Into the Woods, With a Canister of Film
The 2009 Art Outside festival
October could mark the end of the brief breather in Austin's otherwise packed fall film festival lineup. Central Texas cinephiles kicked out of the Alamo Drafthouse by the Fantastic Fest cleaning crew can now weather the time before the Austin Film Festival lets them into the Paramount at the expanded film portion of the fifth annual Art Outside festival. There is a catch, though: The venue is outdoors, at a campsite. I guess we're going to need some sunscreen. (Maybe some sleeping bags.)
The Art Seen Alliance is hosting this year's Art Outside at Apache Pass in Rockdale, Texas (about 50 miles northeast of Austin). As in years past, it will feature many performance, mixed-media, collaborative, and audience-participatory pieces in the genres of music, painting, drawing, sculpture, dance, fashion, and comedy, but it now also has an expanded film portion. "It's not that film hasn't been a part of Art Outside in the past," says Warren McKinney, director of Art Outside and the Art Seen Alliance. "But it wasn't as big a category within the event as it is this time. This year we focused really hard on incorporating more films."
McKinney reached out to a handful of more established film festivals for help selecting pieces for the event. In addition to new films received through Art Outside's call for submissions, there will also be screenings of selections from the Elevate Film Festival (in Los Angeles), the Lost Film Festival (founded in Philadelphia), and the Austin Underground Film Festival. The selections include short documentaries, narratives, experimental pieces, and animations from both first-time and well-established filmmakers, such as animator Don Hertzfeldt (including his "I Am So Proud of You," which won Best Animated Short at last week's Fantastic Fest).
While the films vary in subject matter, they all contribute to the festival's larger goal of blurring the lines between the art, the artist, and the viewer. "The missions of the Art Seen Alliance and Art Outside are pretty much the same," says McKinney. "To make art accessible to the public and to take art outside the context of galleries." Andy Gately, founder of the Austin Underground Film Festival, selected a variety of pieces from the past three years that complement this theme. "We have several films that encourage audience involvement," says Gately. "They inspire the viewer, a lot of them directly, to take actions or reconsider actions they're currently taking. ... I've had a lot of people tell me that certain films have changed their minds, and those are the seeds that make people change the way they are leading their lives."
The Art Outside Festival runs Oct. 9-11. For more info, including ticket prices and the schedule, visit www.artoutside.org.