Digital video festival to color the county this summer

Venues include Bethel Woods, Tusten Theater and Roebling Bridge

By FRITZ MAYER

NARROWSBURG, NY — Filmmaking technology has advanced so quickly in the past decade that now just about anyone with a computer and a passion for video can make a movie. That technology led to the creation of DIGit Media Arts Exposition in Sullivan County in 2004.

Pat Carullo, one of the driving forces behind the event, said there are seven different venues this year, including the new amphitheater at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts.

“We’ll have three screens in Bethel Woods,” he said. The two on either side of the stage will be 15 feet by 20 feet, he said. “In the center, we’ll have a 30-foot-wide screen, so that space will really just rock.”

There will be screens popping up in seven locations around the county during the August 17 to 29 exposition, including the at Roebling Bridge. Organizers have obtained permission from the National Park Service to allow spectators to gather on the bridge. Screens will be raised on buildings next to the bridge and, according to Carullo, “the sound and the images will fill the river valley.”

Video killed the radio star

And what will be rocking those screens? Digital videos made by a wide array of artists, who have come to see computers as a tool to create digital movies.

“People begin some of these projects by doing conventional drawings, or film-based photography or even still photography,” Carullo said. “Then they sort of animate things. So our focus is to consider work that uses digital tools in the work-flow,” but not necessarily work that is made exclusively with digital equipment.

John Tomlinson, a festival judge since its inception, said the advance in technology has put digital movie -making within reach of ordinary people. “The ability to handle pictures and music and video is being built into the computers, and even though it may seem like a simple level, it can get pretty complicated and sophisticated,” he said.

The festival is sponsored by the Delaware Valley Arts Alliance and funded, in part, with a major grant from the New York State Council on the Arts. Organizers are now sending out a call for submissions. Submissions will be judged, and the most impressive artists will be invited to show their works.

Tomlinson, who has taught drawing at Parsons School of Design in New York City for 20 years, said, “We judge not so much on technical skill, though there is a lot of that. But it’s more story, narrative and subject. Some are straight humor; others are a little more surrealistic or romantic or experimental.”

The spirit of Podstock

But the festival is far more than the competition. Many non-competing producers will be on hand to share video content in an event called “Podstock,” a word that combines iPod and Woodstock. That will take place during the first half of the Sunday program at Bethel Woods, which is next door to the field of the 1969 original Woodstock Festival. For “Podstock,” media makers will share videos and music on their iPods through what Carullo called iPod docking stations. The organizers view “Podstock” as a spontaneous event borne of the spirit of Woodstock.

For those formally competing in the event, a $1,000 award will go to each of the “Best of Show” and “Best Experimental Work” categories. Narrative, Animation, Music and Sound, Youth/Student and Documentary category winners will be awarded $500 each.

Contributed photo
(Clockwise from back left) DVAA Executive Director Elaine Giguere, along with DIGit founding members G.H Hovagimyan, Marcia Nehemiah, Daria Dorosh and John Tomlinson, hold 2006 iDIGit buttons. (Click for larger version)
Contributed photo
DIGit event director, Pat Carullo, sports a video iPod running a clip showing the monument to the 1969 Woodstock Festival on Hurd Road in Bethel. A “Podstock” event will be featured on August 27 at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts. (Click for larger version)
Contributed photo
DVAA Executive Director Elaine Giguere, bottom left, discusses with DIGit commitee members the Roebling Bridge Environment Arts component of DIGit. G.H. Hovagimyan, John Tomlinson, and Daria Dorosh join the discussion along with Tony Brown and Kari Margolis of Bridge Arts, the building adjacent to the Roebling which will host some of the events. (Click for larger version)