Unique Minneapolis film festival allows audience to loudly jeer their least favorites

It's a film competition that’s unlike any other.

Most theaters demand you stay silent to respect the films, but Friday’s crowd at the Parkway, however, was expected to do the opposite.

Usually, if you don’t like a movie, you just get up and walk out of the theater. But, this first-of-its-kind event has another way for the audience to sound off.

Audiences at the Parkway were expected to "shout off" their least favorite films of the night.

“I don’t necessarily want to hit the gong, but it has to be done sometimes,” said Kerry Sommer, who co-founded the event.

“Scream It Off the Screen” is a short film competition that has more in common with The Gong Show than other cinematic celebrations.

Each movie will run for at least three minutes, then the audience has the chance to chime in by calling for the gong, which stops the movie and disqualifies it from winning.

Or, the crowd can keep their mouths shut if they like it and watch the rest of the film.

“The gong aspect is a fun aspect that will probably draw people in it, also gives filmmakers a pretty harsh critique which could also be a good thing, I think,” said Sommer, who founded the event with his fiancé.  

Sommer says he and his fiancé started hosting similar events in their backyard, but it has grown too big for their house. They haven’t pre-screened the movies, so they have no idea what they’ll see on the silver screen.

“Spontaneity is an exciting thing,” Sommer added. “Live, especially when you have a lot of people and they are watching and you don’t know what’s next, things can get pretty crazy.”

The winner will receive a check for a whopping $101, but the real prize for the audience is knowing their voices have been heard.

“I’m really excited to see what happens tonight because you don’t really know, so this will be cool,” Sommer said.

Filmmakers whose movies were gonged can rework their films and then submit them again if there is another Scream It Off the Screen event.

They can incorporate some of the feedback they received about their films.