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Experimental Film Festival comes to Gainesville for ninth year


Allison Bittiker watched about 500 films in five months.

The Florida Experimental Film Festival is coming to Gainesville for its ninth year, and Bittiker, managing director, watched the majority of the about 800 entries.

The annual festival devoted to avant grade, experimental and underground cinema will be Friday through Sunday and will screen shows at The Top Secret Space, 22 N. Main St., and screen one Saturday film at Hippodrome State Theatre, 25 SE Second Place.

Bittiker, along with a group of 10 to 15 people, narrowed down the hundreds of entries for the festival to 71.

“Our main goal is to provide an opportunity to bring experimental film and video to Gainesville,” she said.

Bittiker said the filmmakers define what is experimental. It can range from experimental narrative, animation, documentary and other outlets.

Bittiker said a special feature of the festival will be a 35 millimeter film print screening at 1 p.m. Saturday projected on a large screen at the Hippodrome.

The festival includes parties following each screening. The after party Sunday will be at The Jones B- side.

About 20 filmmakers are visiting for the festival, Bittiker said, and they will attend all of the after parties.

“It’s a chance for people to mingle with the filmmakers after the film events,” she said.

The festival is always held in Gainesville, and Bittiker said the college audience has its advantages and disadvantages.

“It brings in a new audience all the time, but it’s constantly a challenge where we have to find that audience each year,” she said.

Tickets for the festival are $5 per screening, and festival passes are $25.

Bittiker said people will get access to uncommon films that they wouldn’t even see at alternative cinemas like the Hippodrome.

“I would ask that people don’t prejudge what is avant-garde and experimental film before they come out,” she said. “I can assure you that it’s actually delightful, usually very humor-filled work, very clever and usually entertaining.”

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