Monday, December 28, 2015

STUFF: Independent Filmmakers' Delight!

When adjunct faculty, grad students, and others are looking for venues to expose their creativity and art — especially when it comes to film — they should look no further than STUFF, the South Texas Underground Film Festival, located by the beautiful southern beaches of Corpus Christi, Texas.

Robert and Mariella Perez, the masterminds behind STUFF, worked harder than ever to present their fourth dazzling weeklong festival, and it showed in the unique, varied, and intriguing choice of films presented throughout the week of November 30th through December 6th, 2015, all free of charge. These films came from all over the world, and while some were personally presented by its directors or creators, others were shown with as much fanfare, though directors from Australia, Finland, or places in South America could not attend. 

C.J. Lazaretti, Director of Cosmico, a "philosophical comedy,"
was furthest traveler native of Porto Alegre, Brazil
As promoters of Ayotzinapa: Crónica de un crimen de Estado, we were only able to get there on Thursday night, so we did not catch the over 100 films presented, but if they were all like the ones we did see, they must have been a feast to the eyes. The morning shorts were especially delectable. And I am no great fan of zombie and horror films, but some of these were so well done, and from such a unique perspective, that I have now been won over to the fold.

There are too many films and filmmakers to speak of, so instead I will link you to STUFF's page so you can check it out on your own. Indeed, you can see all the wonderful things the creative genius of Robert & 
Mariella Perez previewed and will also showcase at their next festival coming up, Mundo de Sueños Film Festival.

If you want a chance to show your own films independently, you cannot ask for a better venue, people to promote it, or a place to go see it: Corpus is the best! Being by the beach too, how wonderful in comparison to anywhere else we could be at the beginning of December? You know I have a love/hate relationship with the state of Texas, but the weather was great — not too hot, definitely not cold — and these Texas sunsets are always a beautiful thing, no matter what else you think about the state.

Sunset in Corpus Christi on Saturday during STUFF
© Ana M. Fores Tamayo

So it was a long fruitful weekend at the STUFF film festival: it was incredible being saturated with films galore. And what's wonderful to think about is that this will happen all over again in a few months.

An adjunct artist's fantasy?

Where else can we get to watch great films for free, enjoy exceptional hospitality by wonderful people, present our work and have it lauded by all who see it, and then to boot, enjoy the weather and beach? Corpus Christi is really a hidden gem...

I wonder how the Sundance Film Festival started back in the day, in the middle of nowhere Utah? But they had Robert Redford to back them up, of course, so it made things easier for the festival to take hold
. STUFF may not have star power yet, but if or when people discover this secluded paradise — the beaches and loveliness of Corpus Christi — it won't be long before STUFF becomes one of the most coveted film festivals around: it has all the makings of perfection.

It’s a shame how few people attended the festival in light of this however: the venues were not very full, despite the fact they were free, and despite the excellence of the films. I just think we have not given the festival enough of a push, so we need to do better — especially the artists, filmmakers, educators — this is why I am promoting this next festival coming up big time! But reading that Sundance started out with approximately 150 people that first year gives me hope we can make this festival shine brighter each and every year. 

MSFF celebrates & showcases work of Latino filmmakers
 raising money for college scholarships
And if as poor adjunct faculty or grad students we cannot afford to go to this very affordable city, it is still very easy to send in our films to have them play at STUFF: as I said, over 100 films from all over the world played, a myriad of genres, for all tastes.

What a treat!

One thing people must realize is that through artifice — film, in this case — filmmakers can get at great truths so the viewer is exposed to many different realities. Indeed, not everything has to hit us in the face to tell us we need to change the world; film does so subtly, or it does not do so at all, but it tells us always about the human condition in unique and countless ways.

And so many of us can catch this treat at the next film festival at Corpuskicking off Hispanic Heritage Month on September 9 — 10, 2016. You can also catch many early bird specials if you're ready to send something in now. 

So I will keep you posted on the coming details of the next film festival, but in the meantime, if you are a filmmaker
 — or you enjoy watching films — make sure to get in touch with Robert and Mariella Perez through their Facebook page.

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