According to Tony Novelli, modern Americans have few opportunities to publicly grieve. The nonprofit group Many Mouths One Stomach, of which Novelli is a board member and co-organizer, has sought to provide an environment for openly expressing sentiments about death at the annual All Souls' Day Procession. "Your Soul Is Showing," the third annual All Souls' Film Festival, will feature publicly submitted videos that elaborate on the themes of the procession. The festival is currently scheduled to take place Dec. 9 and 10 at The Screening Room, 127 E. Congress St. Each showing is $6. For more information, visit allsoulsprocession.org.

Who's submitting the films?

People throughout the community, as well (people we've located) as outreach that we've done throughout the country. Basically, the three themes that we're following are videos about this (year's) procession, videos about public rituals of this nature and also videos ... of ancestors. All of the things are pre-screened right now, and it's going to be a juried contest, as well as just a general submission by the people in the community--(we'll) see how that all works out. This is the first year where we're trying to go into a really, kind of, official festival. It's probably going to end up running three days instead of two.

It's a juried contest. Are there going to be prizes?

There'll be three prizes--three prize levels. We're still working out exactly what they are. The first prize will definitely be a special presentation in the Arizona International Film Festival, a producer's pass and all of that stuff, and free access to all the films. That'll be part of the first prize, anyway. We're just trying to find sponsors for this and stuff right now.

A lot of these films are going to be submitted by people in Tucson?

People we saw videoing during the procession, (we) gave 'em a card. We've been going to every festival we can around town--and there have actually been quite a few lately: stuff at the Loft, stuff at (Hotel) Congress, various places--letting people know, showing little pieces of short films. We have a little teaser that's up on the Web site that I ran in the Loft Friday-night cinema thing that they do on the first Fridays, to some acclaim and a few hoots--(chuckles) but that's the way that crowd is. A lot of outreach, you know, on Web sites and stuff across the country--which is just sort of the first year that we started doing that.

There are many firsts this year. What are you trying to do with the festival?

The intention is to have something that works out to serve the dual purposes of, really, being a good, tight festival, on one hand, as well as providing a forum for the community to basically reflect back on how it experienced the procession. There really needs to be sort of a community, grassroots--I mean, your daughter is 9 years old, wants to shoot video and become a videographer some day. Her film is just as welcome as somebody who's won festivals. It's a bit of a balancing act, because usually they take themselves really seriously in film festivals, and I'm decidedly against that as being the dominant force. There needs to be a shared purpose. So that's a big part of it.

Tell me about Many Mouths One Stomach.

Many Mouths One Stomach, which is a budding nonprofit that's been an organization, in some form, for about 10 years now, is formalizing itself. And one of its goals is to--and it might be through the video festival--create some sort of an international procession network of some kind. Some place where people can share information about doing these kinds of things--how they approach it, what their philosophy is, what the different kinds of festivals serve. ...

(We're) using the video festival as a way of building some of that connection. Send 'em a DVD of all the stuff that we've got in at our festival. Part of our intake form is saying that we can use the footage that's submitted in our own promotion. So part of what we're going to do is send a DVD up to Portland, to the folks that do that thing, and hopefully get something in return from them. And then maybe next year, who knows how big this thing could get? It might end up being at multiple points during the year. But what we use is that sort of cross-fertilization of these things that are happening all over the place to inspire our own process and deepen our own process here.

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