Judging from the poster for the upcoming Royal Flush Festival in New York City, kicking off today, audiences are in for one crazy festival! In fact, Royal Flush’s parties are touted with almost as much zeal as the independent films being showcased. Now, in its fifth year, the festival—previously known as the E.Vil City Film Fest—features 13 film screenings, three art shows, several panel discussions, and of course, those rollicking wild nights. Festival director James Galus took a moment away from the mayhem to talk about this year’s event.
Todd Ayres (MM): It is clear that the Royal Flush Festival is laced with rock-n-roll influence. How is that integral to the success of the event?
James Galus (JG): Rock-n-roll is more than just an influence, it’s a reminder that art should be fun. It’s an atmosphere that our attendees expect from us that they simply won’t get with any other “film” festival. There is nothing “proper,” i.e. stuffy or pretentious about our event. We present quality independent films, panels, art exhibitions and parties for a very low price and instead of having a polite awards ceremony in a theater, we have it at NYC’s best burlesque establishment, The Slipper Room (see you there, this Monday, Oct 19th)!
MM: You have an especially eclectic roster of independent documentaries this year, ranging from the Vietnam-inspired After the Fall to lighter fare like Automorphosis, profiling eccentrics and their respective automobiles. How do you maintain that equilibrium of festival content?
JG: Equilibrium? We let other festivals worry about that. We focus on quality of work as our number one criteria for presenting films. We get so much work of varying moods that we can’t be overly concerned if we have enough of one vibe or another. We show the best work we have—period! This way, attendees know that no matter if we’re more heavy with dark narratives one year, such as the lush Out Of Our Minds, NYC-based comedies such as this year’s centerpiece film, Breaking Upwards or horror films such as this year’s Pig Hunt, featuring Primus’ Les Claypool or simply more fun documentaries like American Artifact and Abraham Obama, they’ll always get the best work that they can see in NYC hands down! Even our “Docs Under Duress” panel has some of the most brilliant documentary filmmakers in recent years, including Academy Award-winning director, Ross Kauffman (Born into Brothels).
MM: What stemmed your partnership with Royal Flush Magazine when adapting the festival?
JG: A mutual admiration for promoting great art, film and the love of having a really really good time. Both Royal Flush Magazine and Evil City Film Fest were on the same path; we just decided to share our toys and have the biggest party that our collective sandboxes could hold. We got tired of explaining that our previous name, E.Vil City Film Fest referred to our home turf, the E(ast) Vil(lage) and that we were not exclusively a horror festival, although we still get some of the best indie horror films seen in NYC!
MM: How will this year’s festival differ from previous years?
JG: We took on the Royal Flush brand and have expanded what we can offer our festival attendees. We now have even more films, concerts, art exhibitions, panels and parties for the same amount or less (our festival badges are only $60)!
MM: What can the average patron expect from the Royal Flush Festival experience?
JG: Many new friends and one massive hangover.