It's the most chilled out film festival you've ever seen. Classic Christmas flicks projected inside a garage, milk crates and chocolates provided (BYO cushions), kids and dogs and drinks welcomed, free entry.
"I love the idea of bringing stuff to the street. It started with the idea of, instead of doing Christmas lights, we'd show Christmas films," said organiser James Powditch.
Powditch, a celebrated artist named among the finalists of the Archibald Prize several times, is running his '12 Nights Of Christmas Film Festival' from his garage in the inner-west Sydney suburb of Annandale. With a whiteboard listing the film's program -- from Miracle On 34th Street on December 13 to The Nightmare Before Christmas on December 24 -- placed outside to catch the eyes of passers-by, a large screen strung up inside the garage, a projector beaming movies through the evening and a stack of milk crates placed for the convenience of film fans, the festival is the artist's contribution to some holiday cheer.
"I'm an absolute mad movie nut. My art is almost always named after movies or has a movie theme," Powditch told The Huffington Post Australia on Sunday night. This reporter, on a walk home from the pub, stumbled across the garage as preparations were being made to host Die Hard -- a Christmas classic.
"Often I show shorts from 8pm, kid-centric ones like old puppet animations from the 1960s, Little Drummer Boy and Frosty The Snowman. That gets the kids in, then we show a film later," he said.
"We've had Batman Returns, the most demented Christmas movie ever made. We've shown Elf, The Grinch."
This weeks 12 nights of Xmas Street film festival program. Roll up to the corner of Albion and Nelson Streets #annandale From 8pm every night till Xmas, grab a milk crate on the footpath and enjoy! #12nightsxmasfilms #christmaslights #christmasfilmfestival #innerwest #sydney #australianartist #studio #streetcinema
While there may be some copyright issues, his festival is delighting nearby residents. Powditch's home, a converted warehouse, is just a block back from the famous Annandale Hotel and he says foot traffic is good.
"I set it up last Sunday. We showed Edward Scissorhands and one young a couple stopped and watched the whole film, they sat down and held hands. Other films, it was just us watching, but once the school holidays started we've had kids here every night," he said.
On the night HuffPost Australia sat down, around 20 people were glued to the screen watching Bruce Willis take on criminals on Christmas Eve. A box of Celebrations chocolates was passed around, cushions were dragged up the street to plop on top of provided milk crates and almost nobody left before the final credits rolled.
"A lot of people don’t have time to stop these days, everyone's moving so quickly. It's nice when even people stop for a few minutes and then move on. Even if nobody stays, people always stop and watch for a few minutes at least," Powditch said.
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