Indie Meme Continues Pioneering Virtual Film Festival
Second weekend mixes drama, horror, and monkey hijinks
With theatres closed, film festivals are finding new ways to bring audiences and films together. Last week, when Austin's Indie Meme Film Festival pioneered shifting to online with its first weekend of streaming films and Q&As, it was an experiment. With weekend two coming up, it's become a proven success, and there's still time to buy a membership. "Our virtual theatre has slowly taken on the flavor of the real theatre," the organizers explained after last weekend. "In these strange days of social distancing, we believe this is a great way to keep our community connected and close." For newcomers to streaming, and those that need some help with technology, log in 10 minutes before showtime for some online assistance.
Friday, May 8
6.55pm Coral Woman Priya Thuvassery's incredible documentary about Uma Mani, who took up painting to fill some time and soon became a scuba-diving ecological activist. The screening will be followed by a Zoom Q&A with Thuvassery.
9:10pm Shorts Program II What's a film festival without some bite-size portions of cinema? Canadian comic short "Forbidden Tikka Masala" finds a slip-up over dinner becoming a life-changing experience; "The Timekeeper" explores the analog dedication of a traditional watchmaker in a digital world; and "Kathakaar" follows the beat of the ancient dance form, Kathak, in Pakistan. The package will be followed by an audience discussion.
Saturday, May 9
7:10pm Shorts Program III More intriguing and brief stories: The slyly subversive "The Booth" finds hidden romance in a shopping mall's frisking booth; "Cobalt Blue" gives Burmese cinema a platform as a young boy navigates the world of adult relationships; while "Meal" is 11 minutes of perfect, silent tension from Bengal, all followed by an audience discussion.
9:10pm Aamis Horror is a new genre for Indian cinema, only beginning in 2018 with supernatural creeper Tumbbad. Now Bhaskar Hazarika brings fear to Assam with a story of forbidden lust and transgressive appetites. Screening followed by a Q&A with Hazarika.
Sunday, May 10
6:40pm Eeb Allay Ooo! Ancient traditions clash with modern commerce for a "monkey soldier" (Shardul Bharadwaj) hired to scare the holy rhesus monkeys that run wild in government buildings. Followed by a Q&A with filmmaker Prateek Vats and an audience discussion.
9pm Award ceremony Yes, even though the festival had to be virtual this year, the organizers have decided to push ahead with their decision to have 2020 mark the first annual Indie Meme prizegiving.
Indie Meme Film Festival 2020 virtual edition, May 8-9 is free to all Indie Meme members. Annual memberships start at $35. Details at www.indiememe.org. For more on this year’s festival, read “Indie Meme Film Festival Goes Online,” May 1.