Andy Schanie is the organizer of the Last Call Film Festival, a yearly showing of independent shorts and features housed at The Rudyard Kipling in Old Louisville. I spent some time at his house going through the movies that made the cut this year. As always, I was amazed by the breadth and quality of the films. Most of them were absolutely hilarious. A couple of them were heart-wrenching. More than one is just bizarre.
It’s easy to be blown away that Schanie finds such good movies on such a limited budget. That is, until he shows you the massive reject pile. Unlike most festival organizers, he actually watches every unsolicited film he receives throughout the year. For every movie that he’ll show, there are dozens that, for one reason or another, just don’t fit. Although Schanie would never admit it, it’s obviously not a glamorous job. But to find the diamonds in the rough, you have to go digging.
The main event this year is an appearance by Kevin Murphy, who was the voice of Tom Servo on the dearly departed show “Mystery Science Theater 3000.” For those of you who never caught the show on Comedy Central, it featured a guy and a few puppets mocking B-movies. Invariably, the show was funnier than the films themselves.
“I remember laughing harder at that show than anything else I’d seen on television,” Schanie says. “I love the idea of taking something bad and making it funny and entertaining.”
Also showing is a documentary on the punk band the Gits. Led by Louisville native Mia Zapata, they were one of the most electrifying bands of their day, and their influence on other female-led bands is undeniable. Sadly, Zapata was murdered in 1993. The film chronicles the formation and ascendance of the band, as well as the crushing effect of Zapata’s death.
Other films include “Survival of the Wildebeest,” a stream-of-consciousness documentary on New York artist Stuart Ross, and a series of shorts by Lasse Gjertsen, an idiosyncratic Norwegian short-film auteur. A full schedule can be found at www.lastcallmovies.com/schedule.htm.
One should also note that alcohol and the Last Call Film Festival are inextricably linked. Beyond bringing over friends to drink and watch movie submissions, Schanie hosts the festival at a bar. The whole thing feels more like a house party than a film festival.
“I think there is enough going on at my event to keep people interested in something at all times. And you’re encouraged to interact with people, talk about the movie you just saw, talk to the people who worked on the movie you just saw,” Schanie explains. “My audience isn’t stagnant just waiting to the movie to end.”
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Last Call Film Festival
The Rudyard Kipling
422 W. Oak St.
$5; 6 p.m.