2007_01_arts_flipbook1.jpgImagine a film festival without the, well, film. Sounds like a crazy idea, but that’s exactly what Andrew Jeffrey Wright envisioned when he came up with the International Flipbook Festival four years ago. The ingenious showcase of more than one hundred flipbooks has finished its tour of the UK and Philly to come to Brooklyn’s Secret Project Robot, hosted by Little Cakes.

Last night’s premiere was a fanciful evening of dorksters, Christmas-tree lights, and the resident black cat. Instead of lard-flavored popcorn like at most movies, there were vegan cupcakes and champagne. The flipbooks were set out on various barrels, each with their own light fixture dangling dangerously close to your head. Grouped together by traditional film genres (animation, documentary, experimental, and live action), the best flipbooks in each category were awarded.

2007_01_arts_flipbook3.jpgThe quirky concept and its cute setup make the International Flipbook Festival eccentric fun. The handheld, homemade flipbooks feel more innovative than the onslaught of computer-generated animation that you passively sit through and take for granted in today’s films. Unfortunately, you have to flip through a lot of books to find the ones worth the risk of paper cuts and calluses. Tacky as it may seem, a glitter-covered one called Escape was among the best. Thumb through it and you’ll discover what's going on inside the head of a man donning an old-fashioned top hat and moustache. Another great one is a reinterpretation of American Gothic, in which the sourpuss wife gives a sensuous kiss to the viewer before sullenly turning back to her pitchfork-carrying husband.

Your best bet for a great experience at the International Flipbook Festival would be to go on its closing party on February 11, when there will be a “Double Organ” Extravaganza. Mudboy and Kocho-bi-Sexual will be performing, and Peter Fuller is expected to show up with his “amazingly artful espresso-making machine.”