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Snake Alley Festival of Film to Return

David Hightower
The Capitol Theater in Burlington, IA

The Snake Alley Festival of Film (SNAFF), like many events, was cancelled last year because of the pandemic. But organizers said this year the "Crookedest Film Festival in the US" will be returning August 5-8.

SNAFF is an Independent Film Festival held at the Capitol Theater in downtown Burlington.

Festival Director Tadd Good said the films that were entered last year will be shown at this year's festival, and no new submissions were taken.

"We had all of them already judged and scheduled and everything." Good said some of the films may have been shown at virtual festivals over the last year, but for a short film, nothing can compare to being shown on the big screen.

"You can't replace putting a movie on the big screen. Especially short films that don't really get that opportunity very often," Good said.

Good said a total of 124 films were entered in the Festival.

"We have something from every genre -- music video, documentary, horror, comedy, drama -- just about anything you can think of,” he said.

"I always try to sell people on the idea that if you don't like the film you're watching, it's going to be over in a few minutes and something completely different and brand new will be up. You're always going to find something that you like."

The festival will showcase four two-hour film blocks and a block of table reads each day. The final day will feature an awards ceremony.

After the final film block they also have a "SNAFF-ter" party each night with food and drinks sponsored by a local restaurant.

Good said tickets won't go on sale until a few weeks before the festival to ensure they're following the latest pandemic safety guidelines.

 What Makes SNAFF Unique

Good said there are a few other independent film festivals in Iowa, but he said SNAFF is unique because it features short films and screenplays.

He said short films give filmmakers a chance to create something they couldn't in a feature film.

"We get such niche and strange documentaries on the smallest little subjects," he said, adding that many of the films featured at SNAFF are only seen at festivals.

"Most of these films, they run on the festival circuit for a year or two, then they disappear where you can't see them ever again."

He said other festivals around the state tend to stick to one genre or niche of films.

Getting Back to Normal at the Capital

Good said the Capitol Theater has started holding public events again. He said the venue hosted a sold-out concert recently and it has several other events in the planning stages.

For example, the Old Couch Music Festival brings a variety of local and regional performers to Burlington in front of the historic theater. Third Street in front of the Theater is filled with couches for the event.

Good said another event coming to the Capitol is legendary professional wrestler Mick Foley's Nice Day tour. Good said it's a comedy show where Foley tells stories from his days as Cactus Jack, Mankind, and Dude Love in the WWE.

Good said other events are in the works as well.

Tri States Public Radio produced this story.  TSPR relies on financial support from our readers and listeners in order to provide coverage of the issues that matter to west central Illinois, southeast Iowa, and northeast Missouri. As someone who values the content created by TSPR's news department please consider making a financial contribution.

David Hightower is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.