New Moon Cinema
October 27, 2005 10:06 PM
Independent film has a new venue in the backyard of an unassuming West Oakland home, where SF State senior Jon Niemczyk and his housemates create an alternative to the typical college party.
“When we all decided to move in together, we wanted to actually have parties of some sort,” said the 27-year-old geography major. “But instead of the standard ‘let's get drunk, do drugs, and look at each other’ bashes you get bored of by the time you're in your mid-20s, we wanted to do something different.”
Niemczyk and his housemates Lance Phillips, Ryan Nosek and Marissa McCallum show independent films on a large, white plywood screen in their backyard. Their improvised theatre, which they call the New Moon Cinema, features films by cinema students, artists and musicians, as well as other creative people who may know very little about film.
Indie filmmaker Ethan Terry showed his first film at the inaugural New Moon Cinema event in September of 2004 and said he found it to be a really gratifying experience.
“It was a big ego-feed kind of a thing,” Terry said. “It was so intimate, it was a little nerve-wracking.”
Terry showed his first film “Alien Visitor from another Planet in Outer Space”? (the redundancy is intentional) to a crowd of around 40 people. It was shot digitally and did not command much of a budget, but how the film was made does not matter to NMC; so long as somebody has something to share.
“(Niemczyk) is trying to showcase different people,” Terry continued, as he lauded NMC for giving people a chance to share their art. “It’s strange that he put it together.”?
The party begins as people start rolling in around sundown, while visually arresting movies are shown on the screen with music dubbed over on a PA system. After people settle in, grab a beer from the keg, or some food from the house or off the grill, the featured filmmaker tells the audience about his work before it is shown. The event’s creators love the flexibility of the whole idea.
“It's a young event,” Niemczyk said. “We'll see how it evolves.”?
Neither Phillips nor Niemczyk have a background in film, but their lack of formal experience is one of the things that drive the duo.
“None of us know shit about film. We barely know any filmmakers,”? Niemczyk said. “It's just a good time, I guess, and people who show up to something like this are people who want to make an effort to be there, and not just get wasted on our dime.”
NMC’s modesty aside, people are starting to show up to these backyard viewings in larger numbers. The October 29 NMC Halloween party featured a live band and loops of gore-induced blood-feast zombie movies, including Peter Jackson’s campy horror classic “Dead Alive,” projected on the wall of their spacious living room.
Bloodsickle, the live-band in the backyard, played an eclectic mix of funny songs about drunk people with cameras and what messages the television sends them - ala Marsha Brady - while the costumed crowd drank their beers and laughed at the singer, as he twitched and jerked to the band’s frantic tempo.
Schedules of upcoming NMC events are available on their website at www.newmooncinema.com. Viewings are held each new moon 8 p.m.
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