NEXT Fest Recap: Cocks, Ass & Good Movies

Posted by Franki 1 month ago in Events, Film, Music

 

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Well it happened and it was one of the most rank and exciting expressions of intellectualism and talent I’d seen in a long time. Sundance’s NEXT Fest for the third year in a row set the bar for how art in many forms can merge and create something more impactful as a whole.

The films were fearless and full of cultural importance. The bands played their asses off. The talent show was cute. The guest speakers were entertaining and insightful. The music videos were striking, beautiful and original. The comedy hit hard. Most importantly, the crowds came out in droves and were left affected by what they saw. NEXT Fest did it’s job in leaving it’s mark.

Coming from the point of view of being drenched in the day-to-day of the operations, it was great to see everything come together. The setup of the festival presents it’s own challenge year-to-year where you essentially start from scratch. The films must come first and the rest of the program evolves out of that. We don’t have the advantage of a normal music festival with market research, this is the opposite mentality, this is how can we paint the most beautiful picture.

While I thoroughly enjoyed the whole program and it was amazing to see contemporaries create projects that made it on the big screen (shout out Neon Indian and Blood Orange!) and performances from Sunflower Bean and Shamir, it was Sunday night’s program that really was the shining example in my mind of the kind of magic NEXT Fest can create.

Kicking the night off with the grotesque and borderline live action Ren & Stimpy-vibe short film, Royal, the directorial debut of Flying Lotus really came out the gates shooting bazookas. Essentially a fucked up version of porn set against the backdrop of family love (I won’t ruin it for you), it established the tone for a night that was only gonna get weirder.

Immediately following Royal was the Los Angeles premiere of The Greasy Strangler which is a meditation in cocks, murder, family rivalry, more cocks and… grease. It’s really funny and repetitive. You live in this fucked up 70’s inspired world of catch phrases and the pursuit of acceptance for a good 90 min. The pacing feels to me like a techno song translated into a comedy film (I totally understand if that explanation makes no sense). The one-two punch of short and full length, both featuring their share of cocks and ass was essentially just the lead up to the queen diva herself who tied it all together… Big Freedia!

Now I’ve seen Big Freedia play a bunch. Usually she stands out as being the only one on stage speaking a particular language, but this evening of programming was about as close as you could get to being ‘appropriate’ for her brand of bounce. She came out like a hurricane, dancing up a storm and drumming up ass from all directions. Most of the songs are about eating dick, so thank you Sundance, that was honestly the most fun non-sexual sexual experience of my life. Freedia kept the positivity high and The Ace became my favorite theatre to watch porn.

Now we just gotta figure out how to top that next year! Check out some photos below and see the full set HERE.

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