In his first week on the job, Joe Amodei is at SXSW shopping for films to potentially present at the CBGB Film Festival in October, looking to ramp up the festival’s schedule to as many as 40 movies.
Amodei, who took over as CBGB Film Festival director last week, was immediately impressed with “Good Ol’ Freda” about the Beatles’ secretary and the documentary on Bikini Kill’s Kathleen Hanna, “The Punk Singer.”
“Everything from pure rock ‘n’ roll docs to punk docs to narrative films that have to do with that subject matter — anything that’s music-oriented,” Amodei says before starting his day with a screening of “Los Wild Ones,” a documentary on the Los Angeles label Wild Records.
The second CBGB Festival has been moved to Oct. 10 through 13 and Amodei expects to program films throughout the entire run. They are looking at three theaters in the SoHo area and may add a fourth, their intention being to run each film twice, and some of the larger ones three times. He figures the deadline for submissions will be around Aug. 1.
In addition to screenings — and Amodei is hoping to book world, U.S. and New York City premieres — the festival will have at least three film-oriented panels, which he intends to begin booking when he returns to New York after SXSW.
He will also begin discussion with video-on-demand platforms to bring a VOD element to the festival.
The owner of distributor Virgil Films, Amodei had “Just Around the Corner,” a documentary on the Light of Day Foundation in Asbury Park, N.J., in the first festival. That led to conversations with the CBGB board and, despite having never run a film festival, he was brought on board to run it.
“They were looking for someone who had been in the business for awhile,” Amodei says, noting his history includes stints with Turner and the former USA Studios. “I love these types of challenges and I’ve been to enough film festivals to know how not to screw it up.
“I think if we can get a good selection of films that deal with all aspects of music, I think we can have a really successful film festival. It takes a long time to grow, but that’s OK. There’s a natural connection here: People who go to music festivals are the same audience for (music) films. It’s the same as saying people who went to CBGB are the people who went to see ‘Sid & Nancy.'”