MicroCineFest 2004 readies for the faithful


October 22, 2004|By Chris Kaltenbach | Chris Kaltenbach,SUN MOVIE CRITIC

MicroCineFest 2004, Baltimore's eighth-annual celebration of films guaranteed not to show up at the local multiplex, will unspool at the G-Spot on Nov. 19 with a change in focus from previous years.

Gone will be the shorts-heavy programs that have dominated previous festivals, and there will be fewer new films on the schedule. Instead, founder and guiding force Skizz Cyzyk, working with the editors of the film journal Cashiers du Cinemart, will show underground classics from the past 10 years, films that would have thrived on the old midnight movie circuit.

While Cyzyk has yet to pick all of the 10 films that will be shown over the festival's three-day run, he spoke with glee of one that he's sure will appeal to the underground faithful.

Harry Knuckles and the Pearl Necklace, from Canadian filmmaker Lee Demarbe (whose earlier film, Jesus Christ Vampire Slayer, also will be shown), is a "very creative, low-budget kung-fu film about a secret agent and a Mexican wrestler looking for radioactive pearls and Big Foot."

"It's very funny," Cyzyk insists, as though that were necessary.

Previous MicroCineFests have been among the country's most anticipated underground festivals, attracting filmmakers from all over. This year's will be a much smaller affair, says Cyzyk, for several reasons.

For one, seating space at the G-Spot has been cut in half, thanks to some new exhibitions.

Furthermore, Cyzyk, who also works as programming manager for the Maryland Film Festival, needed to cut back on the time he devoted to reviewing the hundreds of submissions he'd receive for every MicroCineFest. "I wanted to work on my films, rather than spend my time looking at videotapes," he says.

MicroCineFest runs Nov. 19-21 at the G-Spot, 2980 Falls Road. Visit: www.microcinefest.org.

Send in the `Clowns'

Fear of Clowns, the second feature-length film from Anne Arundel County native Kevin Kangas, will have its world premiere Thursday at the Senator, 5904 York Road.

Shot entirely in Maryland, the movie follows artist Lynn Blodgett (Jacky Reres), who suffers from coulrophobia, or fear of clowns. Capitalizing on that dread, she makes a living painting horrific clown images, but the real fear starts when a killer dressed as one of her clowns starts stalking her.

The premiere is set for 8 p.m., preceded by a reception starting at 7. Tickets are $15, $20 at the door, and may be purchased by visiting the film's Web site: www.fearofclowns.net.

The Charles

This weekend at the Charles:

Primer, a sci-fi thriller from first-time writer-director Shane Carruth, is the Cinema Sundays at the Charles offering. The film starts at 10:35 a.m., preceded by free coffee and bagels. Tickets are $15. Call 410-727-FILM or visit www.cinemasundays.com.

Federico Fellini's masterful La Strada (1954), starring Anthony Quinn as a circus strongman and Giulietta Masina as the woman he loves and loses, will play at noon Saturday and 9 p.m. Thursday as part of the weekly revival series. Tickets are $5. Call 410-727-FILM.

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