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The 1st B-Move Celebration was in Franklin Indiana, August 17th-19th 2007.
-Nic Brown-

Me holding Lloyd's award...

I don't want to know what that is on Toxie's shirt!

Nestled somewhere in the middle of seemingly endless corn fields about 30 minutes south of Indianapolis, is the town of Franklin Indiana. This small town is the home of Franklin College, the historic Artcraft Theater, and a really good bar/pub called The Willard. It is also the home of Mr. Bill Dever, entrepreneur and one of the founders of the Indy Film Co-op, a group that supports independent filmmakers internationally with networking, resources and general comraderie.

As a way to show his love for the so called ‘B-Movies’ and to foster the ever growing independent film community, Dever and the Indy Film Co-op organized the first annual B-Movie Celebration in Franklin the weekend of August 17th. The B-Movie Celebration is more than just a film festival that revels in movies with titles like: Plan 9 From Outer Space, Cry of the Winged Serpent, Evil Dead, & Poultrygeist. It is a gathering of independent filmmakers and fans to not only watch and enjoy these features, but also to learn, share ideas and maybe even improve their craft with seminars, panel discussions and classes that teach the art and science behind the whole filmmaking process.

The B-Movie Celebration attracted a number of legends of the genre as special guests including: Lloyd Kaufman (Troma Films), Jim Wynorski (Chopping Mall, The Lost Empire), Tom Savini (Dawn of the Dead, Creepshow) & Conrad Brooks (Plan 9 From Outer Space) to name a few. It also attracted many lesser known independent filmmakers who wanted a chance to show their work to others.

The B-Movie Celebration started on the 17th with a gala reception held at one of the many venues for the event in

Franklin, The Johnson County History Museum. The Museum was at one time a Masonic Temple/meeting hall and had ample facilities to host the festivities. An open wine bar, impressive buffet and live music were all just the backdrop for the real purpose, mingling. Fans who attended had the opportunity to talk with many of the guests and speakers who all seemed to make a point of taking the time to talk and have photos made with anyone who asked. It was also a chance for many members of the Indy Film Co-op to finally meet each other face to face, so the room was bubbling with energy.

The gala opening of the festival did not just attract people interested in the films and filmmaking. Representatives of a number of local businesses and government were there showing support for the festival. The Mayor of Franklin, Brenda Jones-Matthews, and Bill Dever were speaking with Lloyd Kaufman of Troma Studios about holding the Tromadance Film Festival in Franklin sometime next year and Kaufman was listening. The town of Franklin is obviously behind this festival and that kind of energy and support is not missed by a savvy businessman such as Kaufman, who has kept Troma Studios going for almost 35 years without ever letting it lose its independence from the corporate world of Hollywood filmmaking.

When asked about the B-Movie Celebration, Mayor Jones-Matthews said “I think it’s wonderful that we’re having this festival here. Franklin has a great historic theater, the Artcraft, and we all grew up seeing movies there and now we get to see some of those same films there again this weekend. Bill [Dever], the Indy Film Co-op and all of the many volunteers have been working closely with our parks and recreation department, as well as the Johnson County Museum of History

B-Movie fan Eric Brooks and his... date?

for months and I think they’ve done a great job putting this all together”. For his part, Bill Dever, is reluctant to take much credit for the festival’s organization “I’m just one of the people that worked on this event, it was a real community effort from both the members of the Indy Film Co-op and Franklin that made this happen”.

Filmmakers and local politicians were not the only people who attended the festival, film fans from all over the region turned up for the event. Ely Osmond (West Union, OH) and Sean Rogers (North Manchester, IN) became fast friends at the celebration. When asked about why they came to the festival Ely said “I heard about this through the Troma website and I wanted to meet Lloyd Kaufman”. Both agreed that Kaufman’s Poultrygeist was one of their favorite films so far at the event. Another B-Movie fan, Eric Brooks (Lexington, KY), said “This has been really great. I’m going to have to come back for it next year too!”

The schedule of films and workshops was packed for Saturday and Sunday. The Artcraft Theater played host to the 35mm offerings of the festival, running retrospectives of the work of B-Movie legends Lloyd Kaufman and Jim Wynorski. In fact, on Friday night after the Gala celebration, the Artcraft was the site of the world premiere of Jim Wynorski’s newest film: Cry of the Winged Serpent to be released on the Sci-Fi channel in 2008. Rob Shultz, manager of the Artcraft Theater was excited about the whole event “This is a great opportunity to introduce a whole new generation

 

Franklin Indiana's historic Artcraft Theater was just one of the

fantastic venues for the B Movie Celebration!

to the Artcraft and to show some fun films as well”. He went on to explain that the Artcraft is uniquely well suited for running single showings of 35mm films as it is one of only four theaters in the state that is able to run “reel-to-reel” movies. This means that the film is shown using two projectors that seamlessly alternate after every 15 to 20minutes of film. Having this capability allows the Artcraft to show different films back to back on only one screen; a feat that most modern cinemas cannot do for two days straight.

The Artcraft was not the only venue for the B-Movie Celebration. The Johnson County Museum of History, aside from hosting the Gala on Friday night, also ran the “New B Visions” films during the festival. These are newer movies, several still officially unreleased, which show the modern touch to the classic B-Movie. Cyxork 7, Horrors of War, Stomp Shout Scream and other films played in the historic site and gave viewers a look at the work of the new generation of B Movies.

Franklin College’s Fine Arts Center hosted a number of films as well, but its lecture halls and classrooms also provided the setting for the forums, workshops and panel discussions that were a key

"My Life as a B Movie Director" discussion with Jim Wynorski (left),

Papaw Payette (center) and Kevin S. Tenney (right).

feature to the festival for filmmakers and fans alike. Successful screenwriter Ron Aberdeen gave tips on not only writing screen plays, but also on how to market them while still protecting your intellectual property. Jim Wynorski gave an intimate talk about his life as a “B” director, sharing anecdotes about how he got started in a career that has run for over three decades and resulted in more than 75 films. Lloyd Kaufman taught his world famous “Make Your Own Damn Movie” class to show aspiring filmmakers how to make a film “guerilla” style. In fact there were classes, discussions or workshops running for the entire weekend. There were so many things going on that a few fans were frustrated because they wanted to see the films but they also didn’t want to miss the seminars and discussions. “I wish there were two of me so I could see more!” was the comment of one attendee as he tried to decide between Lloyd’s Master Class and a screening of Damnation Alley. Lloyd won that fight as the young man entered the auditorium, but I’m sure that wasn’t the only tough choice made that weekend. With over 50 films and at least 10 seminars, there was a lot to be seen at the B-Movie Celebration.

One of the most energetic people at the celebration was the Mr. Steve “Papaw” Pyatte. Papaw is a member of the

Steve "Papaw" Payette (Master of Ceremonies)and me

at the B-Movie Celebration!

Check out Papaw's site here!

Indy Film Co-op and can be described as a true renaissance artist; author, motivational speaker, actor, independent film producer and director. During the B-Movie Celebration he wore a new hat as Master of Ceremonies. Papaw made it no secret that he was thrilled to be MC for the Celebration “It was a real honor. I look up to all of the guys that are going to be here; Jim Wynorski, Tom Savini, Lloyd Kaufman, Conrad Brooks, and some of the other writers and filmmakers; they’ve been inspirations for independent filmmakers for 30 years or more”. This was no small job for one man. With a Gala dinner, an awards ceremony and numerous other events to cover, Papaw was always on the move. Of course he did it in style, riding his custom Harley from venue to venue. In fact, Papaw was more like the ambassador of the B-Movie Celebration than MC as he welcomed one and all and took time to talk with everyone he could about the festival and the Indy Film Co-op.

As the Celebration drew to a close on Sunday evening, Bill Dever and the other members of the Indy Film Co-op were already talking about next year. “We’re definitely doing this again” Dever said as he was making some notes about things still needing to be done. His one regret was, although the attendance was good, it wasn’t quite as high as they’d all hoped it would be. “Next year we’ll plan on it for maybe the second week in September, after the colleges are back in session. That will give us a ready made pool of fans to draw from right here in town. Also we’re going to work on publicizing the event more. The more we spread the word, the more fans will show up.” Make no mistake though, the first annual B-Movie Celebration was a hit for everyone involved from the hundreds of fans to the hard working men and women who made the event happen. Based on this year’s successes, next year’s B-Movie Celebration promises to be an event that movie fans won’t want to miss.

Tom Savini and The Creature

Bill Devers (B Movie Celebration organizer), Lloyd Kaufman, & Papaw

Payette at the Poultrygeist premiere at the BMC!

Could this be the end of B-Movie Man Nic? Tune in next week

same B-Time, same B-Channel to find out!

(Jim, you can yell cut any time now... really!!)

The awards ceremony for Lloyd before the premiere of Poultrygeist!

The Creature continues his assault on the BMC guests! This time

he's after Horror hosts The Queen of Trash & Mr. Lobo!

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