November 13, 2010, was opening night for the Zero Film Festival in New York City. This annual film festival only allows the submission of self-financed films. Opening night was at Bushwick’s Nutroaster Studios in Brooklyn, and after showing two blocks of films, the party continued with free alcohol and live bands. The festival lasted seven days.
The Zero Film Festival featured over a dozen short films from around the world the first night. These self financed films had tiny budgets, but they were still high quality. One of the audience favorites at this year’s festival was directed by Christopher Jarvis. His film, “The Birds Upstairs,” had unusual and complex imagery. Although this animated film had birds as the main characters, it still presented universal themes of love, marriage and unfulfilled dreams.
Bushwick’s Nutroaster Studios in Brooklyn was a good choice for opening night. The price of admission, $15 at the door, was small compared to the events they offered. It was not just a place to view the films and walk away. There were several installations from international artists. Additionally, the dance party and live music kept everyone inside for hours. Nobody wanted to return to their regular lives. They wanted to stay at the Zero Film Festival as long as possible.
It was rare to find an event with free alcohol in New York City. By offering free alcohol at Nutroaster Studios, the Zero Film Festival guaranteed a large and happy crowd for opening night. It was crowded, loud and fun. Oberhofer, Sherlock’s Daughter and Asobi Seksu performed that night. The music was heavily pop, but nobody seemed to mind. Although Asobi Seksu sang in Japanese, the crowd was still excited and involved in the lyrics. Some people had a hard time hearing some of the performances over the shouting in the audience.
The atmosphere at the 2010 Zero Film Festival was very positive. Despite the colder weather and economic downturn, people focused their attention on the films. The festival attracted a great mix of professionals, artists, locals, visitors and film makers. There were constant discussions about the films and the art installations. The music performances and dance party were also popular, and everyone left feeling that independent films had a strong future.