Five years! I’ve been told that’s a rare milestone in the film festival landscape—that the vast majority of fests never make it to a fifth year. And while I don’t know if we’ll make it to ten (or nine, or seven), I’m feeling pretty good about what we’ve accomplished so far.
This year I indulged in a bit of looking back—at the roots of this fest and the people and places who contributed to its creation. In 1994, some friends and I put on an event in which we screened short films, put up some artwork, sold zines, and had live music perform at a then-new venue on Caniff in Hamtramck, Michigan: Planet Ant Café. Over the years this space would evolve into Planet Ant Theater, later adding additional venues across the street that would become the home of Vidlings & Tapeheads Film Festival. As a fan of legacy and specificity of place (and someone afflicted with sentimentality), being able to connect these dots is a fulfilling feeling.
And the connections go deeper. In addition to celebrating five years of VTFF, 2022 also marked the thirty-year anniversary of the Public Access TV show my friends and I made, 30 Minutes of Madness, which is what we’d pulled shorts from at that Planet Ant Café event. I felt celebrating that show and the people behind it was a fitting way to celebrate the fertile ground this fest grew out of. So, yeah, I played some old videos my friends and I made at my own festival—but this had no affect on the selection of shorts in competition. Hopefully our audience agreed that we’d earned this indulgence. For our opening night, we screened the documentary 20 Years of Madness (itself shot ten years ago) and the new episode of 30 Minutes of Madness that film chronicled. We brought out some of the very folks who were part of that Planet Ant Café screening years ago. It felt appropriate and like a solid wrap-up of some loose, but connected threads. I also tipped my hat to the original Vidlings & Tapeheads Art show which took place in 2012 in Los Angeles, ten years ago. Lots of anniversaries!
Of course, we didn’t spend the fest only looking back. We celebrated the now, with a fantastic selection of brand-new films from Michigan and around the world. Local filmmakers Caleb Carl Nelson, Jack Cronin, Mike Madigan, Shane R. Hillier, and Lolo Katz Nosanchuk were in attendance and visiting from Chicago, we welcomed filmmaker Laura Lewis-Barr. This was the second year of doing a “mix-tape” approach to our film programming. Instead of screening Animation, Documentary, Fiction, and Made in Michigan in discrete blocks, we mixed them together throughout the day, which I find makes for a much richer and diverse viewing experience. Our art exhibition showcased local artists and our live music slate featured upcoming as well as established acts from Detroit and the Metro area. We made some new friends, saw some old friends, and had a great fest. On a personal note, I was moved to have friends fly in for the fest, from Pennsylvania and Georgia, who had never been to Michigan before. As always, I’m thankful to the folks at Ant Hall & Ghost Light who have made this festival possible, Seraphine Collective for curating our music, all of our coordinators and sponsors, and the audience who shared this special year with us.
I’m looking forward to year six…wherever that may be.
—Jerry White Jr. | Festival Director
Vidlings & Tapeheads Film Festival 2022 Wrap-Up
VTFF2022 Picture Parade
VTFF2022 Award Winners
30 Years of Madness
8:00PM Shorts Block 2022
5:30PM Shorts Block 2022
3:00PM Shorts Block 2022
12:30PM Shorts Block 2022
Vidlings & Tapeheads Art Show 2012
VTFF2022 Open for Submissions