From March 6th-18th, The LES Film Festival 2012 took over the Lower East Side with screenings held at three different locations in the city. Sunshine Cinemas, Crosby Hotel, and Grand Opening featured the work of talented filmmakers working with a low budget of $30,000 and under. Films were showcased in the heart of the Lower East Side and screenings were BYOB for festivalgoers.
With screenings at just $10, it was an interesting experience to make sure to be a part of, if you could get a ticket that is. Tickets sold out every night for either one of the screenings, parties, or theme nights like International Night or Nerd Night. The festival awarded films in six different categories which included: The Best Feature, Best Dramatic Short, Best Comedic Short, Best Documentary Short, as well as The Neighborhood Award and The Audience Award. A wide-ranging panel of judges included NYC icon Susan Sarandon who selected the winning films.
This past Sunday night I had the pleasure to attend the screening of the winning feature film, which also showcased the winner of The Neighborhood Award, YARNANA. The Neighborhood Award film winner delivered an almost-trippy experience of a crochet girl lost on the streets of NYC in a romantic adventure. While the winner of The Best Feature, A Little Closer, told the stories of love and sexuality through the individual experiences of a mother and her two sons. Director Matthew Petock joined the audience at the end of the film for a short Q & A.
It’s easy to feel like you’re a real part of this festival. The very local Lower East Side independent spirit embodied in the intimate setting and the young and hip attendees made it a very enjoyable experience. Looking forward to next year!
Images courtesy of LES Film Festival