The Stonzek Theater brings back the true spirit of film festivals with L-Dub

Charlie Birnbaum fails to keep the hint of pride out of his voice when he speaks of the Stonzek Theater. A small art house venue nestled in the historic district of Lake Worth, Florida, has since 2011 been under Birnbaum’s management, listing among his main responsibilities the booking of independent films that have successfully made their debut at film festivals around the country and over the world. Birnbaum also refers with equal enthusiasm to L-Dub, the Stonzek’s own self-hosted film festival which he avidly states is for “truly independent filmmakers”.

Indeed, it seems that gradually film festivals have transformed their independent spirit into something more akin to a red carpet premiere. The Sundance Film Festival, which for many years was a beacon for independent filmmakers, has taken more of a Hollywood feel in the last few years, according to an article written by Hollie McKay titled “Robert Redford says Sundance, the corporate sponsored playground for celebrities, is for the 99 percent”. Here, McKay affirms that Sundance is now a sort of stomping ground for reality t.v. celebrities and corporate parties. If that’s truly the case, where does that leave the many independent filmmakers and their projects?

LAKE WORTH, Fl (2015, 1 October). Charlie Birnbaum in his office at the Lake Worth Playhouse, with a poster of last year's L-Dub Film Festival seen at left. Photo by: Adriana Delgado.
LAKE WORTH, Fl (2015, 1 October). Charlie Birnbaum in his office at the Lake Worth Playhouse, with a poster of last year’s L-Dub Film Festival seen at left. Photo by: Adriana Delgado.

Birnbaum does in many ways agree with McKay’s assessment. “Sundance isn’t really an independent film festival anymore, at least not like it used to be. The big studios like Fox and Sony go there to push the films made by their indie film branches, like Fox Searchlight and Sony Pictures Classics“, Birnbaum said. It’s this sudden shift in the sphere of many independent film festivals that motivated Birnbaum to come up with his own version of what a real film festival should be; a back to basics of sorts.

LAKE WORTH, Florida (2015, 28 September). Although films like "Amy" and "Tangerine" premiered at Cannes and Sundance, L-Dub will undoubtedly feature films of equal quality. Photo by: Adriana Delgado.
LAKE WORTH, Florida (2015, 28 September). Although films like “Amy” and “Tangerine” premiered at Cannes and Sundance, L-Dub will undoubtedly feature films of equal quality. Photo by: Adriana Delgado.

The L-Dub Film Festival was thus launched in 2010, and two years later, The Palm Beach Post wrote a feature article which referred to L-Dub as “not your ordinary film festival”. In the interview with the Post, Birnbaum said: “We’re looking to present a venue for people who would otherwise not get their film on screen in front of an audience”. 2016 will mark the sixth year of the L-Dub Film Festival, which will run from February 5-7. There is still plenty of time for independent filmmakers and film students to submit their work to be considered for next year’s entry under different categories, such as local and international films which will certainly broaden the scope of options for the public; additionally, documentaries, music videos and student films will also have their chance to be featured.  Anyone interested in submitting their work to the L-Dub Film Festival, visit The Lake Worth Playhouse/Stonzek Theater Website for submission details and guidelines. The general public will also have the opportunity to preview the selection of participating films by going to the L-Dub Film Festival Facebook and Twitter sites.

L-Dub is a unique opportunity not only for Palm Beach and Florida based filmmakers but also for international and nationwide directors to share their work with film fans in a truly independent film festival experience.

 

 

 

About ADRIANA DELGADO 67 Articles
Art Film File is a site for cinephiles ,who like myself, have a deep respect, love, and admiration for independent and foreign films of every era. Readers who follow Art Film File are for the most part adverse to the "Hollywood Blockbuster" theorem (although there are many good ones out there) showing instead a strong inclination to connect with films that explore topics such as life, identity and philosophy without necessarily following a neat studio-oriented narrative. In the past, much like it is now, many independent and foreign films get done many times with countless challenges. Small budgets, little or no outside funding and absence of willing distributors are some of the problems that many American and foreign independent filmmakers face regularly. Art Film File acts as a conduit in bringing these films, past and present, to the public's attention. Art Film File is also a site that displays detailed reviews about films they haven't seen as well as for films they have seen and wish to share their own views. I plan to include interviews with filmmakers and actors of indie and foreign films in addition to articles depicting topics of interest for readers who already follow Art Film File and for those waiting to discover it. Adriana Delgado Founder and Blog Manager of Art Film File

1 Comment on The Stonzek Theater brings back the true spirit of film festivals with L-Dub

  1. Well, yes. That’s a fair criticism of the movie. The book/film has also been cztriciied for distorting the actual experience of African American maids and their families. And one woman (a former maid) even brought a lawsuit against the author of the book for stealing her story…

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