Cultural fragmentation begets bizarre niche film festivals

If you pay attention to film news, you may have noticed a brouhaha this weekend over the Telluride Film Festival, one of the first stops on the road to Oscar contention and a recurring favorite for independent filmmakers. But back in May, you might have missed out on Blobfest, a festival that only screens movies similar to The Blob.

As told in a recent profile from The New York Times, Blobfest is one of the many niche film festivals springing up around the world. The Times has assembled an impressive list of these weird and unusual events, ranging from the Feline Film Festival (which has come a long way since its first year) to mockumentary haven Mockfest. This is probably a result of the Long Tail-ization of interests and the ability for small audiences to thrive in the digital age, but it still gives critics like Peter Bogdanovich “a headache just trying to think of possibilities.”

We saw some of this locally too; among all the various outdoor film festivals this summer, many had very specific themes, such as “flight” or “work.” Plus, the annual festival held by the cinema-focused University College group always rallies around a specific, unusual topic. Frankly, it’s fun to run with these somewhat silly and specific premises, especially when they can have positive effects (as the Times mentions for the Anxiety Arts Festival). Maybe we too will have a chapter of the Feline Film Festival one day.

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