For the last 13 years, the Kinemastik International Short Film Festival has been showing some of the coolest independent films from all over the world, and this year, it’s back for more. Over the last couple of years, the NGO behind the festival has also brought international musicians like Patti Smith and Bonnie Prince Billy to our shores, so they’re definitely no strangers to thinking big, and pulling it off in style.
This year, the festival kicked off on Sunday 23rd July at Birgu’s Cafe Riche, with Bigger Rock People, a children’s film festival which is now entering its eighth year. The one-day special event also featured a special appearance by M&M, the cutest little rock duo, made up of siblings Max, 10 and Molly, 12. While BRP was curated for older children, the festival organisers want to make sure no one is discouraged from attending. “We encourage all children to come, from 3 to 100 years old!” they said.
The main location for the Kinemastik International Short Film Festival, which properly kicks off on Thursday 27th July, is the beautiful Garden of Rest in Floriana. Overlooked by many, this deconsecrated cemetery-garden is maintained by the NGO Din L-Art Ħelwa, who have often collaborated with Kinemastik. And yes; the venue, overlooking Marsamxett Harbour, is just as hauntingly beautiful as its name implies.
Thursday’s programme sees the screening of infamous director Alejandro Jodorowsky’s latest film, Endless Poetry. Three years ago, the KISFF had hosted the famed director’s son, filmmaker and actor Adan Jodorowsky. This year, the film’s producer, Xavier Guerrero Yamamoto, will not only be present, but will be introducing the film and marking the beginning of the KISFF.
Over Friday and Saturday night, the main programme of award-winning short films will be shown. The programme also includes three Maltese works, by Alex Camilleri, Matthew James Ellul and Angelique Muller. As is this case every year, the audience will be asked to vote for their favourite film screened over the two nights, with each and every attendee joining the ranks of the jury.
If you’re more into experimental and avant-garde films, a second screen, Neck of the Woods, will be tucked away in a more secluded part of the garden ready for you to discover it.
And if the stills from some of the films on the programme are anything to go by, it’s going to be another great year of variety.
The screenings on Saturday night end with Krautrock Karaoke Vol. 36, a self-described “long, loud and anarchic night of disciplined hedonism and indulgent improvisation of a strictly kaleidoscopic order”. In less awesome-sounding words, a long list of musicians have been invited to perform numbers from bands like CAN, NEU! and FAUST, and this year’s lineup includes some of the alternative scene’s coolest kids; YEWS, Alison and Ian from Beangrowers, Daniel from Clandestines and Clint Spiteri from Dolls for Idols to mention but a few. Check out what went down at a previous Krautrock Karaoke, and get ready for the loud hype.
A similar version of Bigger Rock People festival, Little Rock People will be closing off the festival in the cutest way possible on Sunday. Fresh quiz and a quiz competition will kick the night off, and after a programme of short films (followed by a similar opportunity for the kids to vote for their favourite), 10 year old MC Zen Kono, the Master of Ceremony for the evening, will not only be announcing the winner of the LRP, but will also end the night by spinning some tunes from Kung Fu Panda and Toy Story. Count us in, that sounds incredible!