Father & Daughter Film Report

ARFF 2016

(Austin Revolution Film Festival)

That's right.  ARFF.  After six years, this is what the Austin Revolution Film Festival has come to be known as:


In between films, when the Austin Revolution Film Festival logo comes up, this is what you hear being shouted out by many in the audience:


They shout "ARFF" out of LOVE.  They shout "ARFF" since they love being at ARFF.  There are even a few who shout out "ARFF" since they are completely plastered.  But more on that later...

With numerous credits as writer, director, producer, as well as the force behind Twitchy Dolphin Flix, James Christopher (seen here as an actor in Outsiders Production's film Rough Cut 3), is the film festival director of ARFF. 

What makes this the film festival everyone loves to come to each year?  There are too many things to list here in such an article.  But one word that both father & daughter can agree on is that this truly is a festival that is 100%
unique.  For example, have you ever been to a film festival that has a bloc of films shown at a drive-in....?

 Have you ever been to a film festival where they serve food & drinks as if you were in a dinner theater...or a bar? (As you can see, we are stepping into one of the reasons some can get paralytic).  These are just a few of the things that makes ARFF one of the TOP 100 film festivals in the world - out of the approximately 12 or 13 thousand film festivals out there around the globe now - which is pretty incredible being ARFF is only in their 6th year....

 Such things may be copied by other festivals in the future, however you can be sure these unique approaches started at ARFF, and the crew behind this festival seem to come up with a new twist and turn each and every year...which is perhaps one reason why it just keeps getting better & better...


The Twitchy Dolphin Flix Crew....From left to right: Allison Wood, Andrea Dettling, Jessica Bybee, James Christopher, Shelly Bybee, & Nathan Bybee

But let's talk about one of the key elements that makes ARFF on of THE most admired, respected, and loved film festivals out there by film makers.  First, James & Gang have somehow engineered the socialization process which weaves in and around the festival constantly so that everyone there is provided a perfect environment for:


....and this is besides all the great after parties going all around the place (after all, this is Austin, Texas).

An example from last year was two film makers who had shorts selected came back this year with a feature film as the result from the networking, connecting, collaborating, & co-operating from the year before.  This year, with the inauguration of the Film by Veteran's category showing two great films Finally A Voice and The Captain, a connection was made to an advisory board member of the GI Film Festival and Veteran in Film advocate Frances A. Cheever...and she wasn't even at the festival...!

Now that is a facilitated networking system on steroids....

The coveted ARFF Belt Buckle, something to remind you that you are a winner every time you put your pants on...other interesting awards include: the Lady Bird Johnson, Sam Houston, Stevie Ray Vaughn, & Charles Goodnight Horizon Awards, Film Maker of the Year, as well as Female Filmmaker of the Year (which 2016 had a tie with Darva Campbell & Lisa Belcher)

Retired Major Frances A. Cheever (House of Cards, 2016; Orange is the New Black, 2014) is certainly a great contact for military consulting & getting veterans into films:


Of course there were great independent films, and over the course of five days at various venues, even the two of us couldn't cover all of the official selections.  Here's a few we were able to catch:


 You've wondered it. We've wondered it. What happens if you were to get separated from a loved one after the apocalypse?

Writer, director, producer, actor, & composer Brett Bentman - whose love of independent film brought him to Texas from New Jersey to found his own production company - had that pay off by being the recipient of the Best Texas Director Award in both 2014 and 2015.

Katie Kohler (Subterranea, 2015) and Ashlyn McEvers (22 Jump Street, 2014; Star-Crossed, 2014) give excellent and gripping performances in the future we all fear is coming as two sisters who are separated, then struggle to survive while heading to their originally perceived sanctuary.

Even if you are not into post apocalyptic themes this is certainly a must-see film, since even the absurdities of our current "civilized culture" are shown to have the veneer stripped off, revealing no only the unbreakable bonds of the human spirit, but how in some cases an individual can lose their sense of humanity at the drop of a hat...

The film is being distributed via Circus Road Films, and they show you how you can watch the first 20 minutes of the film when you watch the trailer...

Click on the poster above to see the trailer

There were two midnight movies for Friday night, and to help people choose, ARFF's James Christopher was doing free whiskey shots in one viewing room, and tequila shots in the other.  We can't tell you which we chose - Amanda is still only 18 - but we're glad our choice led us to the room with the following film....

Click on the poster above to see the trailer

When asked why people should see Holy Hell, multiple award winning writer, director, producer Ryan LaPlante answered: "...because it’s bloody, insane, hilarious, offensive and inappropriate for everyone. What more could you want?"

Ryan, we couldn't ask for anything more.  

It was simply hilarious, spot on for the needs of civilization's current need for gratuitous violence, over the top characters, and in our opinion, despite its many, many awards, has been overlooked for one very important component:

Great writing.

You'll see a few examples in the trailer, but there are great lines throughout this film.  In one of the pleas to our lovable priest-on-the-rampage for mercy and forgiveness came one our our favorite quips:

"Do you think I'm running for Jesus???"

You can only image what follows.  What we think will follow is Ryan LaPlante having the 21st Century's Rocky Horror Picture Show if it keeps on the midnight movie circuit.

Smart. Smart. Smart. Clever. Clever. Clever.

There's good reason this was accepted in Cannes.

This was a roller coaster ride of emotions and circumstances for the entire 14 minutes....and we're sure writer/director Alejandro Montoya Marin could easily have turned this into an enjoyable feature, series, or those episodic things you see on Netflix.

Kristen Rakes (Seal Team Six The Raid on Osama Bin Laden, 2012; Enter the Dojo, 2013; American Horror Story, 2016...to name a few) plays a pop culture obsessed woman who at around the age of 30 realizes that this has given her false expectations about life - so cuts music and film cold turkey in order to find  true love...and Kristen plays this perfectly.

This is a gem of a premise, and the writing comes full circle so that everyone in the audience goes 


when the final twist is turned.  We love it when that happens, you will too...

Click on the poster above to see the trailer


Click on the poster above to see the trailer

Producer & Director David  N. Reyes and the X Horn Production team not only put together a beautifully visual experience, but created a unique blend between a reality show and a drama.

In other words, this film gives you both...and is delivered in a perfect balance.

This made for an interesting experience for the viewer since for a stretch you experienced the drama, then you transformed into the reality phase of the film, which is based on the premise of having Jordan Leuvoy (Nic) and Kathlen Brown (Allison) starring as emerging filmmakers hired by Oryan Landa as Sam who wants of documentary of the engagement from the time Lara Shah (Katie) says "I do" to the final dance at the wedding.

Well, THAT idea - whether happening in real life or in a fictional story - is quite novel to begin with...so naturally it translates into an engaging story right from the start.

Getting married?  You'll love it. Probably going through the exact same issues.  Married?  You'll love it too. Probably will bring back a lot of fun memories. Divorced?  Something for you as well since it may provide some ideas in case you decide to jump into a serious relationship again.

Actually, no matter what your relationship status, this film is a fun ride, as a documentary, drama, and romantic comedy.

A very powerful coming of age story of a boy who is challenged by school bullies to destroy "the gift" his father gave him in order to be in their gang.

That's right, the parenthesis around the gift is a clue that there's much, much more to the gift than the blue box and yellow ribbon seen in the poster - we are talking about an element that can be sensed on the mental, physical, and spiritual planes of existence.

Perhaps the metaphysical realm too.

Lisa Belcher, producer, writer, director, and actress (The Lying Game, 2011; Transformers: Age of Extinction, 2014) wrote and directed this gem, and perhaps has something to do with her winning Female Filmmaker of the Year at ARFF 2016.

Check out the trailer, telling you anymore that what it shows and what we have said already will only contribute to us being a spoiler...

... and we certainly don't want to do that!

Click on the poster above to see the trailer

Click on the poster above to see the trailer

 In reference to the poster - indeed it does get real.

Outsiders Productions is an award-winning Shawnee (Oklahoma) independent film production company (Jason Alexander, Kenny Pitts, Chad Mathews, and Adam Hampton) that has a gem of a story line here in this episodic series... 

...the independent film industry itself!

While their take on the film world is completely hilarious, it is also very real.  All of the filmmakers in the audience while watching (episode #3) were shaking their heads "yes" while rolling out in the aisles laughing because all of the situations were so...


This series has it all for those in the independent film world: the intoxicating highs and soul-crushing lows of chasing illogical dreams, the frustrations found in every level of an artistic crew, having the right script at the wrong time...

See?  Many of you filmmakers are already shaking your head "yes"....and all the more reason to pick up this witty series before killing yourself making your next movie...after all...we have to laugh at ourselves sometimes, and Rough Cut allows us in the independent film world to do so...a lot. 

Of course there were so many great films we couldn't include them all in just one report, so stayed tuned for: 

ARFF 2016 Part II