When local rapper David "Vigatron" Norris originally met local rapper Mark "BKA Watts" Watson at an open mic night at the B-Side Liquor Lounge in Cleveland Heights, the two discovered they not only shared a love for spoken word and hip-hop, but also for film.
"We performed there a bunch and we had a respect for each other and started seeing movies together," says Norris, who has teamed up with Watson to present Levels Film Fest, a short film fest mostly devoted to music videos. The festival takes place on Thursday, Nov. 17, at Tower City Cinemas. "When I proposed the idea for a film fest about a year or two ago, he was into it. This is an opportunity for directors, artists and actors to have their shorts shown on the big screen at Tower City Cinemas."
Norris says he initially was more interested in film than music. But he started out making albums and performing live at various rock and hip-hop clubs around town and developed a reputation for theatrical live shows. Now, he's hoping some of that success will carry over into the film festival.
"I thought I would get music out of the way and then focus on film," he says. "I really want to get into film and acting so people can see that side of me. I've directed a few promos and short vignettes over the years. That's as far as I've been behind the camera. Eventually, I want to direct some bigger projects."
The film festival, which takes place from 7 to 9 p.m., will feature 17 short films. Eleven of them are music videos and the other six are skits. After the screening, participants and patrons will converge at the Take 5 Jazz Lounge for an after-party where Norris says he hopes they'll discuss "future business."
Tickets are $10 for the film fest and $10 for the Take 5 event, but only $15 for both events. Find more info at levelsfilmfest.com.