Alphabet City Film Festival Melds Movie Marathon With Pub Crawl

By Patrick Hedlund on August 9, 2011 8:00pm 

EAST VILLAGE — Alphabet City has inspired everything from Broadway plays to books and music, so it’s no surprise the neighborhood now has a film festival to call its own. 

The inaugural AlphaBet City Dolly Film Festival, kicking off Thursday, will feature more than 30 films screened at venues throughout the East Village.

The festival — described as half movie-marathon, half pub-crawl — was conceived by the partners behind production company Authorized Dealer Films, which decided to host a festival made for and by independent filmmakers.

“We felt there were a lot of other independents like us who had great stuff to show but were outside of Hollywood,” said Jean-Pierre Adéchi, one of festival co-founders, adding that the cost associated with generating buzz and screening self-produced films, as well as getting it in front distributers, is often prohibitive for the average independent filmmaker.

“We wanted to do a festival that would answer our problem, but also answer the problem that a lot of other independents face," he said.

Adéchi — along with Kareem Rogers and his former schoolmate at the posh Upper East Side Lycee Francais, Geoffrey Jean-Baptiste — decided to hold the event in Alphabet City based on the neighborhood’s reputation for fostering the arts.

They approached numerous business owners in the area about screening films at their establishments and were rarely turned down.

“The beautiful thing about Alphabet City is a lot of the business owners themselves are artists or they’ve been involved in art or are just fans of art,” Adéchi explained, calling the neighborhood the “perfect canvas” for the festival.

The films themselves — which include shorts, music videos, features and documentaries — were selected by a committee that based its picks not on any one theme, but the quality of the production.

They include a short flick featuring dance performances set against the backdrop of the 145th Street subway station; a 7-minute French film depicting a world in which Facebook is reality; and a documentary about a immigrant’s journey from Columbia to an Alphabet City squat.

“The main question it came down to was what movies would we feel comfortable with and are worth telling somebody else to come see,” Adéchi said. “We want to see the film and not even realize that it was made by an independent house.”

All the screenings take place at bars and restaurants located between Avenues A and C, from First and 14th streets.

For more information and a full schedule of screenings, visit abcdfilmfestival.com.

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