CCFF is a mix of independent films, live touring bands and engaging audiences showcased in Michigan’s capital city. We celebrate artists from around the world who share their craft while promoting and building on the cultural assets of our diverse locale.
The 4th annual Capital City Film Festival is April 10-13, 2014. We’re stoked to get planning… but first, we need your films. Call for entries is now open.
This year’s 1st place winner of the Fortnight Film Contest was Strike to Burn Productions’ Untitled. Check it out here. They submitted the film without credits for judging in order to meet the 10-minute maximum. Props to them for undertaking this ambitious of a production, especially given the inherent advantage that comedies often have in the short contest format. This year’s top 3 consisted of a drama, a comedy, and a musical!
The 2nd place winners were the 2012 champs. They nearly defended their title too - the difference between 1st and 2nd place was only .4 of a point (out of 21 judges no less)! Without further ado, please enjoy Bropocalypse Now.
Join us on Thursday, April 25 for a FREE encore of Holy Motors: 7:00pm at the Lansing Public Media Center. Free popcorn, comfy seats and a BIG screen for this visually stunning film. Open to anyone, bring buddies!
Our most sincere thanks to everyone who came to the 3rd annual Capital City Film Festival this past weekend! The festival takes the hard work and support of sponsors, filmmakers, musicians, volunteers, staff and attendees. You all rock.
Here’s the list of the top 15 Fortnight Film Contest entries! Don’t miss this screening on Sunday, April 14th at the Lansing Public Media Center at 11am. It’s a lot of fun, and we’ll be giving away $5000 in cash prizes! These films are in alphabetical order, and this is not the order they will be screened in on Sunday. Any of the films could win!
23 Skidoo Alcohell ANNA Bropocalypse Now Collision Cow Man: Uprising Cubed Dream Bigger Flowers, Songs, and Love Gone Wrong The Hitman New Day String Theory Time Machine Untitled X
I still play the first Tortured Soul record I bought; “How’s Your Life?” on Central Park Recordings, which I got from Flat, Black & Circular in 2002.
A few years later, I saw them play the main stage at DEMF/Movement on a rainy Sunday evening. Despite the terrible weather, they put on an amazing show. I definitely wasn’t alone in thinking that either, because hundreds of festival-goers in rain coats piled to the front of the stage and danced through the 45-minute set.
I’ve since seen Tortured Soul perform a couple more times and as a DJ, I keep up with their releases including their latest single which just came out early this year. While the recordings are good, their live performance is on a different level. These guys create a soul-pop-house dance music set you’d normally associate with a DJ blending records, but they do it live.
To international success, too. Tortured Soul has been incredibly busy on the road since 2002, playing pretty much every major city in nearly every continent on the planet. Chicago is typically as close to Michigan’s capital city as they come, which is why I’m so excited to have them as part of this year’s festival.
I’m especially excited that we’re able to make the closing night party a free show! I feel that as a cultural event in a city like Lansing, it’s part of our responsibility to bring people something different and make it accessible.
Still not convinced? Check out this video from the Java Jazz Festival in Jakarta.
When sifting through hundreds of submissions, you watch so many films that you start to notice patterns. What was this year’s pattern? MAGIC.
We received 3 magic-related submissions this year, all of which were amazing. We even made one of them our opening night film!
Magic Camp is a delightful documentary from director Judd Ehrlich about a magic-centric summer camp for kids. It follows a few different campers ranging from 10 to 18 years old while they hone their craft as they’re mentored by counselor magicians. Perhaps the most striking thing about the film is the diversity of the campers. There are many reasons why people are interested in magic. While the kids may not be friends back home, magic is the common denominator at this camp. The film explores the intense practice and work involved in a magic performance and the impressive dedication of the young campers.
Next up, we have the short film Beyond Belief from a student filmmaker, William Stribling. It’s about a down-in-the-dumps magician trying to pull his life back together. It features strong performances and fantastic cinematography.
Finally, there’s Play Dead from Teller (of Penn & Teller) and magician Todd Robbins. A feature-length performance film of a stage play that exists somewhere between a magic show and a one-man show. Running with the themes of death and serial killers, this not-for-children performance is clever and very inventive. When you have a “magic” show where what the performer is saying is even more interesting than what he is doing, you’ve got something pretty incredible that you’ve likely never seen before.
One of the experimental films we’re screening this year is “Consuming Spirits”, an animated feature by Chris Sullivan. You can watch the trailer here.
Read on for a New York Times review of what you can expect. This incredible, complex, dark yet wondrous film took 15 years to complete! It likely won’t be showing elsewhere in Michigan anytime soon, so don’t miss it at CCFF.
Last week we did a walk-through of the Temple Club in Old Town Lansing. We’re excited to use this beautiful building again! Anyone who sees a film there on Saturday, April 13 can tour lofts for free during Taste & Tour of Old Town, and anyone with a Taste & Tour wristband gets in free to a CCFF film that day. Sounds like a win-win sitch to us.
I love to be by the ocean. I love the breeze forever accompanying its presence, and the looming adventure in its distance. Staring at its vastness, I am made aware of the true scale of humanity, of our sameness and singularity all at the same time. I only get this feeling in one other place: watching a great film, on a giant screen in a dark room … in the silence of appreciation.
As part of the Capital City Film Festival selection committee, I have yet to experience the films in the way I describe above. I will tell you, however, that I have cried, laughed, questioned the state of my moral compass, and been adequately frightened while watching the films selected. I am excited to hear the reactions of others, to share discourse and opinions … a large part of what makes film so appealing for me.
I am also excited about the variety, and you should be too. I have moaned and whined about the lack of an art house theater here in Lansing - something reminiscent of The Odeon - playing foreign and indie film that broaden our film repertoire and our minds. Well, here it is, offered to us over the course of four days.
I won’t tell you what to watch or when to go, but if you only have time for one day, keep Saturday free for a Gondry feature, some great short films, An Oversimplification of Her Beauty, Detropia, and much, much more.
I look forward to spending some time on my pseudo beach April 11-14. I’m so glad there’s film in Lansing.
Once again, friends, we’ve finalized another CCFF schedule, and once again we’re bringing you 4 evenings of fantastic live music. Each night of the festival has a totally unique flavor. Personally, I’m super excited to get very little sleep April 11-14.
Because no one tells stories about the nights they got plenty of sleep.
Thursday night we’ll be hosting the co-headling tour of The Mowgli’s and Family of the Year. Two bands you may be familiar with thanks to their heavy rotation on alternative radio stations across the country. This will be a night of genre-blending, California indie-rock, opened by our local pals Joe Hertler & the Rainbow Seekers. Get there on time.
Friday marks the return of ambient indie heroes Lydia to Michigan. Their first visit to the mitten since 2011, and I believe their first, FIRST visit to Lansing. Accompanying Lydia is From Indian Lakes, Sweet Talker, and Lights and Caves. So… pretty much just your run of the mill completely amazing Friday night lineup. NBD.
Saturday, we’re keeping it home-grown with a showcase of mid-Michigan bands, featuring Small Parks celebrating the release of their EP “Meet Me In Cognito”. It’s a clever name, which means it’s a good idea to attend. Wayne Szalinski, Tiger! Tiger!, and Good Day Good Sir will also be bringing instruments to plug in and play melodically. It’s important to support local music. CCFF does, and so should you.
Sunday is closing night, which is sad. However, it means that the internationally-touring live house music band Tortured Soul will be in Lansing for the first time ever. That is not sad. Not only will this be an epic evening of dancing your face off, you’ll also be able to see DJs Robert Perry and Noah DeSmit of Implied Music before they’re way too big to play here anymore.
This awesome, stop-motion styled short has incredible fun throughout while playing at the toil of the work day. Seeming to be set in a old world Italy of yesteryear, it forms a great feel totally different from its Argentinian roots. The filmmaker and his team display real ingenuity in pulling off some of their shots, and they show obvious enjoyment in their craft. When you go to see short movies, this is the type of flick that will have you leaving with a smile on your face.
-Jason Gabriel, CCFF Co-Founder and Production Manager
Luminaris screens Friday, April 12 at the Capital City Film Festival. Watch the trailer here.
The documentary has been going through a lot of changes over the past 10 years. Technology, like affordable DSLRs that are capable of creating beautiful images in very low-light situations, has seen the documentary genre itself change.
Two of the documentaries that we’re screening during the festival, Only the Young and Tchoupitoulas, are perfect examples of the kind of filmmaking that, until fairly recently, has been impossible.
Only the Young is a beautiful and sensitive portrait of young boredom. Set in an arid part of California, the teenage subjects of the film pass time by skateboarding on just about any surface they can find while entertaining a flurry of crushes. There isn’t some grand dramatic story, just a bracingly honest look at being young. At times, it seems amazing that the teenagers feel so comfortable talking about their lives to the filmmaker. It allows you into their small world in a way that few films manage to. The result is a story about young lives that really hits close to home as you remember what it was like to be a teenager.
Its simplicity and beauty are striking - to put it mildly - and the emotions of the film are amplified in the same way everything seems to be amplified when you’re that age. The film may only run for 70 minutes, but it stays with you long after the credits roll.
Tchoupitoulas is similar, but focuses more on the discovery and wonder of youth. The main subject of the film, an African-American boy who looks to be about 10 years old, sneaks out with his two brothers to wander the street of Tchoupitoulas, a pleasure strip in New Orleans. The camera simply follows - in a stark verite style - the boys as they witness things they’re far too young to see. The street is flooded with musicians, drag queens, oysters and pizza. The filmmakers never seem to interfere with the boys’ journey, and they never seem to be very aware of the cameras. Which, of course, makes sense given the content of the streets.
The film is experimental, with footage of the street cut up with short off-camera interviews of the youngest boy ruminating in a way that only a 10-year-old could. It’s a challenging film that really pushes what a documentary can be, and in a way, is the essence of what a documentary is: a document of an experience.
Both of these films are great examples of the changes technology has brought to the world of filmmaking, and we hope you enjoy them as much as we do!
We were blown away by the films created for the Fortnight Film Contest. We had 24 teams enter the contest but only had room to screen 15 of their films. Here are the 15 (in nothing but alphabetical order):
-Persistence of Vision
-Umbrella Man vs Dancing Man
See everybody Sunday at 11am for the winner announcements and awards!
When it comes to a film festival, it is good to have selections with a few laughs.
I love documentaries about collecting soup can labels in North Korea, and tense dramas about a divorced couple ordering take-out as much as the next guy, but we can all benefit from a laugh or two. A few chuckles help break up the seriousness which (usually) dominates film festivals. Change is good (especially at an arcade).
I am happy to say, this year’s Capital City Film Festival has plenty of laughs to go around. We had several chuckle-inducing shorts submitted, and most of them made the final cut. Comedy can be difficult to pull off well, which is summed up best by the oft-used quote, “Dying is easy. Comedy is hard.”
Hippy Ninja offers up action and comedy in one hilarious, and well-shot, package. Fans of Kill Bill and other such films will get a kick out of this martial arts spoof (pun intended, because I don’t know any better).
For those who enjoy monologues or stand-up, Bathing and the Single Girl will scratch that itch. The entire short is the star sharing a monologue about dating younger men, and no, it does not star Demi Moore.
Kickstarter gets a much needed lampooning in Cliffstarter. One of the shortest films to make the final cut, Cliffstarter offers up plenty of absurd humor, just like my last IRA audit (I still say a Boba Fett costume is a legit business expense).
If footballs to the groin are more your style of humor, don’t miss Cotton County Boys. The boys have more fun shooting embarrassing videos than my ex-wives’ private detectives.
Speaking of awkward romance, courtship humor abounds in Street Pillow or the Sidewalk Sleep. Plus, it features Troma’s Lloyd Kaufman in a show stealing scene.
Death does not always have to be serious, as seen in Horizontal Accidents and The Extraordinary Life of Rocky. The former features con-men trying to make a buck of the dead, while the latter is like if Amelie and Royal Tenenbaums had a baby. A well shot, hilarious baby.
Finally, there is After School Special, which is a great example of a slow-build up, followed by a killer punch line. Leave the monocles and martinis at home for this one. While this year’s CCFF features some well-made, but super-serious submissions, there are more than enough funny shorts to balance things out. But, like alternating between dessert and salad at a buffet, watching some of each will make you appreciate the other much more.
I’m sure you know by now that the Film Festival is more than just film.
If you do not, then please see me after class.
For this year’s festival we’ve partnered with Fusion Shows to put together four amazing nights of music. Our headliners have impressive resumes that include SXSW, world tours, and industry awards. This is exactly the kind of thing many people say needs to come to Lansing more often. Well… it’s coming.
Murder by Death is a band I’m particularly excited to see again. I caught one of their live shows at the Intersection in Grand Rapids a few years ago, and it was fantastic. They’ve been likened to Nick Cave, the Decemberists, and Johnny Cash – probably because vocalist Adam Turla sounds shockingly like the legendary man in black – but their music has an amazingly unique and authentic feel to it. It’s like a colonel’s secret recipe consisting of equal parts indie rock, classic Americana, folk, a pinch of soul, and a dash of country (the good kind, not pop-country).
Making this show even better is a set of supporting acts that we’re lucky to have sharing a single night. Bars of Gold (former Bear vs. Shark), The Fencemen (former Small Brown Bike), and Flatfoot are honestly worth the price of admission. This night will not disappoint.
Motion pictures have held a special place in people’s hearts since their invention in 1895, and ever since then people have been using film as a means to express themselves. Films are a magical experience for those who watch them; they allow us to get lost in imaginary worlds, scare the pants off of us, or leave us on the edge of our seats. Sometimes they make us cry, laugh, scream, or feel just about any emotion. Films also have a profound effect on their creators who pour their hearts into the making; be it through the script, effects, images or characters.
The Capital City Film Festival brings the very best of all of these aspects together in a perfect and enjoyable environment in Lansing. At CCFF, you get to see the art of film making in its purest form, along with new technologies and techniques. Not only do you get the chance to watch quality movies, but you also get the rare opportunity to interact with some of their directors and actors. CCFF offers a tremendous amount of artistic entertainment to Lansing, and I’m excited to see the community come out and take advantage of it.