When he's not busy running his production company, Cool Hand Pictures, Justin Morales heads the Silk City Flick Fest, which is running for its third year starting Thursday, October 13 until Sunday, the 16th. Morales' goal for his festival is to bring the "[disparate] elements of Hartford together," and to "unite the city." To this end, he's selected a variety of venues in downtown Hartford to host over twenty five screenings, including the Connecticut Science Center, the Wadsworth Atheneum, and the Hartford Public Library.
The theme of the festival is that of steampunk, which the Mark Twain House, also in Hartford, has recently explored. To kick off the festival, Morales will be showing the silent short, Steam Driven, which is directed by Michael Marchand, one of the festival's artistic and graphic designers. Marchand's film will be followed by the similarly themed City of Lost Children by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, director of Amélie.
To tie into the season, Morales claimed said he had to show some horror films—there are four. Morales believes the feature selections this year are the festival’s best so far. In particular, he is proud of the documentary, Hood to Coast, about runners who start at Mount Hood and finish at the Oregon Coast. The film was shown at South by Southwest (one of the most prestigious American film festivals), and Morales is also teaming up with the Hartford Marathon to offer discounts to any runners who might attend the doc's screening.
The festival is the biggest yet, but Morales said that this year was actually the easiest to set up, due to the openness of the Hartford venues towards the project. In reference to this unexpected convenience, Morales told me it was like filling a "swimming pool that needed water." For next year, the festival will have its name changed to better suit Hartford and Central Connecticut—it started in Manchester, which is known as the “Silk City”—and any suggestions are welcome. Visit www.silkcityflickfest.com for program information and ticket availability.