The Block film & art festival kicks off Friday


By John Zsiray | October 4, 2017


After seeing an increase in attendance in each of the past six years, The Block Film and Art Festival’s organizers hope to double attendance again this weekend.


Mason Wendell, producer of The Block, is excited to see the annual event created by the late Alan Hashimoto flourish into something that incorporates all media of art during the two-day event.


The Block will pack 60 films into three Downtown Logan venues and add six music venues, over 30 art galleries or installations and seven panel discussions.


Wendell hopes to have an economic impact on the local business scene.


“We are trying to push attendees into downtown and get them through the doors of shops to spend money,” Wendell said. “It is about community, and is open to all. We want to allow people to come out and celebrate and have a good time.”


During last year’s event, organizers tallied nearly 5,200 attendees. This year they hope their attendance trend continues and attendance doubles again, as they have spent more time developing a stronger marketing presence across the valley and among artists and filmmakers, Wendell said.


Although they don’t have exact numbers, Wendell believes a lowball estimate of 5,000 attendees creates a huge impact on the Downtown Logan business scene.


“We are absolutely hoping to double the attendance this year. We are a 501c3 (nonprofit) endeavor,” Wendell said. “All who organize this are volunteering their time.”


A newcomer to this year’s festival is Robotics@theBlock, a Vex Robotics competition in the parking lot behind the theaters at 30 South and 100 East, Wendell said.


The competition furthers the reach of The Block into the STEM and STEAM arenas, giving them a chance to incorporate more participants that might not generally attend the film and art fest.


“This year is the first year for the robotics, and it is meant to be a statewide competition in the future and a way to bridge the STEM and STEAM movement of our arts and their technology,” Wendell said.


Over the past six years, Wendell believes The Block has established its reputation as a premiere film festival and that the cultivation of films and various events will continue to strengthen the Logan Film Festival.


“The Logan Film Festival is still alive, and it will still remain the film festival,” Wendell said. “It is cool to see how it has grown in six years and what it will continue to transform into in the future. We have kept (Hashimoto’s) vision alive, and it encompasses his idea and concept.”


Attendees of the two-day festival will have an opportunity to take part in various art installations that will be place in and around Center Street as organizers hope to collaborate and engage people within the community.


For nearly three weeks, Marquetta Johnson and Jeff Mather have worked with students at Mountainside Elementary and Fast Forward through the Arts Access program to create an art installation that will be highlighted during The Block.


The installation will sit in the L-shaped alleyway behind the White Owl and Book Table, Johnson said. The Mendon students’ work will be fashioned into a sound wall to help draw people into the installation.


Johnson, a self described mixed-media upcyclist, is excited for those attending The Block to see the students’ work and to witness the “art bombs” that will be placed around town.


“The kids upcycled CDs and sequins and buttons to create something really, really beautiful,” Johnson said.


Mather, who worked with Fast Forward students, said the creative process was a unique one to watch as three departments within the school banded together.


In his seventh trip to Cache Valley, Mather said the students and art teacher Andy Worrall came up with elements that fit with an autism theme to help raise awareness.


Within the installation, a “noodle gauntlet” comprised of nearly 350 pool noodles will provide a secure environment similar to a big hug, Mather said.


“Not only are we going to have the art from the elementary and high school, but there will be musicians mixed into this playing,” Johnson said. “They are creating sounds that reverberate off the space and in the alleyway, and it will make it even more acoustically pleasant.


Kenzo Tillitt, a recent Mountain Crest graduate and an Arts Access assistant, has been the engine providing a youthful resource throughout the entire process, Johnson said.


“Being here from the valley, he has a connection with these students,” Johnson said. “We are not just making art; we are trying to raise them up and develop skills that art has a way of lending itself to.”


Article from The Herald Journal