By JASMINE YOUNG
The lights dimmed and the door slid shut like a scene out of the movie “Saw.” The audience sat in complete darkness on the edge of their seats until the large screen lit up with “kArt” by Jeremy Make and Andy Raney. “kArt” followed these best friends as they drove a golf cart around America trying to find the “art” we all have in us. However, the Make and Raney documentary was only seen by about 20 people.
Every September, film lovers come together from around the United States to experience the Underground Film Festival at the Goat Farm Arts Center in Atlanta. The weekends of the month are divided into genres: feature length, shorts, documentaries, animation and horror. Submissions are submitted from around the world to showcase underground talent.
“I come every weekend in September,” said film lover Jasmine Wilson. “I try to volunteer when I get the chance but never during Horrorfest. That is my absolute favorite weekend!”
The event is organized every year by founder Eric Panter and festival manager Monet Rumford. Panter, who is a film graduate from Georgia State University, started the annual event in 2004. Together, Rumford and Panter screen films year round and compile a group of the best underground submissions to showcase in Atlanta. More recently they have branched out to viewings in Costa Rica, where Panter now resides.
An Intimate Event
“We do intimate Q & A sessions with the filmmakers who wish to participate,” said Rumford. “The audience is open to ask any questions they may like. This really gives the audience an opportunity to voice their opinions as well as give the filmmaker an opportunity to really hear feedback on the film they made.”
The intimate nature of the festival provides directors and aspiring directors with an opportunity to network and find more about the film industry. Most screenings hold about 15-20 people although many more could be accommodated. Panter and Rumford are always actively looking for volunteers and marketers to expand the festival. They hope to be able to not only showcase underground films but local art as well.
One of the main screening rooms is called the Goodson Yard. The building of Goodson Yard appears to have been a huge warehouse back in the 1800s, but today it’s a rehearsal space for GloAtlanta, an Atlanta dance troop. The room has a 12-by-15 foot screen taking up one side from floor to ceiling. There is also a faint sound of the railroad track that runs right behind the Goat Farm.
Submissions will soon be accepted online for the 2013 festival, which will take place at the same time next year. Guidelines for submissions can be found at www.independentfilmmonth.com for the individual genres. For more information, questions can be directed towards firstname.lastname@example.org.
“kArt” concluded with all audience members questioning what their “art” or passion is. Director Make explained that the film was meant to capture the culture of America, even if it was only done at 30 mph.