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?
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.
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.