View Full Version : High-brow fests? Not always...

07-23-2005, 02:36 AM
I found this article over the trusty NY Times (http://www.nytimes). :cool:

I found it kinda refreshing that there are some festivals out there that aren't claiming to be the next Sundance or Cannes... perhaps even relishing in the fact that some films are better appreciated for what they are not.

I'm interested if anyone has actually been to this. (or at least submitted).

Original article here (

July 23, 2005

B - Movies, Parade Highlight Utah Film Fest

Filed at 1:57 a.m. ET

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- You won't find any Hollywood moguls, budding starlets or brooding film experts lingering around Utah's other film festival this weekend. The Bicknell International Film Festival screens B-movies, those campy films that can be so bad they're good. Now in its 10th year, the festival shares little with Utah's better-known Sundance Film Festival, Robert Redford's hugely successful annual independent film venue.

Cell phone service is sketchy at best in the 355-person desert hamlet of Bicknell, about 200 miles south of Salt Lake City. Parking is ample for the 250 or so fans who typically attend.

There's a parade, billed as the world's fastest, which travels on State Highway 24 from Torrey to Bicknell at speeds reaching 55 mph.

Since 1996, while a majority of Utah residents are celebrating a late July holiday commemorating the arrival of Mormon pioneers in the Salt Lake valley, a number of die-hard fans and the curious have made the trek to Bicknell.

The festival's tag line? ''Where good things happen to bad movies.''

''At that time I was so sick of the film festival world I thought it would be neat to create our own film festivals,'' said co-founder Trent Harris. It was a screening of his film ''Rubin and Ed'' at Bicknell's Wayne Theater in 1995 that helped spark the idea of holding a festival there.

Some of Harris's other campy films, such as ''The Beaver Trilogy,'' a story about a Utah drifter starring Sean Penn, have played at Sundance or other more mainstream festivals. Current projects have kept Harris from being more actively involved in Bicknell in recent years, but it's clear he's still proud of his creation.

''There is no more prestigious festival,'' he said, joking, when asked about his other festival experiences. ''It is the only film festival in the entire world that has a parade ... and I'm pretty sure that we're the only film festival with a swap meet.''

James Anderson, who has owned the Wayne Theater since 1994 with his wife, Nan, looks forward to the festival every year.

''There's always a lot of laughs, we typically screen a bad movie and have a seminar about it after,'' Anderson said. ''It's the antithesis, if you will, of the other film festival in Utah.''

This year, the festival committee asked fans to vote over the Internet for their favorite three movies of the past 10 festivals. The results were used to form the schedule.

''It's the best of the worst of BIFF,'' Anderson said.

Harris's ''Rubin and Ed,'' the Frankie and Annette classic ''Beach Blanket Bingo'' and Al Adamson's ''Half Way to Hell'' made the cut at the festival, which runs Friday and Saturday. Those three beat out films such as ''Earth vs. The Spider,'' ''Attack of the Killer Tomatoes'' and ''Invasion of the Body Snatchers.''

The festival begins with the ''world's fastest parade,'' an eight-mile drive from Torrey to the Wayne Theater.

''I think one year we had more people in the parade than we had watching it,'' Anderson said. ''We slowed it down from 65, which is the speed limit, because some of the people's costumes and things kept blowing off.''

The Saturday morning swap meet has featured everything from ''strange Mormon ceramics to used tires to kittens to I think maybe the first year we had some ducks,'' Anderson said.

Like any festival worth its klieg lights, Bicknell has a panel discussion. This year ''Half Way to Hell'' cinematographer Gary Graver will join Utah Travel Council Director Leigh von der Esch in discussing ''What Makes B-Movies Be?''

Past panels have featured purported UFO abductees and an entomologist with 4-inch hissing cockroaches. In those years, the festival featured alien and bug attack movies.

Local residents, nearly all of whom can fit in the 306-seat theater that regularly runs current Hollywood releases, have come around to accepting the quirky festival.

''I think the first few years they were concerned that the regular (screenings) weren't happening and it was some strange movies that they'd never seen,'' Anderson said. ''Now they understand it's tongue-in-cheek.''


On the Net:

Bicknell International Film Festival: