Roger L. Simon

What's a "conservative film festival"?

Beats me. I don’t even know, as I have written … okay … ad nauseum, what a conservative or a liberal is anymore. But I have attended a lot of film festivals (more than I care to admit over more years than I care to admit), submitted films to them, been accepted and rejected, sat through a lot of stinkers and eaten a lot of bad food (particularly at the Berlin Festival). What I do know is that ideology, or perceived ideology, has a lot do with the selection process.

So conservative or whatever it is the American Film Renaissance Festival, which PJ is now covering with the superb video work of Andrew Marcus and his on-camera partner Clay Champlin is hugely welcome for one word above all – openness. Lots of viewpoints, some (like intelligent design) with which I completely disagree, are presented. But they are there. You don’t see a lot of that at Sundance. Everything at that festival is open pretty much from one side only. Here you have a pro-life film, which could be considered relatively prudish, mixed with the first-ever screening in Hollywood of clips from “Submission,” which is anything but.

As one who has frequently criticized the lack of Hollywood response to the murder of “Submission” director Theo van Gogh (stone silence is more like it), I am looking forward finally to seeing the film in a theatre (Sunday at 2:30). I wonder how many of my colleagues will be there.

BTW, our second video from the festival is now up.

UPDATE: Interesting interview with Gary Sinise at the festival should be up on Mondo Hollywood soon (roughly six pacific). Sinise talks about his program for Iraqi children.

MORE: For the record, AFR is not the first right-leaning film festival in Hollywood. The Liberty Film Festival, of course, was that.