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The Fourth Annual Trenton Film Festival

May 19th, 2007 (01:16 pm)

current mood: disappointed

So at the beginning of the month I went to this year's Trenton Film Festival...

© 2007 D. Gordon

As events go, this year's film festival was a pretty subdued affair.

The festival itself is funded in part by the State of New Jersey, which is currently undergoing severe budget contortions. Understandable reason why there was no food tent or new t-shirts or posters, and why the festival itself was slimmed down from a weekend event to 1-1/2 days. Budget cuts will do that, and until there's some balance between taxes and spending restored among the citizenry (and they stop expecting services without paying for them1), these things are going to happen. But it was still a little disturbing to sit in an almost empty theater, where the volunteers came to almost a third of the audience.

But the general downscaling / malaise seemed to have spread to the film selection itself. Admittedly I only went to the narrative and foreign shorts screening, so missed Opening Night's The Prisoner: Or How I Planned To Kill Tony Blair (which sounded really interesting) and the 2007 OscarTM-nominated animated shorts, but what I did see lacked the spark of prior years. No Cigar, about a smart-mouthed kid, just wasn't funny. The director of Almost Forgotten was the only talent in attendance, and his side hobby might have been personally fulfilling, but just didn't quite add up to a good movie. (I really missed the Jordanian director of Allo, Allo?, who anchored a really interesting Q & A last year.) Monsters in Autumn, a mockumentary in interview format featuring an aged Frankenstein, Dracula, and The Wolfman ruminating about their lives and friendship actually was the one standout which showed some promise. But the rest were a half-tone off.

Hopefully this year served its purpose in retrenching the film festival. I'm definitely hopeful that, barring any more great budget crises, the Festival will be back bigger and better next year.


1 Sorry, I digress *grrrr*.