Named after Royal Flush Magazine, a nationally-distributed killer rag that celebrates underground music, art, video games, pop-culture and indie movies with a strict, no-fluff stance, the Royal Flush Festival has more value than any other film festival in New York while doing so at a fraction of the cost. During the festival, Royal Flush Magazine will reveal its 2009 issue featuring on its two covers, Playboy founder and legend Hugh Hefner and rock goddess Joan Jett, respectively.
Royal Flush Festival welcomes its filmmakers, musicians and artists from across the globe to kick off the festival at a free Opening Night Bash presented by GBH on Thursday, Oct. 15th at Hiro Ballroom, located in the Maritime Hotel.
In addition to premiering great independent films every year, the festival presents exclusive live performances at Knitting Factory such as British psychedelic punk legends The Raincoats and a rare NYC appearance by Melissa Auf der Maur (Hole/ Smashing Pumpkins), her first since her 2004 debut solo album. Royal Flush Festival will sneak peek Auf der Maur’s self-produced new project Out Of Our Minds, a multi-media concept album featuring an album, comic and film directed and edited by Tony Stone. For a teaser of Out of Our Minds, visit www.xmadmx.com.
“I can’t think of a better way to share this multi-faceted creation than by playing Knitting Factory and screening at Anthology Film Archives as part of the hard rocking Royal Flush Festival,” said Auf der Maur. “My wicked new live band and I are determined to make a lasting and loud impression on New York City and friends of Royal Flush.”
Opening for Melissa Auf der Maur are Blacklist, Mike Edison and the Space Liberation Army featuring legendary guitarist Gary Lucas (from Captain Beefheart, Jeff Buckley) and Black Taxi. Edison’s show is based on stories of sex and drugs from his new book, I Have Fun Everywhere I Go.
Royal Flush Festival’s film component will open with Merle Becker’s ode to American rock poster art, American Artifact, on Thursday, Oct. 15, that will include a Q&A; with the director along with artist Tara McPhereson to be followed by a rock poster art show at Showroom NYC. The Centerpiece film will be Royal Flush Festival alumnus Daryl Wein with his narrative feature comedy, Breaking Upwards, on Saturday, Oct. 17. The festival will also feature “Evil City Horror Films” including Pig Hunt and God of Vampires. And the festival will conclude with Dean Bajramovic’s Gangster Exchange on Sunday, Oct. 18.
“The screening of my very first short film, Unlocked, at the festival in 2006 was a huge success and a great experience,” said Wein. “To be back with my first narrative feature couldn’t be more exciting. This is the coolest festival in town and it’s where I live. I’m proud to be a returning alumni of the Royal Flush Festival.”
Unique art events will also take place each day at Royal Flush Festival including the American Artifact Underground Rock Poster Show at Showroom NYC on Thursday, Oct. 15th, the outdoor Automorphosis Art Car Show and the Antagonist Art Show at Mindy Wyatt Gallery, both on Saturday, Oct. 17th, as well as appearances by legendary New York City activist and street artist, Ron English, and many others.
Below are the lineups for Film, Music, and Art at Royal Flush Festival 2009.
OPENING NIGHT– Thursday, October 15 – American Artifact: The Rise of American Rock Poster Art (Merle Becker) – NEW YORK PREMIERE
Director, Merle Becker chronicles the rise of American rock poster art since its birth in the ’60s. This film features interviews with renowned artists including Stanley Mouse, Victor Moscoso, Frank Kozik, Art Chantry, EMEK, Tara McPherson, Derek Hess, COOP, Jay Ryan, and more, as well as fans, collectors, and musicians.
A Rock Poster Art Show at Showroom NYC will immediately follow the Q&A; with director Merle Becker & artist Tara McPherson.
CENTERPIECE– Saturday, October 17
Breaking Upwards (Daryl Wein) – ‘Breaking Upwards’ explores a young, real-life New York couple who, fours years in and battling codependency, decide to intricately strategize their own break up. Based on an actual experiment devised by director/actor Daryl Wein and actress Zoe Lister-Jones, the film loosely interprets a year in their lives exploring alternatives to monogamy, and the madness that ensues. An uncensored look at young love, lust, and the pangs of codependency, ‘Breaking Upwards’ follows its characters as they navigate each others’ emotions across the city they love. It begs the question: is it ever possible to grow apart together?
CLOSING NIGHT– Sunday, October 18
Gangster Exchange (Dean Bajramovic) – NEW YORK PREMIERE – Hiro’s a Tokyo cyber-punk Yakuza with a simple mission: smuggle a toilet made of pure heroin to New York City. If he fails his boss will stick his sword where the rising sun don’t shine. Marco’s a muscle mountain enforcer working for a family of ex-commandos from the Bosnian war. He’s an entry-level thug with dreams of rising up the ranks. But in the Bosnian mob, promotion is spelled AK-47. When a bloody New York mob war erupts and Hiro and Marco snatch the toilet. It’s worth millions – if they can find somebody who can decipher the Japanese chemistry formula.
The rest of the film lineup (in alphabetical order):
Abraham Obama (Kevin Chapados) – Abraham Obama is a humorous and provocative look at an unprecedented political art movement. Street artist Ron English gathers a crew of professional pranksters and hits the road on a grassroots campaign to make public art and promote Obama’s campaign for the Presidency. Abraham Obama takes us on an unforgettable ride as the stories of Ron English unfold alongside musicians and artists such as Shepard Fairey, Jack Medicine, David Choe, Sam Flores, Will.I.Am, Morgan Spurlock and many others. Q & A with filmmaker Kevin Chapados & artist Ron English
Asylum Seekers (Rania Ajami) – NEW YORK PREMIERE – Work, family, relationships, deadlines, terrorism, information overload… When Modern Life is getting crazier and crazier, day by day, who wouldn’t think about getting out Leaving it all behind? Wouldn’t that be the only sane response to this mad world? Asylum Seekers is about escapism, about feeling the pressure and deciding on a radical solution. Our six characters can’t take their various stresses any more and are heading for the door marked EXIT. It leads to a deluxe, exclusive, luxuriously appointed mental asylum, an adult funfair where they can let it all go and be waited on hand and foot for the rest of their carefree lives. Or so it seems… The first twist is that there are limited places. Only one free bed remains. The competition is on. And there are many other surprises lying in wait for the unwary, would-be-insane patient… The ride out of the world they know has only just begun! Director Rania Ajami in attendance for Q&A.;
Automorphosis (Harrod Blank) – NEW YORK PREMIERE – This film looks into the minds and hearts of a delightful collection of eccentrics, visionaries, and just plain folks who have transformed their autos into artworks. Q&A; with director Harrod Blank and free Outdoor Art Car Show with appearances of cars from the film and the artists that drive them.
Friends With Benefits (Gorman Bechard) -NEW YORK PREMIERE – Meet Chloe and Owen: best buds since their sandbox days. Now, in med school as they attempt to balance the weight of their studies, his job, her band, their parents, their friends (their sanity), they find little time for relationships…but lots of time for the desire. One fateful day, a brave Owen proposes the “perfect” solution: Friends (read: no messy relationship stuff)…with benefits (read: insanely messy sex stuff). “Perfect,” that is…if the two hadn’t always been secretly in love with one another So what DOES happen when two close friends decide to secretly blur the lines dividing friendship and relationship…and the rest of their tight knit group of friends finds out? The answer: complications arise. A LOT of complications. In fact, to quote their therapist, “It’s brought down empires; imagine what it can do to a group of friends.” Director Gorman Bechard in attendance for Q&A.;
God of Vampires (Rob Fitz) – Professional killer, Frank Ng, has been contracted to murder a Chinese crime lord. When he attempts to complete his contract he discovers the crime boss is an ancient Chinese vampire, also known as Kiang-shi. Suddenly, the tables have turned. The professional killer – the hunter – has become the hunted. Director Rob Fitz in attendance for Q&A.;
H for Hunger (Neil Hollander) – NEW YORK PREMIERE – A feature film that explores and investigates the global epidemic of world hunger, presented & narrated by actor/writer/musician, Henry Rollins. Director Neil Hollander in attendance for Q & A.
Into Temptation (Patrick Coyle)- NEW YORK PREMIERE – A call girl goes to a priest to confess a sin she hasn’t committed yet: she plans to kill herself on her next birthday. Then she disappears and he goes looking for her, enlisting the help of an ad hoc congregation of troubled souls along the way. A story about forgiveness, based on Patrick Coyle’s award winning original screenplay. Starring Kristin Chenoweth (Wicked, Pushing Daisies) and Jeremy Sisto (Law and Order, Six Feet Under). Director Patrick Coyle in attendance for Q&A.;
Out of Our Minds (Tony Stone & Melissa Auf der Maur) – Three time periods, one connection: blood. The central characters are a woman and her car. The film follows her in a strange ritual that climaxes in a collision between past and future, crashing through the gateway to parallel worlds in the same forest. A fantasy world where a Viking heart, a car crash and a bleeding forest connect. Borrowed from mythology, the Hunt for the Heart is the eternal quest envisioned in OOOM. Conceived by musician Melissa Auf der Maur (Hole / Smashing Pumpkins) and birthed by filmmaker Tony Stone (Severed Ways: The Norse Discovery of America) this mini epic is proudly self-produced and shot in HD fuelled by solar power. After film Q & A with filmmakers Tony Stone & Melissa Auf der Maur, who will make her first NYC appearance in years with a live show at the new Knitting Factory in Brooklyn on Saturday, October 17th.
Pig Hunt (Jim Issac) It’s a killer monster pig movie. It’s a psycho-meth action biker film. It’s a city-dwellers-ambushed-in-redneck-hell survival flick. It’s a hippie sex film. Baby, it’s PIG HUNT – a darkly comic thriller with one seriously cool monster at its core. There’s even riveting performances by blues harp legend Charlie Musselwhite, and ex-Primus front man Les Claypool not only provides the strange soundtrack but also plays a vengeful tweaked-out Preacher. Director Jim Issac in attendance for Q & A.
This is Berlin, Not New York (Ethan Minsker) – NEW YORK PREMIERE This documentary traces the journey of fifteen young, talented New York Artists to Berlin. They meet and join forces with their German counterparts. Together, the American and German artists explore the artistic ideas and concepts while collaborating on original projects that push the conventional boundaries. Original musical scores and animated artwork complement and enhance this provocative examination of Western contemporary art and the ongoing tension between commercialism and creativity for its own sake. Q & A with filmmakers/artists Ethan Minsker, Un Lee and Ted Reiderer, plus Antagonist Art Movement Show at the Mindy Wyatt Gallery at 6:00 pm, prior to the screening at Anthology Film Archives on Saturday, October 17th.
War Against the Weak (Justin Strawhand) – Based on the book by best selling author Edwin Black, War Against the Weak is the untold story of American eugenics, a movement that attempted to breed a Nordic master race through the elimination of the “unfit’. In the first three decades of the 20th Century, American corporate philanthropy, combined with the efforts of the scientific, academic and political elite, created the pseudoscience eugenics, and institutionalized race politics as national policy. The goal was to create a superior, white, Nordic race and obliterate virtually everyone else. Under the Nazis, American eugenic principles were applied without restraint, culminating in the Reich’s infamous genocide. American eugenicists openly supported Germany’s program, with both financial and intellectual capital. Once WWII began, Nazi eugenics turned from mass sterilization and euthanasia to genocidal murder. War Against the Weak explores this complex relationship between American eugenics and the horrors of the Holocaust. We say, ‘never forget,’ and yet we have completely forgotten our own history. War Against the Weak is a gripping narrative of bad science at its worst, and a warning bell for the impending genetic age. Director Justin Strawhand in attendance for Q&A.;