Third Annual Drunken Film Festival in Oakland gets a update

An image of a man in a white t-shirt against a wall in the evening while patrons sit in small clusters in a parking lot.
One of the organizers of the Drunken Film Fest, Arlin Golden, introduces the program for the evening.

The third annual Drunken Film Festival (DFF) is already underway, taking place in Oakland for one week October 11, 2020 through October 18, 2020. The donation-based festival playing outdoors at the Oakland Tribune Tower parking lot is giving festival fans a full movie going experience. 

Daniyel Turner, one of the organizers and head of public relations for the DFF, said the festival’s goal is to create a new experience for filmgoers for an overall unique social experience with films they wouldn’t get to see at larger film festivals.  

In previous years, DFF has taken place in local bars throughout Oakland. Since the festival began, they have had 512 bars around Bradford, West Yorkshire, UK and Oakland, CA served as theater venues. 

For 2020, there were some changes due to COVID-19. “We love being in our partner bars, of course. But sometimes the chatter of the bar can get a little much,” Turner said. There’s no packed bars with intoxicated patrons yelling at the screens. “That’s been really nice to not have that as much this year.” 

The event is COVID-19 compliant and there is enough space for social distancing, with hand sanitizer available. There are also temperature checks upon entry. Location support is provided by Endeavors Oakland to provide COVID-19 safe events space for the arts. The lot capacity is 60-70 people to safely socially distance for the event. 

There are no big budget Hollywood names, which makes the event feel personal and homegrown, including short films from around the world.  “Within about the time of what you would usually spend watching one movie, you can see 11 films and have 11 different things to talk about,” Turner said. The event roster features over 70 independent short films, playing up to 14 short films each day.  

This year is the festival’s first year using Twitch, an online streaming service designed for gamers and short-form programming. “Twitch really does offer unique opportunities, not only to reach people here in Oakland, but to reach people across the nation,” Turner added. Twitch stream also made it possible for people watching the films to donate to the filmmakers directly through Venmo, PayPal and CashApp.  

All of the events are donation-based. “We’re in it for the passion of film,” Turner said. “None of us make any money right now, but we still spend about four hours a day after work working on creating and organizing.” Support for the event is given by purchasing a poster, a pin or beverages. Beer and wine are served at a neighboring venue and can be brought into the festival.   

Films are submitted through a service called Film Freeway, where independent filmmakers can log-in and view which festivals are accepting submissions. “If you’re a filmmaker and you want to be in the festival, just keep your eyes peeled for our 2021 submissions,” Turner said. DFF says they will begin advertising for 2021 contestants in March 2021. 

Reservations for tickets are made at 5pm the day before the event through Eventbrite. Event details and updates are located on the Drunken Film Festival’s Twitter, Instagram and Facebook pages. There are a few tables and chairs available, though people are encouraged to bring their own chairs and blankets for the festival because tables and seating may be taken.

About Brandy Collins

Brandy Collins is a writer and public services advocate born and raised in the Bay Area. She is a 2019-2020 cohort graduate from the Maynard Institute for Journalism, a correspondent for Oakland Voices, a blogger and the funny one in numerous group chats. She is concerned with civic engagement and leadership development toward making public works more efficient for the people. Brandy is full of Scorpio magic and self-proclaimed Professional Aunty. Follow her on Twitter @gurl79 or Instagram @story_soul_collecter. View all posts by Brandy Collins →

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