The Indy Film Fest runs July 19-29, and a former IM staffer and current volunteer movie screener has the goods here:
DO ... Have an open mind.
There are about 110 movies this year. Each has a fairly specific description on the festival’s website. Try to see something a little outside of what you normally look for at a multiplex (or art house, for that matter). If you’re not sure where to start, check out the shorts programs—my personal favorite part of the festival. (I’ve already seen three of them.)
DON’T ... Be too specific in what you want to see.
Think of it like going to an antiques market or thrift store. Stay with me on this: If you go in looking for something too specific—a certain actor, genre, topic, theme, country—you might not find it. Or you might. But if you’re too specific, you might miss the film equivalent of a red cowboy shirt or cool 1950s lamp. And that would be a shame.
DO ... Plan ahead.
With three theaters at two different addresses, all with films that you’ll want to see (I hop from one venue to another), take a few minutes to look at the schedule. Before you go. Unfortunately, the IMA isn’t open all night during the week so you can’t just check out exhibits while waiting for a show to start—unless it’s a weekend show, or a Thursday or Friday night.
DON’T ... Be late.
Film fest movies do not have the 15 to 20 minutes of previews that we’re all accustomed to. Instead, a festival organizer or other volunteer gives a personal introduction, a couple brief (and entertaining) advertisements are made for festival sponsors, and that’s it. Ideally, you’ll want to be seated at least five to 10 minutes before the show’s starting time.
DO ... Check out the food and drink available at both venues.
Nourish Café at the IMA and the vegetarian and vegan friendly menu at Earth House are not to be missed. At the IMA, you can also get a Sun King brew or a treat from Just Pop In! popcorn.
DON’T ... Be a stranger.
While many of us who enjoy film can be on the introverted side of the personality spectrum—we like movies because we can be quiet and just sit for a couple hours—the film festival is a great place to meet others who care about film. Volunteers are happy to give their suggestions for movies and answer questions. And if you see someone with an all-access pass, chances are he or she also has a few opinions of movies already seen.
DO ... Pay attention to updates from the film festival.
Facebook, Twitter, the festival’s website, and even its daily email are invaluable sources of information. It’s where I learned about a number of special guests who will be on hand, and when. The festival organizers are also good about replying to tweets and Facebook wall posts if you have any specific questions.
DON’T ... Miss this festival.
Whether you visit after a long day of work for a weekday evening screening, or spend an entire Saturday or Sunday at the festival, chances are there is something here for you. Just follow these simple tips, and enjoy.
>> BONUS: See Rebecca Berfanger's Q&A with the festival's managing director, Lisa Trifone, here.
Poster image courtesy Indy Film Fest