The Arty Semite

Movie Night at the Bike-In

By Renee Ghert-Zand

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Carlton Evans

Carlton Evans likes to shift paradigms. Whether it’s the way Jews daven together or the way people make and watch films, he’s known for bucking convention.

An early organizer of San Francisco’s Mission Minyan, a lay-led, non-denominational, highly participatory, egalitarian, queer-friendly and halachically oriented community, Evans has more recently focused his energies on co-founding and directing the Disposable Film Festival.

Evans views the grassroots character of the Disposable Film Festival and the centrality of its social and ecological awareness as a natural progression from his efforts with the Mission Minyan, where these values are also front and center. In this regard, Evans is especially enthusiastic about the bike-in screenings organized by the festival, which will be taking place in cities across the country throughout August. In addition to valet bike parking, audiences at the bike-ins enjoy snacks from local sustainable food vendors. “There is no rule that says that you have to drive to the movies and eat unhealthy, mass-produced popcorn and candy while watching them,” Evans said.

The Disposable Film Festival began in 2007 when festival co-founder Eric Slatkin showed Evans a $20 disposable video camera purchased at a drugstore, and he realized that “if you give people these tools, they’ll come up with whole new ways of thinking about films and making films.” Inspired by this notion, Evans and Slatkin put out a call for entries in January 2008 and received 100 submissions, with 15 ultimately being selected for screening. Now, the Festival serves as a showcase for films running 10 minutes or less that are made with non-professional gadgets such as cell phones, web cams and Flip devices. At the 2010 event, which ran from March 4 to 7, there were 1000 submissions, with 12 countries represented in the final program.

Through partnerships with film festivals and events around the globe, the Disposable Film Festival has spread to cities such as New York, Paris, Brussels, London and Beijing. Evans, in constant negotiations with newly interested parties, expects the Festival to be in a total of 20 cities by next year. Along with his team of volunteers (Evans, too, is a volunteer. His day job is at the Moxie Institute working with filmmaker and Internet visionary Tiffany Shlain.) Evans has been able, as he puts it, “to re-think the whole culture around film-going.”


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