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Entries in shnit CINEMAS (6)

Monday
Nov202017

What the Best Short Films in the World Can Teach Us about Building Community

Locals attend the closing night screening of the 2017 shnit International Short Film Festival in PhiladelphiaEvery time I host the shnit International Short Film Festival in Philadelphia, something amazing happens. Strangers from different parts of the city start talking to each other, dissecting their favorite selections from a lineup of (mostly) foreign films. During these discussions, audience members learn that they share similar viewpoints on certain films and in circumstances where people disagree, they still show consideration for perspectives unlike their own.

There always seems to be a film that stands out like a sore thumb, for better or worse. In 2015, it was Beauty, an Italian film exploring the cycle of life through classical paintings. Attendees collectively deemed this animated short “inappropriate" because of its nudity and related graphic imagery. In 2016, men and women in the audience realized that the one thing they had in common was their struggle in figuring out the meaning behind Drôle d'oiseau (Strange Bird) -- a Belgian film that tells the story of a man with Bipolar disorder.

So many different interpretations of Strange Bird led to an interesting debate about what really went down in that film. It’s a level of audience engagement that you won’t find on a typical day at your local movie theater. This year, the Austrian flick Oxytocin and Colombian drama Madre sparked the most audience discussion, particularly revolving around motherhood. Why such an of pairing of films would elicit similar responses still baffles my mind; Oxytocin is about a woman who lives with a lifelike doll whereas Madre tells the story of a 16 year-old girl who attends a casting call for an adult pornographic movie.

L'odeur après la pluie (The Smell after the Rain)Screening shnit has also become a learning experience for me, having realized over the years that there is no way to predict what someone else will enjoy watching. Moonkup, a French comedy fared better than I expected; audience members were into the story, despite the film being about women giving menstrual blood to maintain peace between vampires and humans.

 Die Badewanne (The Bathtub), a German comedy about three brothers trying to recreate a childhood photo, was hit-or-miss and I thought it would be well received. Then there is L'odeur après la pluie (The Smell after the Rain), a slow paced, uneventful Canadian film that I was sure would put people to sleep. This love story, about a widow and her old cowboy flame, turned out to be among the audience favorites.

It seems a program of foreign films can have a larger impact than one originally anticipated as well. I set out to bring communities together through the shared love of watching movies while helping filmmakers gain an audience for their work. During the festival, people from various walks of life ended up exploring parts of Philadelphia and its inhabitants in ways that they may not otherwise have the opportunity or interest to do so.

Suzi Nash and David Gana at Opening Night for the 2017 shnit International Short Film Festival in PhiladelphiaSome attendees this year were not familiar with the revitalization of the Bok building in South Philly nor Taller Puertorriqueño's newly constructed El Corazón Cultural Center in North Philly where I hosted the shnit Opening and Closing night screenings, respectively. A few fashion and accessories aficionados who attended the show at Bok expressed interest in shopping for wares at the upcoming Small Business Saturday event in the building.

A few women at the closing night screening inquired about art programs at Taller Puertorriqueño and renting the space for a private party. These experiences have taught me that the best thing about shnit goes far beyond providing locals with access to award-winning short films from around the world. It offers the ability to spark meaningful connections between ourselves and the places in which we live, work and socialize. Audience members weren't on their phones at these screenings in Philadelphia. They were completely engrossed in the stories, people and places playing out on the screen in front of them.

This year I met women who do not normally go to film festivals and also young men who do not watch foreign films. At the end of each screening, however, everyone could name a film they favored most. That goes to show how we may not speak the same language but we have the ability to understand and even relate to a vast spectrum of human emotions, experiences and behavior. As I gear up to expand the shnit experience on the east coast, I hope these mini movies can continue to become a springboard for building community amidst a diverse cultural landscape.


 

Thursday
Oct132016

TallerPR’s Carlos Pardo Discusses shnit Film Festival Picks, Philly After-School Programs and Traveling the World

Made in Spain, the shnit International Short Film Festival selection 'El Corredor' (The Runner) is about a man whose first day jogging leads to crossing paths with one of the 300 workers he fired from his company five years ago. It won Best Short Film at the Goya Awards 2016.Which country made the best movies this year? As a presenter for the 2016 shnit International Short Film Festival, I’m excited to enable a community of world cinema lovers in Philadelphia to come together and have a voice in deciding the answer to that question. Sharing in this awesome communal experience of watching films together is Carlos Pardo, a local photographer and teacher.

He is the cultural enrichment and education facility manager at Taller Puertorriqueño, a non-profit organization that works to elevate and preserve Latino culture through events such as art-education programs, socially conscious art exhibitions and book readings. Pardo, who has traveled to Colombis, Mexico, Veneuela, Chile and the Caribbean, recently welcomed the opportunity to discuss his transnational experiences and most anticipated films in the shnit CINEMAS lineup for Philly.

Here is my full Q&A with the newlywed artist who also wants to go to Europe, France, Italy, India, Thailand and Japan.

Carlo Pardo at Taller PuertorriqueñoMadlab Post: What kind of adventures or challenges did you experience while traveling abroad?

Carlos Pardo: Probably not having currency or a way to get around.

MP: How many languages do you speak?

CP: Spanish and English. I would like to learn French.

MP: Is film a universal language?

CP: [Film] is a visual art and like all art most people are able to understand it, even if you don’t like it.

MP: Which film in the shnit Cinemas lineup for Philly interests you the most?

CP: ОЧЕНЬ ОДИНОКИЙ ПЕТУХ (Very Lonely Cock), El Corredor (The Runner) and Bon Voyage.

The shnit International Short Film Festival selection 'Bon Voyage' is about Swiss sailors who encounter a sinking refugee boat while on their holiday cruise.Very Lonely Cock because when you use drawing to say what you want to say, most of the time you can say it in a different way; El Corridor, because it is part of life and I’m interested in seeing what happens; and the Bon Voyage one because of the way the world is….we wish we could help everyone but when we get to see the world for what it is right now, it’s harder to give up your freedom for someone else.

MP: Can you describe one of your favorite foreign movies?

CP: British probably, very romantic and inventive.

MP:  What is one of your favorite foods from another country or culture?

CP: Pupusas from El Salvador, or Pho, Vietnamese.

MP: What is special about Taller Puertorriqueño's after-school program?

CP: We have a great dancing group and some pretty good film makers.

Taller Puertorriqueño's new building, the El Corazón Cultural Center, is slated to open December 2016.MP: Can you share any upcoming activities that Taller Puertorriqueño has in store for locals and travelers visiting Philadelphia in 2016?

CP: A Thanksgiving for the community and the grand opening of our new building on December.

Join me in expressing thanks to Carlos Pardo for discussing the, food and culture with me!

Seats are limited for the exclusive, one-time screening of the 2016 shnit International Short Film Festival selection at 3PM this weekend (Saturday, October 15th) in Philadelphia, PA.

Men and women in the City of Brotherly Love can now GET TICKETS to see some of the world’s best films!

Sunday
Oct092016

German Food Truck The Flying Deutschman Shares Rolling Movie Theater Plans for Philly and shnit Film Festival Picks 

Made in Switzerland, the shnit International short Film Festival selection BON VOYAGE is about a couple on a holiday cruise and their encounter with a sinking refugee boat.Did you know the 14th Annual shnit International Short Film Festival is the largest of its kind, taking place simultaneously in multiple cities across five continents? On Saturday October 15, Philadelphia is joining this global community of movie buffs who are coming together to share the excitement of world cinema.

Head chef Stirling Sowerby at The Flying Deutschman, a German food truck calling on your vote to become a finalist in the 2016 Brassys (Square’s Small Business Awards celebrating the boldest businesses in America) recently took a moment with me to discuss his transnational encounters and most anticipated films in the shnit CINEMAS lineup for Philly.

During our Q&A it quickly became clear that Sowerby’s extensive travels demonstrate the shnit International Short Film Festival’s mission of embracing diversity and exchange between creators and audiences from different cultures and backgrounds. “I have been in England, Germany, France, Austria, Switzerland, Holland, Belgium, France, Spain, Turkey, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Bahamas (that's where I met my wife); I traveled almost all states up and down the east coast and some of the central states; Mexico, I think that's it” he says. 

The Flying Deutschman and his main crew are in the running to become one of 35 finalists in the next round of the Brassys, in the food and drink category.Honored as a local Vendys finalist, The Flying Deutschman shared that he would also love to hike up to Machu Picchu in Peru, Tibet, and “experience the equator somewhere in Africa.” As a presenter for one of the few shnit Film Festival screenings in the United States, I not only have the pleasure of bringing epic films to the city, but also making it possible for Philly to have a voice in picking the winner of the shnit CINEMAS Audience Award.

Here is a further sneak peek into the films you can expect to see at this year’s show, some of the innovations that illustrate why you should tell everyone you know to vote for The Flying Deutschman in the Brassys, and more from the chef who has successfully carved out a space for himself in the culinary arts world.

Madlab Post: What kind of adventures did you experience during your time abroad?

The Flying Deutschman: There are many, how about when I was in the Bahamas where I met my wife.  It was me and 3 friends of which one of them was a pilot.  So we had this rental plane and planned to fly from Miami to Nassau; the problem was that with 4 of us and the luggage we were too heavy. So Frank, the pilot, flew me and the luggage over to Nassau with the mission to find a hotel for us while he would fly back and pick up the other 2. This was in 1989, so contacting people was still a little more complicated and as hours passed and no one showed up at the airport I got nervous and asked someone about my friend; he had left Miami but had not landed yet.

So they look into it and tell me that they had no idea where he was and that he had declared an emergency 20 minutes into the flight; that's all they had. Let's just say now I was really nervous -- all kind of scenarios went through my head. It took until 10pm that night ‘til Frank finally got a hold of me through the number I had left at the Airport and he told me that he had a Generator problem and returned back to Miami to get it fixed. Somehow the tower in Miami forgot to log that and that's what caused all that confusion. So those were some hell-raising hours thinking I had lost 3 of my friends.

MP: Is film a universal language?

TFD: Pictures speak a thousand words. I think that says it all.

MP: How many languages do you speak?

TFD: I speak German and English. I would like to become better at Spanish.

Made in Germany and Austria, the shnit International Short Film Festival selection DIE BADEWANNE (The Bathtub) is about three brothers trying to re-enact a childhood photo to prepare an original present for their mother.MP: Which film in the shnit Cinemas lineup for Philly interests you the most?

TFD: Die Badewanne (The Bathtub), for obvious reasons, but also the Swiss one – Bon Voyage,  I think the subject matter is very timely and deals with the biggest problem The European Union has faced in a long time, far greater than anything they have seen since WW2.

MP:  What is one of your favorite foods from another country or culture?

TFD: Thai by far; the food is clear, fresh, crisp, light and healthy.

MP: Can you describe one of your favorite foreign movies?

TFD: I know I saw many movies with subtitles, but I just can't recall them anymore. I keep thinking of Metropolis by Fritz Lang but to me that's not really foreign.

MP: What inspired you to want to add giant LED screens to The Flying Deutschman and what kind of movies are you planning to show on your food truck?

TFD: Turning the truck into a rolling Movie Theater is another way to create revenue. I am open minded as far as movie selection goes. I would start with old music movies….Stop Making Sense by Talking Heads,  Live in Pompeii by Pink Floyd,  She's the Boss by Mike Jagger, Help by the Beatles, Tommy by The Who, Breaking Glass by Hazel O'Connor. 

I would surely be on board for showing movies from independent filmmakers; it's publicity, so hell yeah. I am open minded regarding genres. The whole thing is new and I have to see what will and will not work. 

Thanks a bunch to The Flying Deutschman for discussing shnit short films, food and culture with me! Cinema fans can GET TICKETS to see some of the world’s best films.

The Flying Deutschman menu. Jaeger Schnitzel with Dumplings and Red Cabbage Foodie fans in South Philly can find The Flying Deutschman at The Navy Yard this month:

  • Tuesday October 18th 11am – 2pm
  • Thursday October 27th 11am – 2pm

*The Flying Deutschman might also run a solo down at Clark Park on short notice. Get updates on the truck's Facebook page.

Which country do YOU think produces the best films?

What is YOUR favorite food from another country or culture?

Did YOU vote for The Flying Deutschman yet?