Why move a festival that was thriving in July to a new month? To get a better selection of films. The IFF scheduled this year’s opening for April to take advantage of the spring art-house festival circuit. “Now we can get our hands on movies that come out at Sundance or South by Southwest,” says board director Craig Mince, “before they’re released theatrically in summer.”
While many people associate the IFF with art flicks from around the world, the festival also screens Indiana-made productions that grow in number every year. You can thank the event’s organizers, who stoically sat through 600-some submissions before winnowing them down to the handful presented this month. “We had enough locally made films for an entire block of shorts, plus five or six features,” Mince says.
Don’t expect a lot of sports-related Indiana films, though. Mince doesn’t know why, but lately, there has been a dearth of them. Instead, romantic comedies, suspense films, and buddy movies dominate the submissions—perhaps because those are comparatively cheaper to produce. No team uniforms, stadium/arena rentals, or crowd shots.
Short films, on the other hand, have taken off. Why bother making those when multi-show Saturday matinees are no longer a thing? Because a short that gets a good reception can become a full-length movie. “A lot of feature films began as shorts and got fleshed out later,” Mince says. “Napoleon Dynamite started that way.”
As it has the last few years, Newfields will host most films in The Toby. But the DeBoest Lecture Hall there also will screen movies, and it has an upgraded sound system for the occasion.
Most individual tickets cost $10, but the IFF now offers cheaper packs of 10 and IMA member discounts. Opening and closing night and award-night screenings are a bit more, but those include an after-party. And you really could use a night away from Netflix.
For more information, visit indyfilmfest.org.