If watching something titled “Juneau Thug Life” at a film festival isn’t appealing don’t fret — something else will be on the screen within 10 minutes.
That’s the core feature of the Juneau Underground Motion Picture Society’s Winter Film Festival that will show a collection of short local films on Thursday, Friday and Sunday at the Gold Town Theater. Pat Race, organizer of the festival now in its 21st year, said Tuesday “a real cross-section of the community” will be seen in 90 to 100 total minutes of viewing.
“We’ve got documentaries, music videos, little kid animation, narrative fiction, all kinds of different genres and topics and subject matter,” he said. “So we’ve got professional filmmakers alongside amateurs alongside kids working on a homework project.”
The lineup at recent festivals, held twice annually, has consisted of about 18 to 25 films, Race said.
The main guideline for festival submissions is they are “from Juneau artists or films with a strong Juneau connection,” according to the JUMP Society’s website. Race said he and Aaron Suring, the other co-founder of the festival, try to ensure every person submitting films has at least one screened as part of the festival lineup, which remains the same each evening.
While there’s “a pretty light touch” about weeding out films, some aspiring filmmakers still try to test those loose limits, Race said.
“One year we had a guy submit a 15-minute video of the side of a mountain as a test of to see if we would allow it in the festival and we just had a conversation with him about why we decided not to,” he said.
Also, if there are films with strong adult content “we’ll put that towards the back end of the festival in programming,” Race said.
“(That’s) so we can let people know so that they can leave at intermission if they have younger kids in the audience, but we try and make sure the first half of the festival is really family-friendly,” he said.
Admission is free to the festivals and Race said that, generally speaking, getting a seat even on Friday night isn’t a problem.
“We have had some shows that have been inexplicably packed,” he said. “But I think that in recent history we’ve been getting sort of a three-quarters theater turnout. So I wouldn’t say that it’s going to be a line down the street or anything.”
Among the titles and filmmakers in this year’s lineup are: “Nome Gold Rush” by Elias Kourtis; “Lituya Bay Research Project 2023” by Greg Chaney; “Nothing” by Josh Fortenbery and Paige Sparks; “Sewing the Same Seam” by Josh Fortenbery and Paige Sparks; and “Juneau Thug Life” by Last Frontier Aerial LLC.
Race said he is planning to screen at least one film of his own at the festival, but isn’t providing any sneak peeks.
“I don’t know exactly which films I’m going to put in yet,” he said, adding “I’m less comfortable promoting my work for this thing and more comfortable talking about what other people are making.”
Know & Go
What: Juneau Underground Motion Picture Society’s Winter Film Festival.
When: 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 9; 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 10; and 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 12.
Where: Gold Town Theater.