Fabulous Festival of Fringe Film 2011

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Schedule 2011Tickets and DirectionsFabulous Festival of Fringe Film HomeOpening ReceptionUpstageRedeeming CinemaBerlin: Symphony of a Great CityDaniel Eric MetzgarMagic Object LessonsAugenmusikMarkLandsacpes/CyberspaceEmailFab Film Archives

 

 

by Myke Dyer
Historically the Fabulous Festival of Fringe Film has screened documentaries chosen from a wide range of themes, ideas and styles. We have programmed docs based on topics (the compulsive/obsessive struggle; insomnia), on individual filmmakers (Peter Mettler), on areas of conflict and war (Iraq in Fragments) and on political pranksters (The Yes Men Fix the World). There is something about this small, rural festival that brings out enthusiastic and engaged crowds to the documentary programs. These films present ideas that promote dialogue and opposing views. Long after the films have finished, the conversation continues amongst the moviegoers, especially when the filmmaker is present.

Documentaries have reached a new threshold in popularity and recognition for many reasons. One is the advent of new technologies that allow filmmakers to enter in to areas discreetly. High-end HD camcorders and audio equipment can be used in areas where photography is forbidden. Filmmaking has become a truly democratic process; cameras and editing are put in to the hands of many.

Boar Attack
Richard Ogust (Eric Daniel Metzgar)

In a rural environment viewers become activists urged on by documentaries that urge social change. We program films that contemplate the upward battles of the individual; the David vs. Goliath stories; intimate and personal stories about political or personal upheaval and films that become a call to arms. The last year brought us a slew of docs that explore unanswered questions (unanswered by mainstream media or media with a specific corporate agenda) about the global economic meltdown in the U.S. Audiences seek a more genuine voice on any given topic. It may not be a voice the viewer agrees with, but the documentary can energise and enthuse an audience rarely exposed to independent documentary films.

This year the festival is pleased to present two films by a young and talented documentary filmmaker, New York based Eric Daniel Metzgar. Metzgar’s first film The Chances of the World Changing was screened at HotDocs (a documentary film festival held in Toronto) a few years ago to critical acclaim. Like any good documentary film it had all the ingredients of a great story: an engaging topic, an interesting character and more questions then answers. The subject of the film was struggling to save not only his own life but also the lives of hundreds, causing the audience to dwell on time, morality and the future.

Two years later Metzgar was back at HotDocs with Life. Support. Music., another film of individual struggle that makes you consider what makes life worth living. A man suffers a brain hemorrhage. His family and friends, unwavering in their faith and strength, tend to the victim. They pull him out of the hospital and in view of a grim future they determine that this son/father/husband will make a full recovery.

Eric Daniel Metzgar comes from the DIY ethic (he produces, directs, shoots and edits his films). Metzgar’s documentaries are both cinematic and informative, offering a personal and sometimes meditative experience of his subjects. Both films in this program take inspiration in the unlikeliest of places and provide masterful storytelling.

 

Chances
Saturday, July 30, 2:00pm
Rowan Moon Bistro

The story in the national press went like this: A decade earlier, a writer eating in a Chinese restaurant in Manhattan spotted a diamondback terrapin turtle in a tank, about to be chopped up for soup. The horrified writer, Richard Ogust, stopped the execution, bought the turtle for 20 bucks and installed her in a tank at home, naming her “The Empress.”
And that started Ogust on a quest to save the world’s endangered turtles, to which he devoted ever more of his time and resources. When the national and international media found him, Ogust was portrayed as a somewhat eccentric figure sharing a Manhattan penthouse with 1,200 turtles, including several species extinct in the wild.

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Life.
Sunday, July 31, 2:00pm
Rowan Moon Bistro

In August 2004, Jason Crigler, one of New York City’s most sought-after guitarists, suffered a brain hemorrhage during a concert in Manhattan. That night at the hospital, the doctors told Jason’s family - “if he makes it through the night, there won’t be much left of him.” Jason’s wife, Monica, pregnant at the time, froze. “Everything completely stopped. I forgot all about the pregnancy. I think I left my body. I remember thinking, ‘This cannot be true. I cannot go on without Jason.’”
Days passed, and Jason’s family was forced to accept the new dark reality at hand. In the face of wrenching despair and horrifying odds, the Criglers made a resolution - Jason will make a full recovery. And thus began the long, grueling, implausible and mystifying journey chronicled in Life. Support. Music.

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