The fourth annual PollyGrind Film Festival wrapped up its main block of programming on October 13 (an “encore” weekend returns to Theatre7 in the Arts District Oct. 25-26), but its creator, Chad Clinton Freeman, isn’t exactly celebrating its success. Instead, he took to Facebook the day after the festival to declare that, aside from a few choice people, he is “done” with Las Vegas-based filmmakers, calling the local film community “pitiful and pathetic.” Freeman lamented that despite offering incentives to “any and all filmmakers that were born here, lived here, shot here or live here,” he received proportionately few submissions from locals and was “stood up” by at least one that was slated to participate.
Freeman clarified that PollyGrind isn’t going anywhere (“PollyGrind will only die when I die,” he says, although he added “if I thought I could move it to another city, I would”) and that overall, this year’s festival was “fantastic,” with “packed houses” for several screenings. But he declared most of the local filmmaking community “dead to me.”
“I’ve begged [UNLV film professor David] Schmoeller to show his film. I’ve begged Kelly Schwarze to show his film. I’ve begged the Thompson Brothers to give me shit,” Freeman says. “I’m done putting myself out there and worrying about these people and trying to make them be a part of the festival that they don’t give a shit about.”
Those filmmakers, however, were taken aback by Freeman’s assertions. “I was surprised by that,” says Jerry Thompson, who runs video-production company Light Forge Studios with his brother, Mike. “We weren’t approached at all this year. I think he was taking things personally that weren’t personal. October’s a busy month for us, so we just couldn’t be there.”
Schwarze, who says he’s been tied up with both the birth of his child and reshoots on his film Territory8, concurs. “I was never asked to participate,” he says. “I consider Chad a friend and a colleague. Unfortunately, I can’t physically be everywhere and there are reasons I couldn’t be there. I don’t appreciate being singled out for anything.”