After 11 months of rabid anticipation leading up to this year’s 21 film screenings, 4 free concerts, 2 charity auctions, 12 parties, 15 different Top 10 lists (selected by and published in as many different Park newspapers), 5 days of celebrity sightings, 10 prizes, and enough flashbulbs snapped to keep The Park alight through the next Winter, the 5th annual Park Interspecial Film Festival (PIFF) officially closed just after 3:00 a.m. on 6 Felis.
“It’s a wrap,” declared award-winning director, G.D. Zebra, as he and his entourage posed for one last picture before leaving The Park.
“How are you spelling that?” quipped S.L. Pomfret, a.k.a. Fish Rap, who hosted the first of four free concerts at The Park’s open-air theatre on 2 Felis.
The crowd of film fanatics ate up every moment and vowed to return next year in even greater numbers. As of today, that seems likely: according to PIFF organizers, the Festival has become such a popular Park event that it could, conceivably, become a week-long affair.
Tens of thousands of Animals attended the films at this year’s Festival, which ran the gamut from the controversial opening oeuvre, Stuffed Dogs Don’t Shed, to the poignant, Down Under tale, Joining Joey, which closed the event. In between, Animals were treated to some humour (Mum and Pup Shop, Willoughby Wallaby), some tragedy (Horse with No Mane), a bit of animation (Peter Popinjay), and some fantastic footage (best-documentary winner, Stag Nation).
In all, 21 films were introduced at the Festival, but, by no means, were they the only draw: the celebrity-studded parties brought fans out in droves and had photographers snapping pictures until the wee hours of the morning. The most notable (and outrageous) of these, of course, was the “InFESTation,” hosted at The Battering Ram Café by the producers of Fleas Ticked Off. That party is likely to be the talk of The Park for some time to come.
On the evening of 5 Felis, as the Festival drew to a close, PIFF organizers dealt with their last order of business: handing out the much-anticipated awards. As is usual for these events, the decisions were controversial, but well-received, particularly in the case of the Golden Cougar, the Festival’s highest honour, which was awarded to Hyenic Verses.