Those readers who may still bemoan the fact they were not able to catch any screenings at the recent Savannah Film Festival (or as many screenings as they might have liked) may be thrilled to learn that another opportunity has unexpectedly arisen for them to view a selection of new short films on the mighty big screen of Broughton Street's Trustees Theater.
Actually, unexpectedly might be the wrong descriptive term to use for the SCAD Student Film Showcase, which takes place at Trustees on Nov. 21, as this compilation of recently completed work from the art school's esteemed film and video department has been planned for some time. While this compilation is both completely free and open to the public, it is not being publicly advertised. So, if one were to peruse the Trustees Theater's website or marquee, they'd find no hint that such an event is even taking place.
Yet, it is.
In fact, at the end of every scholastic quarter, the Trustees plays home to a similar showcase. That means proactive locals (and tourists alike) can attend a fun and informative evening of student films regularly throughout the year - at no charge.
These showcases are a chance for SCAD's aspiring filmmakers to gather and see their work (and the work of their peers) from the past quarter displayed at a much larger size than they've likely yet viewed it, through the school's state-of-the-art 4K digital cinema projection system.
Because each quarter's batch of work is a mixed bag, the staff won't know just what they'll be showing until right before the event begins. That means they are not able to offer much in the way of specifics as to what audience members will be exposed to this time around (or any other, for that matter), but if the opportunity to catch rising new talents in all aspects of film production - from live-action dramas to computer animation - sounds intriguing to you, this is a can't-miss proposition.
The Fall Quarter Student Showcase of Films runs no longer than two hours and begins at 7 p.m. Again, admission is free to the public. There's a good chance they may also have popcorn, candy and soft drinks available at the concession stand.
The only other independent film event taking place in our area over the next seven days (that Film Scene knows of) is Nov. 27 at the Sentient Bean Coffeehouse on the southern end of Forsyth Park. That night, the Psychotronic Film Society of Savannah hosts its annual "Turkey for Turkey Day" screening.
A tradition for the past several years, the PFS takes advantage of the fact that one installment of its regular Wednesday night film series at the Bean always falls on the night before Thanksgiving. And since the organization's mission statement is to present the widest variety of both extremely good and extremely bad motion pictures it can find, the night before that holiday is the perfect time to unleash what always threatens to be the "worst" feature they'll show all year.
This time around, it's the infamous, laughably bad, low-budget Indonesian-made action clunker "The Stabilizer."
Originally shot in 1984, this hysterically inept piece of Z-grade cinema sat on the shelf for a few years before finally securing a brief theatrical release, after which it faded into almost complete obscurity. Over the past decade, however, it has enjoyed a small but fervently loyal cult following based around its abysmal acting, nonsensical script and constant stream of onscreen gaffes and continuity errors.
Beloved by fans of movies that are "so-bad-they're-great," it's a guilty pleasure for devotees of such "Golden Turkeys," but its hokey charms and overwrought clichÃ©s are outrageous enough to bring a hearty laugh to even the average viewer uninitiated into the world of "trash cinema."
Essentially a mishmash of boilerplate secret agent, kung-fu and exploitation film themes, it stars the New Zealand born "actor" Peter O'Brian (who's only made a handful of other films, all in either Indonesia or Turkey) as the titular Stabilizer, a supposed A-List covert operative who arrives in Thailand to break up a dastardly heroin smuggling operation run by his old nemesis, Greg Rainmaker (who previously killed the Stabilizer's fiancee by kicking her to death with his unusually sharp shoes).
Throw a kidnapped scientist and his attractive daughter into the mix, along with some poorly staged dirt bike chases and plenty of automatic weapons fire and clumsy fist-fighting and you have a bona fide classic of atrocious celluloid.
Oh, did I mention that since this was made in 1984, "The Stabilizer" wears what appears to be a cross between pajama bottoms and MC Hammer pants, and one of Rainmaker's henchmen looks exactly like an Indonesian Mr. T?
So, if you're a diehard fan of the forgotten, flawed films the "Mystery Science Theater 3000" TV series specialized in unearthing, give this turkey a try. No heckling the screen allowed, but it's a safe bet everyone in the audience that night will have nonstop wisecracks running in their head from start to finish, so come prepared to laugh out loud.
Showtime is 8 p.m., and admission is $6 for immature audiences only.
See you at the movies, and don't forget to turn off that cellphone.
Jim Reed directs the award-winning Psychotronic Film Society of Savannah. Read more from Jim on Savannah's film scene at filmsavannah.com.