(Image courtesy of Bowery Film Festival via Facebook)

There are summer film festivals aplenty in New York, but none with quite so much local flavor as the new Bowery Film Festival, which kicks off for its inaugural run this evening at the Bowery Bar (one of the festival’s few free events) and goes through Saturday, August 18th. The festival focuses on “films that dissent radically in form, technique, or content from the mainstream,” according to the website.

Per that unorthodox vibe, each day of the film casts light on a different theme, such as Thursday’s “The Female Gaze,” which features web series and short films along with the NYC premiere of Two Little Bitches at the Wild Project’s theater on East 3rd Street. Directed by Emmy Harrington, the Brooklyn-set feature delves into a 72-hour saga of betrayal between two sisters who couldn’t be more different. One of the festival’s short films to keep an eye on is Craig Nisperos’ Distance, which was also a selection in the 40th Asian American Film Festival and screens during Friday’s “Break the Mold” program at WhiteBox on Broome Street. The film’s trailer opens with a shot of a new immigrant to New York hauling his carry-on through the streets as the following voiceover plays: “Dear Mom: I miss home.”

And they’re not just screening traditional indie films, but also music videos like “Scandal,” directed by Pablo Mengin and starring Kira Skov and Brooklynite Maya Azucena. The video cycles through more than 2,000 paintings to create a surreal blend of art and motion. The festival also hosts evening parties, networking events and post-show director Q&As that serve as great opportunities for aspiring filmmakers to network and establish street cred over booze. The half-week event wraps up on Saturday with a closing party at Bowery hangout Katra Lounge. So what are you waiting for? Showings are open to the public. Check out their full lineup and register to purchase tickets here.