And so, I bring my coverage of the fourth annual Flyover Film Festival to a close. After 22-plus hours in theaters, 12 articles, and 16 film reviews, I cannot stop trying to find subtlety and depth in everything around me.
The four-day Festival came and went in a blur of squeaky seats, torn tickets and audience questions about the endings of movies. All things considered, I had a wonderful time. The program contained a lot of diversity on different themes and subjects, and I felt I came away with great recommendations and even some new favorites. I had a chance to speak with the festival director Ryan Daly after the last screening and asked about the variety, whether they had any thematic plan laid out or brought the best they could find. He said it's just "what speaks to you when you watch it." That there wasn't a whole big idea but rather "how the pieces came together to form a theme."
During the last film, Kid-Thing, a despairingly lovely movie about a troubled young girl's disparate relationship to everything around her, I began to piece together a greater narrative for the Flyover Film Festival as a whole. The runaway couple in Sun Don't Shine, William trekking through rural Kentucky in Pilgrim Song, the debased Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights, the ridiculing aloofness of the characters in The Comedy, the gypsy circus performers of The Unknown, destructive Annie in Kid-Thing and even the three boys locked away from their ferry for the night in the New Orleans of Tchoupitoulas; all of these characters have some manner of exhibition and study of cultural/societal outcasts. Thinking on the very name of the Flyover Film Festival, making light of being a flyover state, ignored between coasts, I could not help but think that the festival found an identity alongside these cinematic pariahs. I brought this up to Daly as we spoke, asking him about the possibility of this premise. He smiled, appreciating the correlation and said that they did feel like a counter point to the bigger festivals, feeling overlooked as a flyover state. Though, he said, they did not initially mean to create a greater narration, "the films work together well with the festival."
I agree with him completely. These films, whether I liked them or not had not only a greater contemporary feeling about them, but also an identifiable reflection of Louisville.
Luckily, I did enjoy most of them. Great moments abound in my memories of the last several days. If this were a juried affair and had awards to win, I would put my vote to The Comedy. Such a defiant balance between abrasive comedy and existential doubt, I waxed perhaps a little too enthusiastically philosophical in my review, but I maintain it was the best film I've seen so far this year. A difficulty remains in recommending it, however. I connected personally with the subtext and laughed, unruffled by the jokes, but I completely see how many will find it insulting, baffling, or just plain boring.