By Robert Moore
Presenting a unique short film about Greenwich Village is a tall order but last night the Greenwich Village Film Festival did exactly that. The first annual event, destined to become a staple in the West Village, showcased several new works that were pleasantly original and brought together a variety of perspectives, illustrating the Village at its creative best.
Capturing the spirit of those Villagers who worked, lived and played here since before the 1920s to today, were sixteen short films all with close ties—storytellers, subjects, photographers, editors and other visionaries—from Bob Dylan to Bloody Mary all in some manner under the spell of this romantic wonderland called “the Village.”
Host Steve Lipman’s charm during reel changes was bookended by a range of entertaining works including Steven Swirko’s tale of revenge for a bully in “Ketchup Kid” and Caroline Collins’ uplifting story of a lonely woman’s guardian angel in “Lighthead.” Several stories were told in images that spanned the borders of language—innately inclusive, like the Village itself.
Rick McKay, winner of the “Village Portraits” category, summed up a lot by pointing out that Greenwich Village is a place where the most creative personalities connect, party and thrive. “In their hometown they were the freaks” McKay said but in Greenwich Village they converge to create—be it film, theater, music, fiction or visual art—the most entertaining and introspective work of our time.
Clearly festival organizer Antonio Pandovan is on to something. Like the nuggets of culture and history awaiting re-discovery in the Village, this festival is fierce competition for the top spot over even the top local festivals. In fact, the GVFF brings such a cosmopolitan and global feel to these voices that it promises to be a major contender in the future as is its first edition.