It’s hard to keep all these summer film festivals straight (among others, the Brooklyn Film Festival and Rooftop Films Summer Series are currently underway, with Nitehawk’s Summer Series coming soon). But this should help: only one of these promises a secret beer garden, and that’s the Lower East Side Film Festival.
Snag a ticket for Ashley Louis’s Blunderbus and on June 18 you’ll get to watch the coming-of-age buddy comedy in what festival co-director Tony Castle assures us will be “an interesting location that is a very unexpected place to have a biergarten.” Subtle hints dropped on Instagram as well as clues released the day before the event will lead attendees to the mysterious location.
The $20 ticket ($25 at the door) gets you unlimited Radeberger, wine and food.
Since the LESFF began five years ago in a storefront that seated 35 people, its goal has been to maintain the original feel of “hanging out, drinking with friends and watching movies,” said Castle. Who knows, you might even find yourself hanging with some of this year’s celebrity judges: Mike Love of the Beach Boys, actresses Laverne Cox and Parker Posey, producers Michael Trim and Rachael Horovitz, and animator Jacob Blackstock.
Yes, the festival is a competition, but it’s also a platform for great films that may not have a large budget. The five festival directors are filmmakers themselves, so they understand the barriers that lower budget films can face. Though the LESFF no longer has a cap on film budgets for submissions, co-director Roxy Hunt said that it will continue to “support the underdog filmmakers who don’t have big budgets to work with, but still have powerful stories.”
Check out the multitude of other LESFF events, taking place June 11 to June 21 in venues throughout the Lower East Side. If you somehow don’t find a secret beer garden appealing, maybe a gay night pool party on a rooftop or a mind f*ck is more your thing.