Friday, August 3, 2018

LOL JAX Film Festival: Irony or Not?

I'm not totally sure whether or not there's a legitimate film scene in Jacksonville. I tried to find a meetup group, but that didn't work out (not that it worked out much better for me in Milwaukee). I suppose there's probably a film school at UNF with the purpose being to move somewhere else to produce the movies. And we undoubtedly have artsy-fartsy folks, willing to attend sketchy film festivals in the hopes they can be there at the genesis of the next Steven Spielberg or even Michael Bay. Like how I saw Modest Mouse and The National as openers for REM back in 2008. So I can go see a dozen local short films done by local filmmakers, and check out local comedians, along with the chance of being there for something really special. Sounds good, right? Let's do some recon first.



The fact that there's no dedicated website means it's not huge. That's not a deal breaker, but it does give me pause, especially if I want to drag my wife along. In fact, the "official" website listed in the ad doesn't even appear on the first page of Google, even though a Facebook page does pop up first. That's the kind of initial marketing impression I'd expect from a college frat house film festival. And I'm not saying this as a criticism because I'd attend a film festival at a frat house. But I'd rather attend one at a theater or a college campus. Sadly, the theater website that's given in the EU Jacksonville ad has no mention of a film festival happening there on August 4th and 5th of 2018.

Eventually, I gave in and clicked on the Facebook link, which seemed to list an Instagram page as the official page. Note to everyone: get a website. I see that jaxfilmfestival and jacksonvillefilmfestival are both taken by the same seemingly defunct film festival, so I understand the frustration. Or I'm not a good judge of defunct in Jacksonville.

Honestly, the Facebook and Instagram pages made me say, "Hey, these look like decent amateur local film folks." And by decent, I mean fully clothed. I am sure the local amateur film scene is similar in most cities in America. It's not like we're living in Paris or Los Angeles. It's  probably healthy for local filmmakers to practice making movies before we see the results in local lawyer or auto dealer ads.

I guess I can get to the tickets from a link on the Facebook page. If only a small number of folks attend, maybe it has something to do with it not being on the theater's calendar and tickets being available on a fourth website, only linked to from the Facebook page. It was like a treasure hunt, and that's cool if it was thematically intended.

As a website builder, I might harp on this kind of fail too much, but I think a lot of local events would be a destination for me if I knew about them. Or wanted to attend once I read about them. Or thought my wife wouldn't just LOL like the last time I took her to a film festival.

To be honest, the promo video looks like a dozen student films made it to the next level. To be fair, I can dig student projects as well as most Netflix original movies made in Eastern Europe. But I get Netflix in my house using my mom's account when I have a desire to watch a bad movie. And I know from experience that these movies could be very, very difficult to watch.

Basically, I'll write about it if I show up for the LOLJAX, but I don't think it'll be happening. Maybe next year if I see a little more sample material or even descriptions (on a real website), then I can safely decide to attend for $11.