many films as they like. While established filmmakers may shy away from an open festival, that unintentionally hilarious YouTube movie you made on the 4th of July after one too many Jagerbombs ("The fireworks—they’re breathing!") might make the cut. Perhaps even that short-form documentary you shot—the one you have no idea what to do with—could have a new home. "You get some really good, honest opinions and criticisms," James says of Flim Fest premieres.
Despite the fact that Flim Fest content is improving every year, the festival has not forgotten its DIY origins. The first day of festivities is free and features local bands, and the film screening is only six dollars (five by mail). The whole shebang is entirely nonprofit and if there’s extra cash laying around, free popcorn.
"You walk in the door and you figure out pretty quick what you’re about to experience," James says. "There’s no money being made—people are just there to enjoy themselves and eat popcorn."
FLIM FEST 2010
A TWO-DAY FILM FESTIVAL AND MUSIC EXTRAVAGANZA
THE BEAL HOUSE
222 MAIN ST.
137 WARREN AVE.PLYMOUTH, MA
5PM/ALL AGES/$6, $5 BY MAIL