Tired of other people’s movies? Then make your own. When you’re done, take them to the Lounge at North Third Street. The amazing Scott Johnston and the reserved Tom Bee host “the best show ever,” Fancypants Cinema every Tuesday night at 9 p.m.
For more than a year Johnston, the emcee, and Bee, the tech guy, have been presenting Fancyypants Cinema to a supportive audience of filmmakers, film enthusiasts and people who simply like to think while they drink. Both came from film backgrounds and wanted to facilitate an open venue where filmmakers could get feedback from peers, meet other filmmakers and show their work on a big screen.
“It’s a great networking opportunity,” Johnston said. Not surprisingly, business cards and hastily scribbled contact information frequently change hands between films and beer orders.
The night began with a musical ode by a first-time filmmaker to Fancypants. Johnston then strolled onto the Lounge’s mini-stage, beer in hand, and delivered a kind of opening monologue – profanity-filled and doused with a serious shot of innuendo. He knew many of the contributors and audience by name, creating a family (loving but dysfunctional) vibe to the night.
The crowd was an interesting mix of Northern Liberties neighborhood folk, local film personalities, filmmakers and friends. The filmmakers ran the gamut from young directors (one film was made by a 17-year-old who was there with his parents) to professionals, with a mix of “too many students,” Johnston said jokingly.
Submission requirements are loose – less than 10 minutes is “great,” Johnston said, less than 20 is fine, but more than 25, “people start to lose interest.” You can show up with VHS or DVD, but if your film is on another format, bring your equipment and Johnston can “plug you in.” Works in progress are encouraged. Each filmmaker (or whoever shows up to represent the film) has a chance to talk with Johnston and the audience about his or her work, either before or after it is screened.
There are no subject preferences. In two nights the films ranged from animation to a hilarious mockumentary, a music video, a creepy film about the perils of unemployment, and a devastatingly comic movie about childhood exposure to Michael Jackson.
Leslie the bartender, whose taped appearance on The People’s Court was a featured presentation one night, will keep you satiated with drinks and food from North Third’s eclectic menu.
You have to weave your way past the front bar and seating area and through the doors to the Lounge, so don’t be surprised if it seems like nothing’s going on when you show up. It starts to fill up by nine, so show up early to get a table. And bring a film, because as Johnston says, “If you don’t bring them, we can’t show them,” and that would make for a very boring evening.
Carrie Jones can be reached at email@example.com