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Is Fishtown the next epicenter of the independent film world?
James Jackson certainly hopes so. Jackson heads up Films at the Fish, a “new distribution model for local independent filmmakers” based out of the Walking Fish Theatre on Frankford Avenue.
“We have been seeking and have accepted the submissions of filmmakers of all genres and production styles to create variety format nights (a set of shorts, an intermission, and a feature length film),” Jackson told Geekadelphia. “The content producers get their percentage of the runtime as a percentage of the door. We produce and run ads from local businesses in order to support our work.”
The event, which Jackson admitted was brewing in his head for about 2 years, began to truly take shape after the Walking Fish Theatre began employing projection technology in its live arts shows.
“I proposed the movie nights to Stan & Michelle, then the board, and the rest is now history,” Jackson explained.
Films at the Fish officially debuted in June 2013. Five to six nights per week, film buffs and creators alike gathered at the establishment and were immersed in the freshest fare from Philadelphia’s independent film scene. “God’s Country, Off Route 9” was the month’s main feature, with short films like “To Infinity…and Beyond,” “1 Min. Zombie Short,” and “Magniloquent” rounding out the offerings.
“We’re trying to change the audience’s expectations of The Fish by offering something ‘every night’ (except Monday),” Jackson said. “From the content producers’ side, we’ve had very positive reactions to the idea. Those that have responded have all agreed that it is a great opportunity for them to get their work out there.”
People who missed the June offerings needn’t worry; Films at the Fish is a continuing offering at the theater.
“Films at The Fish is an ongoing effort and we’re just getting started,” Jackson stated. “July, August, and September will see a continuation. We’re feeling out how exactly the shows will be programmed and run, but in general, we’re continuing with 5/6 nights per week, we’re continuing local independent concentration, and we’re continuing to plan on shorts and feature length at all times. For July, the variety format will continue.”
Those interested in attending Films at the Fish should note that their attendance benefits their local area filmmakers. Proceeds from ticket sales, which run $6 apiece, go to both the theatre and Films at the Fish content producers.
“Each content producer’s cut would depend on their percentage of the run time,” Jackson explained. “For example, if we have a 120 minute show and you made a 12-minute piece, you’d have 10% of the door coming to you at the end of the month.”
Films at the Fish can be enjoyed from Tuesday through Sunday of each week. The event starts at 7PM each night; Sunday’s showtime is3PM. More information can be found on the Walking Fish Theatre’s site.