Monday, December 9, 2013
By DENNIS PERKINS
COMING TO LOCAL SCREENS
Sunday: "Shut Up and Play the Hits." After selling out last month, Space presents an encore showing of this rousing musical documentary about the epic four-hour final concert of the band LCD Soundsystem. Bring your groovy shoes!
PORTLAND PUBLIC LIBRARY
Wednesday: "Reportero." The library's Summer Documentary Series brings in this gripping film about the intrepid staff of the Tijuana Zeta newspaper, whose investigations into drugs and corruption bring it into serious danger in a country where more than 40 journalists have disappeared since 2006.
Sorry, didn't mean to startle you, but it's time once again for the fourth annual KahBang Festival of Music, Art and Film (kahbang.com), happening Thursday through Sunday. (Plus, "KahBang" is really fun to say.)
With four days of concerts and exhibitions, there's plenty going on to lure us southerners up to Bangor. But we're here to talk about movies, and so are co-director Josh Gass and PR director/co-film programmer Chris Rudolph, who are excited for festival-goers to experience the way KahBang film has evolved.
"At first, KahBang tried to mimic other film festivals like Sundance or even the Maine International Film Festival," said Gass, who takes over this year from festival co-founder Josh Whinery. "They're huge, and do tons of films. But we've been developing a vision more like the South By Southwest Festival, with three different components of KahBang going on at the same time. Integrating all three together has been beneficial to us and the attendees."
"The film side of KahBang has always been like the kid brother tagging along, and now he's making a name for himself," he said. "Tying the films more closely to the rest of the festival is an opportunity for people not really used to going to film festivals to see it firsthand. Film and music festivals are so different, with different audiences; we're trying to bring in people who wouldn't necessarily come to a film festival, plus bring in films that will attract a traditional film festival audience."
To that end, KahBang has centralized the movies in an air-conditioned tent right in the middle of the action ("so people don't have to schlep to venues around town," Rudolph said), and this year's roster includes the acclaimed music documentaries "Pass the Music" and "Down: Indie Rock in the PRC" as well as the Maine premiere of the trippy drug romance "Irvine Welsh's Ecstasy," which Rudolph said, "is killing it at festivals -- it's young, cool, beautifully shot, and will appeal to people who come to KahBang."
In addition to music-related films, KahBang boasts an eclectic lineup of other films in categories such as Mainestream (Maine-made), Gen-Next (for first-time filmmakers), LMFAO (for up-and-coming comedy directors), Short Films and two offbeat favorites, So Bad It's Good (featuring affectionately remembered stinkers "Waterworld" and "Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome") and a tribute to the cinematic awesomeness that is Christopher Walken.
With some 12,000 people attending last year and KahBang continuing to evolve, Gass and Rudolph couldn't be more optimistic about the future. "We've grown the festival, so we're not begging people to come any more," said Gass. "I think that means were doing something right."
Dennis Perkins is a Portland freelance writer.
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