Big Weekend Coming Up!

598517_476834982332902_1755190590_nYessiree! It’s time for the Super Bowl. This is the one day of the year that’s responsible for more people missing work than any other. The Monday following Super Bowl Sunday has the highest absentee rate of any Monday all year long.
The Super Bowl is on Sunday, February 3rd this year. It is exactly two days after the Early-bird Deadline to get your entries in to the 2nd Annual Snake Alley Festival of Film.
We are already seeing a lot of really good entries. Don’t get sidetracked and wind up getting shut out. On your way to buy wings, beer, snacks, and more beer for the Super Bowl, drop your early-bird entry for the Snake Alley Festival of Film into the nearest Post Office Collection Box. Then you can watch the game and root for your favorite team with a clear head. For those of you outside of the U.S.A., the Super Bowl is sort of like the World Cup.
F.Y.I.—we think those excessive absences are caused by the consumption of too many chicken wings! But that’s just a theory! But the early-bird deadline of midnight, February 1st is not…so get those entries in the mail.

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Why You WANT To Get Writer’s Block!

For most writers, having writer’s block is one of those things that keep you awake at night. It doesn’t matter if you’re a novelist, a journalist, a playwright or a short story writer…having writer’s block can turn the most macho writer into a quivering mass of self-doubt.
But if you write a short screenplay to enter into the Snake Alley Festival of Film’s screenwriter competition…you really want “Writer’s Block!” Because “Writers Block” is the name of the award given for the best short screenplay.
If you saw the awards given to film makers last year, you’ll have an idea of the caliber of this unique award. It’s a first for this year, and the winner will have bragging rights about being the very first writer to ever win this award.
Early submission deadline for all entries (including this one) is February 1st. Go to the website http://www.snakealleyfestivaloffilm.com and click on the box marked (I’m not joking here) “withoutabox” for all the details.
Then just imagine that you’re amongst your peers and one of them mentions that he has writer’s block. You can respond, “So do I! I keep it on a shelf in my office!” Then smile enigmatically and casually walk away.

Rules? We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Rules!

“Rules, Schmools, I’m a movie maker! I specialize in breaking the rules!”
Actually, when you’re creating something new, breaking the rules can precipitate that break-out moment when you go, “Voila! That’s exactly the mood I’m shooting for!” And in that situation, rule breaking works. But to have The Snake Alley Festival of Film run smoothly, we have to have SOME rules.
But, if you ask anyone who attended last year, the rules were a non-issue. In fact, if you were at any of the “after parties” you would have sworn that there were no rules at all. It appeared to be an “anything goes” atmosphere. If you look through the pictures posted on the website, http://www.snakealleyfestivaloffilm.com you’ll notice that everyone is laughing and having a great time. Alcohol played a small part in that, but the camaraderie, great people, and friendship played the biggest part.
As for the rules, go to the website’s home page here http://www.snakealleyfestivaloffilm.com and click on the box that says “withoutabox.” All of the entry deadlines, contact info…and, yes, “the rules” are listed there.
Will there be any rules broken this year? I wouldn’t rule it out. (I can hear the groans out there.)

Beemer’s, Boxcars, Bikes, and Boats

When you hear someone mention a film festival in Iowa, what’s the first thing to pop into your head? Miles of farmland interspersed with boring little towns and not much to do?
Well wrap your wrinkled little brain around this. Burlington, Iowa, home of The Snake Alley Festival of Film is anything but boring. In fact, you can’t see or do everything there is to see and do in the three or four days you’re here. This artsy-cool (and becoming cooler by the day) little town sits on the banks of the mighty Mississippi and extends to high bluffs overlooking the river.
Put this image in your mind. You’ve just left a 1920’s restored theater having seen great films from some of the more talented film-makers on the planet. As you sit in your car waiting for a line of boxcars to pass, it almost feels like you’ve gone back in time. Then you notice the new Beemer in the next lane. Beside him is a group of cyclists who are competing in a criterium. In your rear-view mirror there’s a Rolls Royce and between the boxcars you spot an old Mississippi paddle-wheeler putting into the town dock.
Off to your left you see a hip-looking crowd entering Mr. Moto’s Public House. By all appearances, they’re having a great time.
As the last of your preconceived notions falls away, you realize you’re having the time of your life. You make a mental note to attend The Snake Alley Festival of Film again next year and many years after that. And you’re very glad you decided to come.

The Crookedest Film Festival Redux

Winter may be in full force in Burlington, Iowa. But the people who put on the World’s Crookedest Film Festival aren’t in hibernation. They’re gearing up for the 2nd Annual Snake Alley Festival of Film which will run from June 6 through June 8, 2013.
Last year’s festival opened in the 1920’s era Capitol Theater, which had just undergone a multi-million dollar restoration. Films were shown on a state-of-the –art screen in a beautiful retro theater. There was a filmmaker’s reception and a tour of Burlington. (This quaint river town has a surprising number of celebrities who were born or once lived there.)
Filmmaker’s and festival goers had a chance to roam the downtown area which has an artsy feel to it similar to what Key West was a few years back. There are some surprisingly unique eateries in this beautiful river town.
For a brand-new film festival, the Snake Alley Festival of Film drew entries and film makers from around the globe. Two movie makers traveled from Montreal, others from as far away as L.A., San Francisco, and New York, including one who brought his entire family of ten.
There was one after-party in the street in front of the theater. The town closed the street and F&M Bank and Trust converted it into and outdoor bistro, complete with bar, food and live music. The other parties were in other top-notch venues around town
There was an eclectic selection of films, and this year they’ve added a few new twists…and a couple of new categories.
If you were there last year, be prepared for a new experience. This will be a film-fest on steroids. (Don’t take this to mean that the promoters encourage the use of festival-performance enhancing substances of any kind.)
After a glowing review in Moviemaker magazine, we expect this to be bigger and better than ever this year. Don’t miss out. Get your entries in early and if you are coming to Burlington, follow this blog for clues about B&B’s and other great lodging in the area.