In a world of Scorseses and Speilbergs, what sort of person decides to wake up one fine day, and found their very own film festival? That person would probably come from the periphery of the media world, from places like New York, Los Angeles, or maybe Chicago. Well, you’d be wrong in this case, because I had the singular pleasure of appearing in a one such film festival, founded in 2016 by Cindy Mich, resident of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Despite my semi-snobbish East Coast doubts, Ms. Mich, founder of the nascent Art is Alive Film Festival, showed a welcoming charm and insight that film festivals stride to portray. Well-versed from her successful radio show, Cin’s Chat Corner on Blog Talk Radio, Cindy Mich regards festival guests as family, welcoming one and all with great compassion and depth.
Situated in the garden dining room of the famous Little Italy eatery, Cha-Cha’s, the screenings beg for intimacy, like another character in the sort of movies you will find here. Like a typical theater, you are sharing an experience with strangers, but in this case you are seated in their living room. It’s akin to a private screening, and you are treated to a insight into the film makers that is usually reserved for investors only. Not bad for $15 a pop. (Incidentally, 2019 has already expanded into a much larger venue)
It’s a tad late for full disclosure, but I happen to win the Best Actor Award at last year’s Art is Alive Film Festival. But herein lies another hidden beauty of this Festival. The Founder has a genuine love for all the films presented, but abstains from the voting process. Deferring to faceless judges, she is at full liberty to express and congratulate you about your work. The actual winning is just one aspect. You’re there, so you’ve already won. To bastardize Vince Lombardi, winning is just another thing.
Lovers of independent film will find Art is Alive a particularly satisfying experience. She has an all-too-rare knack for discovering who the principal talents really are and what they are about. She captures the passion and commitment required to make a quality film in today’s hyper-competitive market, and that alone makes for a worthy experience. Were Gertrude Stein a movie maven, she’d drop by, I think.
This is a festival about real creators and artists, not celebrities, and Cindy Mich makes you proud to be the latter. Highly recommended for film makers and film fans alike. Screenings are in New York City.