A Visit to the B Movie Celebration – By Brian Morton

 Any time I travel, there’s always a little doubt in my mind as to whether or not I’m going to enjoy myself. Will the hotel be comfortable? Will the people be helpful? Will the venues be nice? These and a hundred other questions race through my head as I travel to any event…as I think they do most peoples. Well, those were all on my mind on the way to Franklin, Indiana for the B Movie Celebration, but, I have to tell you, once I arrived in the town, all my fears and doubts were dispelled!

When I first arrived in town, my first mission was to find venues and, of course, pick my tickets up at the will call and that’s where all my doubts left me. I walked into the Artcraft Theatre in downtown Franklin and was greeted by people who couldn’t have been more friendly or helpful! And it wasn’t as if they were happy that someone was spending money, it felt as if I was being welcomed into the Franklin family, it put me at ease from the very first! The gala party that night was fun, with entertainment, great food and great company. It’s always fun to hob nob with people like Lloyd Kaufman, Jim Wynorski, Tom Savini and John Huff, but the gala was set in the Johnson County Historic Museum, which is a beautiful facility but also a very nice venue for this type of event. Set in an upstairs room that appeared to be a theatre set up, the room was decorated with popcorn and film-strips and the food was amazing, but, even more amazing was the fun we all had. Introductions were made of all the festivals guests and fun and humor were provided by the events MC, Steve ‘Papaw’ Pyatte and Cinema Insomnia hosts, Mr. Lobo and the Queen Of Trash, all three larger than life characters! A quick word about Papaw, the B Movie Celebration couldn’t have chosen a nicer more cordial man to MC their event, Mr. Pyatte was never too busy to stop and speak to anyone at anytime, he even stopped in the street once, while driving his motorcycle from one event to another to ask if I was having a good time!

The venues for film screenings were great too, from the upstairs room of the Historic Museum to the excellent Artcraft theatre, the venues were comfortable and enjoyable. The Artcraft is a historic theatre that really reminds you of days gone by. Built in the 1920s and renovated in the 1940s, the Artcraft is currently undergoing another renovation, and it deserves it! The Artcraft is a classic theatre, inside and out the theatre reminded me of the theatres I attended in my youth, in fact, it reminded me of another small town theatre, the theatre in which I saw my first movie on my own, in another small town (Blackwell, Oklahoma), the Artcraft was a great theatre in a great town and it and it’s caretakers provided us all with an excellent experience!

Now, as for the movies I saw, there were a few, Cyxork 7, Cannibal Flesh Riot and Poultrygeist to name just a couple of them, but I’ll review them separately in this issue. Let’s just say, the only disappointment that I had was with the audio system for the showing of Cannibal Flesh Riot, and that was acknowledged and was being worked on, so I can’t blame the festival for equipment malfunctions. And that was the only problem I had with the whole festival! Franklin is a beautiful town with nice people and it was a great time for everyone.

I cornered Bill Dever, the festival’s director, to ask him how he thought the whole thing went:

BM – So, Bill, how was attendance at the event? Did it meet with expectations?

BD – The attendance was great..we exceeded our projections by 50%! The only problem was that there were 10 venues going at one time.

BM – Was there any problems that cropped up that you didn’t expect?

BD – We had a projectionist that stormed out after we refused to show his demo reel before PLAN 9, other that that no major catastrophes.

BM – I know it’s a bit early for this, but are there any plans for next years B Movie Celebration?

BD – Yes we will be going in September of 2008, so all you B movie fans out there, book now and book often!

BM – What, if anything, will you change for next years event?

BD – My shorts.

 BM – Well, I didn’t want to say anything, but, I think everyone in attendance next year will appreciate that! I have to say, it was one of the most enjoyable events I’ve attended. Everyone was friendly and the whole event seemed to be well planned and well executed. What were your impressions of the event and what do you think was the worst part of the weekend? BD – I thought it went well, we had so many positive comments…we will work very hard to maintain the relaxed atmosphere..The worst part was the marquee of the ARTCRAFT being changed..we wept.! BM – We all did, Bill, just a little. Any last messages for all of Rogue Cinema’s readers?

BD – Yes! Everybody let’s meet in Franklin in 2008 for the B Movie Celebration! Also join the Indy Film Co-Op…the nicest damned group of people you ever want to meet !

BM – Thanks, Bill, you and your group did a great job, I didn’t see anyone in town that wasn’t having the time of their B movie lives! I look forward to seeing you again next year!

BD – Brian, thanks for coming, and on a personal note to you, the hotel did get those stains out, so you won’t be charged after all.

The last thing I’ll say about the B Movie Celebration is that the people running it had a genuine love of the B (and independent) movie and it showed. From the lifetime achievement award presented to Lloyd Kaufman, to two world premiere movies to the discussions in and out of discussion forums, to the New B Visions mini-fest, the B Movie couldn’t be better represented or loved than it was in downtown Franklin from August 17th thru 19th! I was disappointed that more people didn’t show up. While the event was busy, I’m pretty sure that another event going on in downtown Indianapolis that I think might have drawn people away from the movies, and that’s a real shame. But, don’t think I was disappointed, the people who attended were there because they love the genre and these great movies, there was no one there who wasn’t having fun and I didn’t meet one person who wasn’t helpful or friendly, if there’s a better place to live, I’d be hard pressed to think of it. Franklin was fun and the B Movie Celebration was great, here’s hoping that next year, more people come to their senses and meet us all there again to celebrate the B movie and to just have fun, kick back, watch a few great movies with a few great people and just enjoy the weekend!