Steve Glavan and his family have an unusual hobby, and an unusual way of bringing family and friends together every year – they put on their own film festival.
The Pleasanton resident is part of an extended family, spread across three states, with multiple members who are amateur filmmakers.
“We always seemed to approach our home movies as ‘productions,’” says Glavan, “so I guess it was natural that we would develop a family event around it.”
The festival began eight years ago as a one-time event.
Rod Garlick, Steve’s brother-in-law, presented several family members with a short script and challenged them to make a film of their choosing, each using the same script. Glavan was intrigued by the challenge and the concept.
“It was constructed like a MadLib, with blanks throughout the script. We could make a film with whatever storyline we wanted, but the script had to be followed verbatim, except for the blanks.”
When the family came together to view the five films submitted that year, they were amazed to find that each filmmaker had interpreted the script in entirely different ways. They voted for their favorite and presented the winning director with a trophy. They also decided that this quirky event needed to become an annual tradition, and the GarlickDance Film Festival was born.
While the mini-festival is fairly informal, there are rules. Films can be no more than twelve minutes in length, and they must be “family friendly.”
According to Glavan, the original idea of the MadLib style script also evolved into a more concept-based approach this year.
“Every entry has to include certain pre-determined spoken lines and visual elements somewhere in the film. Those become the common reference points that viewers can watch for. It makes it fun. For instance, every film this year has to include something being spilled, but how that gets integrated into each film will be entirely different.”
Glavan just finished filming his entry for this year’s festival with the help of several family members and friends who agreed to be his actors and crew. Typically, the directors keep details of their GarlickDance film secret until the screening, but Glavan will say that his film this year is a “fantasy-comedy.”
The screening of this year’s films will take place on July 28, with California participants gathering at in Pleasanton for the local showing.
Simultaneously, family members and friends in Oregon and Utah will gather to watch the films. At the conclusion of the festival, everyone in attendance at all three locations will vote and participants will connect via Skype to announce the winner of this year’s GarlickDance Film Festival.
Steve Glavan has some advice for other families looking for a way to connect.
“Not everybody will choose to put on a film festival,” he says, “but every family has interests that can draw them together. Maybe our tradition will encourage others to find something they can take hold of as a family and make their own.”
Contact Steve Glavan at firstname.lastname@example.org.