If March 21’s film night of the Neon Reverb Festival was any indication, perhaps organizers are spreading themselves too thin. Including two media members and at two theater employees, maybe 10 people attended the screening of Irvine Welsh’s Ecstasy at Theater 7. The film could have been the best movie in the past year, and almost no one would have known.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t. Welsh, the author of Trainspotting, this time tackles another drug (I’ll give you a guess which one), and the results are like Trainspotting Lite. Very lite. There’s nothing on the screen as unique as the 1996 film that put Ewan McGregor and director Danny Boyle on the map. Of course, that film stood as complementary to the mid-‘90s Britpop scene. In that regard, maybe Ecstasy with its lackluster, well, everything, is the perfect metaphor for the almost nonexistent Neon Reverb Film Night.
“There’s got to be more marketing for that,” festival organizer James Woodbridge said. “We tried to press it. We tried to emphasize it in some of the ads earlier in the week, some of the ads that came out the week before, that kind of thing. But it’s just hard to catch people’s eye.
There’s so much going on, there are so many ads for everything, so we’re going to have to try to do a little bit more to get the word out.”
One idea might be to run the future film nights in conjunction with concerts. Ecstasy is set heavily in clubs. Why not open the night with the movie then close the night with a band like local electro-pop duo Kid Meets Cougar. The theater, which features a stage, is ready made for more than just movies.
Woodbridge doesn’t want to split the film and music into two festivals, either. “I think it’s good to do it (movies) the week that music’s going on. But to schedule it so it doesn’t conflict with other things. And we tried to do that by having it on Tuesday and on Wednesday. There wasn’t very much music going on Wednesday, but I just sort of feel like maybe the indie film crowd here hasn’t yet graduated to the point where they’re seeing indie films that weren’t made by their friends.”
Woodbridge is adamant that film, comedy and other arts-based events are necessary for the fest to flourish. “The goal is to flesh out the festival as a full-blown music and arts and culture festival so that it’s multi-dimensional, there’s something for everybody. People that maybe are not that interested in music but say ‘I like comedy or I like film or I like storytelling stuff’— it gets them involved in Neon Reverb some other way.”