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6th Annual Indie Street Film Festival in Red Bank Begins September 8 with In-Person and Virtual Events

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Indie Street Film Festival
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The 6th Indie Street Film Festival in Red Bank, NJ begins Wednesday September 8

The 6th annual Indie Street Film Festival in Red Bank, New Jersey begins Wednesday, September 8.

The direct of the 2021 Indie Street Film Festival and artistic director of the Indie Street Institute Jay Webb and acclaimed filmmaker Talia Lugacy joined host Doug Doyle on the WBGO Journal to talk about the event.

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Doug Doyle/Zoom
WBGO's Doug Doyle interviews Indie Street Film Festival director Jay Webb (left) and Talia Lugacy

Webb says the festival promises to be the most expansive offering of films, events, music and live arts they have ever been able to offer. The festival which has events in Red Bank and Eatontown will include in-person and virtual screenings as well as drive-in showings. Webb has been there since the beginning.

"Mostly directors and writers like Talia were not getting a real fair shake when it came to distribution, so Indie Street started as a cooperative of independent filmmakers and independent directors to try to share their audiences, share their resources and give it a group distribution instead of self distribution. Then it sort of evolved into bigger events because getting people connected around these films through associated events seemed to be a real way to have an audience to be truly passionate about a film and become champions of that film. The Indie Street Film Festival was born from that, just community arts and gathering around whether its doing murals, the Indie Street Institute does community murals, we have the film festival, we do community cookouts with environmental initiatives. Right now, we are at least able to do so safely whether it's through virtual screening or through our drive-ins or even in theaters if it's done in as safe manner as possible with COVID protocols in place."

Talia Lugacy's film This Is Not a War Story is a film about the private psychological struggles faced by young anti-war veterans today, featuring improvised performances from actual veterans from New Jersey. Lugacy, who also stars as "Isabelle" in the film, says having local veterans in the production was extremely important to her.

"I would never have undertaken to make the film another way. It was such a no-brainer to me. Yes it was going to be enormously complicated but it would not be worth making the film unless it could made that way. It would be unthinkable. They have to be present in it, their voice has to be present in it, their stories and the reality of that."

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Talia Lugacy
Talia Lugacy's film "This Is Not a War Story" is part of the 6th annual Indie Street Film Festival in Red Bank

Lugacy says the interest in documentaries and realism is not new but in times of crisis, even prior to the pandemic, the hunger for that is very real and has to be addressed.

"People can see through the gloss of most movies and that might be momentarily okay but there is a very distinctive, very urgent need for something real to speak to us on a deeper level."

Webb praised Lugacy's film and is thrilled that This Is Not a War Story will be a part of this year's festival. Webb says the film is not just a documentary, but a hybrid-type work that took careful time to produce.

"There is a paper arts studio that's one of the main locations of the film that actually exists. That ambition to create a film that has real war veterans in the film and then try to use some improvisation to get the lines that you want on the producing and directing side, we were really impressed just with that because the production value was amazing. The story is beautiful and impactful but thematically, this is one of those films that we fill everyone should see."

Lugacy stresses her work and others are produced with small crews and limited budgets and the word "independent" can be confusing for audiences.

"What determines what's an independent film or not is a little bit of dicey concept because of a lot of studio films have kind of manufactured this Indie Film brand. They put films out there. They finance them from start to finish. They kind of seem like independent films and audiences can't necessarily tell the difference. And there is a little bit of collaboration where it comes to institutions like Sundance which are really behemoths and they use to serve independent film but they don't really anymore. They really are serving more corporate type of interests. This is why it's so important for organizations like Jay's industry to exist because there is a real on the ground need for independent film support."

The festival opens at 7pm in-person with the critically acclaimed movie Zola, a dank comedy based on a notorious Twitter Thread.

You can see the entire interview with Jay Webb and Talia Lugacy at https://fb.watch/7UqMJOqp2Y/.

Doug Doyle has been News Director at WBGO since 1998 and has taken his department to new heights in coverage and recognition. Doug and his staff have received more than 200 awards from organizations like PRNDI, AP, New York Association of Black Journalists, Garden State Association of Black Journalists and the New Jersey Society of Professional Journalists.