Hailed by MovieMaker magazine as one of America’s coolest celebrations of fearless (and often underfunded) filmmaking, the Disposable Film Festival returns to San Francisco on Thursday for four days of screenings, featuring video captured by cell phones, pocket cameras and other everyday devices significantly less expensive than James Cameron’s 3-D technology.
Founded in 2007 by Webby Award-winning Bay Area filmmaker Eric Slatkin and art historian Carlton Evans, the festival’s fourth go-round will draw from more than 1,000 entries worldwide, highlighting the very best footage recorded using the latest cutting-edge gadgets, including the iPhone 4 and the Xbox 360’s Kinect.
This year’s jury includes independent-film producer Ted Hope (Adventureland, the upcoming Rainn Wilson comedy Super); writer-director Matthew Lessner (The Woods); screenwriter Hawk Ostby (Iron Man); and Blake Whitman, of the video-sharing website Vimeo. Joining them to judge the 25 films selected for competition will be Evans and the festival’s associate director, Katie Gillum.
The festival begins at the Castro Theatre this Thursday at 8 p.m. with an evening of short films, followed by the presentation of DFF’s Audience Choice Award. Tickets cost $12.
Other events will include “How to Become a Disposable DePalma,” an industry panel allowing aspiring filmmakers to chat with more established peers, and a Saturday night performance by the pop band Pomplamoose, whose self-produced videos drew more than 52 million viewers on YouTube.
Though technology continues to evolve, enabling amateur auteurs to produce more sophisticated videos, Evans says the purpose of the festival remains basically the same.
“Once upon a time, if you had a vision for a film, you needed significant resources to make it happen – a crew, specialized knowledge and resources out of the reach of most people, which is how the studio system emerged,” he says. “Now, if you have a creative vision for a film, you can go out there and make it.
“That’s not saying every film is going to be great, but now people have cameras with them all the time, and editing software comes pre-installed in every computer. Distribution is available through Zimbio and YouTube. So the accessibility is no longer limited to a select few. You can see your movie at the Castro, and distributed internationally through our 15 worldwide partners.”