Arts & Entertainment

The Awesome Fest Brings Music to Film

Started in 2010, Philly film festival The Awesome Fest, is bringing music to films all over the city with this year’s theme, “The Soundtrack of Awesome.”

According to Josh Goldbloom, track one on the soundtrack of the summer is a pizza themed song by comedy rock band The Pizza Underground, track two is a Stevie Nicks tune and track three is simply the voice of Kevin Bacon.

This soundtrack, known as “The Soundtrack of Awesome” by Goldbloom, founder and creative director of The Awesome Fest, stands as the theme for the fifth consecutive summer film festival celebrating movies that, “rock”.

After utilizing the Piazza at Schmidt’s for the festival last year, Goldbloom and company purchased their own 30-foot screen and decided to host the events all over the city.

Goldbloom, a native of northeast Philly growing up and of Northern Liberties for the past seven years, said that a big part of the project was letting Philadelphia shine as much as the films.

“We wanted to take the cool films that we loved and show them in cool places in Philadelphia,” Goldbloom said. “We wanted to showcase the films and the city at the same time.”

Since the festival’s origination in 2010, Goldbloom and his band of volunteers- people who share his passion for the films- have been setting up and tearing down outdoor movie screens across the city for the hundreds of audience members who flock to the free events.

The Race Street Pier, Philadelphia Art Museum, Parx Casino and Sugarhouse Casino have all been host to screenings, as well as many of Philadelphia’s parks.

Visit Philadelphia, The Oval (in front of the art museum), Philadelphia Parks and Recreation and the Greater Philadelphia Film Office, alongside many others, have all played a part in pulling off these events.

This year, Goldbloom took a stab at a new idea: incorporating music into the films he loves. Hence, “The Soundtrack of Awesome” came into being.

“We looked at music film festivals across the country, but all of them tend to cater to the old and generic,” Goldbloom said. “We wanted to do something a little bit different.”

So far, the theme has worked its way into a few different films. “The Wizard of Oz” was synched to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon album; a musical mystery fans have named “Dark Side of the Rainbow”.

The Oval will host The Pizza Underground, followed by the pizza-themed movie, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”. The night is sponsored by Pizza hut, which will provide none other than pizza, for the moviegoers.

“It’s truly through community support and sponsorship that makes us able to present these titles for free,” Goldbloom said. “Whether or not you have any money in your pocket, we want to you see these films.”

The Awesome Fest continues year-round, but summer is the only time Goldbloom pitches “wacky” events like the upcoming Kevin Bacon fest.

Goldbloom said the event, set for Friday, August 1, will feature the film Apollo 13, featuring various bacon-themed vendors and conclude with a bacon launch into outer space, courtesy of the Franklin Institute.

“I really enjoy the element of fun; I tend to get bored with just screening movies. People already have those options,” Goldbloom said.

According to Goldbloom, the project that started small and has grown to host hundreds and sometimes thousands of audience members is put together mainly by volunteers.

“A lot of people think that we are a big company, but we are very do-it-yourself. We have TV technicians, set-up and tear-down crews, and the sponsors that help for the night,” Goldbloom said.

Volunteer Coordinator Chivonn Anderson said she was introduced to Goldbloom through mutual friends and has been working with The Awesome Fest since last September.

Anderson handles logistics. Anything from scouting locations, hiring staff, connecting with sponsors and vendors and organizing volunteers is her job.

“An event like our Center City Drive In series took about six volunteers per screening. Now, an event like our Summer Camp Sleep Over takes between 20-30 volunteers to pull off,” Anderson said.

The rest of the summer looks forward to a Christmas in July event on July 24, “School of Rock” night, featuring performances from music schools through the city on July 25 and Heavy Metal Night on July 28.

“I start out with a wacky idea and we go from there,” Goldbloom said of the summer’s upcoming events. “I’m so close to each and every film. It’s the movies, the music and the city as a whole.”

Paige Gross can be reached at paige.gross@temple.edu

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