Well, the 2015 Indy Film Fest is behind us. This was the first year I had the opportunity to experience more than just the opening night film and festivities. I must say, this was a spectacular year for a first time festivalgoer and I’m already looking forward to next year. Of course, you can read all of my Indy Film Fest coverage here. For now, here’s how Saturday’s closing night festivities went.
Closing Night and the After Party
My podcast cohost and Obsessive Viewer contributor Tiny accompanied me to closing night of Indy Film Fest. He actually got there early and saved our seats while I ran late. Fortunately I made it to The Toby in time to catch President of the Indy Film Fest board Jason Roemer thank the audience, sponsors, and volunteers for helping them put on a successful festival. He called up a few interns to the stage and gave them totes with appreciative gifts.
And with that, the screening of Wildlike began. It was a very strong film to end the festival on, with terrific performances from Ella Purnell and Bruce Greenwood. You can read my review of Wildlike here.
Following the screening, everyone congregated in the lobby outside The Toby before heading to the after party. While I waited for Tiny to return from the restroom, I ran into Robin, the festivalgoer whom I met at the opening night after party. We exchanged stories about our favorite films that we saw and then introduced each other to our friends once they met back up with us.
Outside of The Toby Theater there were several volunteers of the Festival in blue shirts directing everyone to the after party. The weather was fair enough so that the party could be held outside in the IMA‘s garden area. There was a DJ playing music, food catered once again by Duos and a bar with soda, water, beer, and wine. Like with the opening night after party, everyone received a ticket for a free drink.
As we stood eating and drinking, Tiny and I talked to Robin and her friend Chris about the festival and further compared notes. Our small group was a microcosm of the rest of party as everyone chatted amongst each other about film, the festival, and Indianapolis. It was a fantastic experience and only strengthened my goal to experience the festival in full next year.
Closing Thoughts on Indy Film Fest 2015
Despite being a self-proclaimed “Obsessive Viewer” (© Matt Hurt and ObsessiveViewer.com, by the way) this was my first time experiencing a film festival atmosphere. I’ve gone to midnight screenings, special event screenings, and the like, but I’ve never dove into a full-on festival experience. Even though I comparatively only experienced a piece of the festival, I was extremely impressed and wrapped up in the experience.
Aside from the overall atmosphere of the festival, one thing that greatly impressed me was simply how easy it was to get tickets and get into the screenings. Indy Film Fest had a box office set up at the front of the IMA where you could buy tickets, ask questions or grab a program. However, they also had online ticket sales through Eventbrite.com. Last Thursday I was on the fence about going to the Hoosier Reels screening. At the last minute, I decided to go and loaded up Eventbrite. I bought my ticket, downloaded the PDF ticket that was attached to the confirmation email, and headed to the IMA. This was my experience every time and it was absolutely wonderful. When I was running late to Closing Night, I took a screenshot of the tickets I bought for Tiny and myself and sent it to Tiny so he could get our seats. The entire process could not have been smoother.
I’ve spent the last week writing feverishly about Indy Film Fest here on ObsessiveViewer.com. Now that it’s come to an end, here is a rundown of what I saw at the festival (links take you to the reviews):
- Opening Night Film: Sleeping With Other People (2015) – 8.0/10 (Buy it Full Price)
- Film Screening: Chrysalis (2014) – 5.5/10 (Worth a Trip to Red Box)
- Awards Night Film: Mistress America (2015) – 7.0/10 (Bargain Buy)
- Shorts Program Screening: Hoosier Reels – Average – 6.5/10
- Best American Spectrum Short Film: The Answers (2015) – 9.0/10
- Best American Spectrum Feature Film: Night Owls (2015) – 7.5/10 (Bargain Buy)
- Closing Night Film: Wildlike (2014) – 7.0/10 (Bargain Buy)
Of course, given my work schedule and lack of preparedness for this year’s festival, I honestly don’t think I fared that badly. I was able to watch 5 feature films in 10 days, plus a block of 6 short films and 1 “best of the fest” short film. Of course, there was a lot more to the festival than what I experienced. Below it a list of films that piqued my interest but I was unable to see. This list is more a bookmark for me than anything. But here it is nonetheless:
- Tangerine (2015)
- Somewhere in the Middle (2015)
- Forever Into Space (2015)
- Love Me Anyway (2014)
- Unexpected (2015)
- Blood, Sweat, and Beer (2015)
- One Day in April (2015)
- For Grace (2015)
Hopefully I’ll have the opportunity to circle back and watch these movies. In any case, my goal is to have a much shorter list in my write-up of next year’s Indy Film Fest.
Late last year I read the book Film Critic by Laremy Legel and reviewed it on ObsessiveBookNerd.com. There’s a point in the book where Legel talks about covering the Sundance Film Festival and how it’s a slog and overall draining experience. Obviously going to certain Indy Film Fest screenings at my leisure, writing reviews with only a self-imposed deadline, and posting them on my personal website is a wildly different experience. However, I will say that when I read that section of Film Critic, it was disheartening. I write about movies and TV in my free time because it interests me and I want to share my interests.
Having said that, I love that Indy Film Fest is here and gave me the opportunity to challenge myself into expanding this hobby of mine a little further into a faux professional realm while also allowing me to see movies that I otherwise may never have seen. It was a fantastic first film fest experience and, again, I really can’t wait to do it again.
Of course, Indy Film Fest has a variety of Year-Round Events as well! You can find all of their year-round events at http://indyfilmfest.org/events/. I’m really looking forward to experiencing them as I wait patiently for next year’s festival.