Brainwash Movie Festival press release

As a volunteer and (eventually) partner in Oakland’s Brainwash Movie Festival from 2004 to 2011, I assumed responsibility for a large percentage of the operation of the festival. (Here’s some press we got in 2005.)

In 2011, I helped step up our promotional efforts with more advertising, partnerships, and active press outreach. This is the press release I wrote that year for the festival, which has always been characterized by a surreal and irreverent vibe based on its origins in the Cacophony Society (long before I was involved). I had fun with it, but it’s pretty weird.

For immediate release
August 16, 2011
Contact: Dave Krzysik, 415-273-1545

Brainwash Drive-in Bike-in Walk-in Movie Festival Returns, Bigger, Better, and Weirder

17th Annual Festival on 9/3, 9/9, 9/10 in Oakland to feature short movies, live video and entertainment, food trucks, and more

The New York Times says the Brainwash Movie Festival “pirat[es] a piece of that old Hollywood magic and challeng[es] conventions on the role of public space in the process.” (“Now Playing, a Digital Brigadoon,” 7/29/04, Chris Thompson)

“We project movies onto a tarp in West Oakland,” counters festival director Shelby Toland.

Brainwash, known to show movies that really know they’re movies, features in 2011 a love story set in a post-global warming dystopia, a science-fiction period piece set in 1972, a six-minute Japanese historical epic comedy, animation, puppets, and much more.

New in 2011: The 17th annual festival kicks off on September 3rd at 8 pm with popular local food trucks and a video feed from the Black Rock desert, followed by several short movies and a longer feature, How to Make it in Filmmaking, by Shanna Maurizi. (Visit for a full listing of each night’s program.)

On September 9th and 10th, food vendors will open for business at 1357 5th St. starting at 7 pm, and each unique 90 minute show of original short movies will start at 9 pm. In addition, all three nights will feature unpredictable live performances from NIMBY, an East Oakland art space.

“Brainwash has a great mix of original humor, experimental art movies, innovative animation, and short live-action stories with high production values, and some new surprises in 2011,” notes 2011 festival judge Jason Gohlke. “The moviemakers are unique and skillful storytellers. You don’t want to miss Brainwash this year.”

Advance tickets are just $10 per person per night OR $40 for a Festival Pass for Two, which gets two people into all three nights of the festival (three nights for the price of two). Buy advance tickets at or at the gate for $12.

This year the festival returns to 1357 5th St (Mandela Village Arts Center), which means intrepid moviegoers can drive in, bike in, walk in, or take BART in to the festival. The movies will be projected on an outdoor screen, and the soundtrack will be available through your FM stereo (as well as played on amplifiers). “It’s a lot of fun, or my name isn’t Shelby Toland,” claims Toland. “Also, bring your favorite chair!”

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