Aspiring young directors have a choice these days: Drop a serious wad on film school, or put the dough into making a feature, where they get a real-world, sink-or-swim education. Scary Cow, our town’s pioneering filmmaking co-op, offers a middle path. For a monthly fee, members are encouraged to pitch projects, form crews, and collaborate on short films. Every four months, the latest crop of finished works is publicly screened, with the audience voting for its favorites. Forget about some crummy certificate — all prizes are cash, meaning the winners instantly have the start of a budget for their next films. Now in its fourth year, the co-op has a full head of bovine steam. The Scary Cow 15th Indie Film Festival offers the usual entertaining mix of jagged first efforts, precocious genre pieces, and crisp miniatures that may well be the seeds of future features. Don’t just be there for the beginning of someone’s career — give ’em a push. What’s in it for you? A reminder that watching movies is a participatory act.
Sat., Nov. 5, 3 p.m., 2011