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发表于 2024-07-25 02:07:56 来源:粉妝玉砌網

In 2014, Grant Duffrin and his friends saw a Facebook event for Shrekfest: a five-day celebration of all things Shrek. It promised an onion eating competition, a roaring contest, and Smash Mouth cover bands. Duffrin was excited to attend, as were the thousands of other people who responded to the event.

As Shrekfest drew nearer, Duffrin realized that the event was fake. But now that the idea was in his head, and clearly of interest to a wide range of people, he took matters into his own hands to make it a reality. He planned to incorporate everything advertised on the fake event page into real-life Shrekfest and hold it in Madison, Wisconsin, where fake Shrekfest had been suppose to occur.

"The blueprint was laid out for me," Duffrin said in a recent phone interview with Mashable. "It was like someone left their car running and I just jumped in the driver's seat and took off."

2021 is a big year for Shrekheads, as it is the 20th anniversary of the release of Shrek. The DreamWorks classic had its world premiere on April 22, 2001, and its theatrical debut on May 18 of the same year. It went on to win the first Oscar for Best Animated Feature; received three sequels, as well as a Puss in Boots spinoff; and was adapted into a stage musical (which you can now stream on Netflix). In short, Shrek was a juggernaut.

As Shrek became a bigger franchise, its later films couldn't always compete with the charm of the original. What had started as a clever send-up of Disney fairytale tropes risked becoming a parody of itself. But during this time, Shrekdeveloped a new, weird life on the internet. You'll never be in short supply of Shrek memes, be they parodies of Smash Mouth's All Star or bizarrely edited images of the great green ogre himself.

It makes sense, then, that Shrekfest, one of the greatest contributions to Shrek fandom, was born from a weird internet joke itself.

Run by Duffrin and 3GI Industries (a pseudonym Duffrin uses to "sound legit"), Shrekfest is now in its eighth year. For one glorious day at the end of summer, attendees slather their faces with green paint, don their best Shrek costumes, and gather in James Madison Park to celebrate the tale of the world's greatest ogre. Yes, there are still the onion eating and roaring contests. There's also live music, free beer, and an evening screening of Shrek. People of all ages attend the festival, and some Shrekfest-goers have even flown in from other countries, making Shrekfest an international affair.

"It's just like a family reunion if you got amnesia and forgot who your family was."

Shrekfest is a party, and a chance to connect with other Shrek fans. "It's just like a family reunion if you got amnesia and forgot who your family was," said Duffrin.

Highlight videos of previous Shrekfests capture the event's strangeness and its sense of community. A young boy participates in the roar contest and the crowd cheers him on. A group of people in Shrek costumes do a conga line in the rain. Two men face off in the finals of the onion eating competition, eating not one, not two, but two-and-a-half raw onions each.

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It's definitely weird, but it's a purposeful and supportive weirdness. "For a few hours a year, we can create a place where it's okay to be weird, to be different, to be yourself, and to hang out with others who feel the same way," the Shrekfest website promises.

Shrekfest moved online in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and it will be virtual again in 2021. "In some ways, it made sense, doing Shrekfest online," said Duffrin. "Someone described it as a homecoming because the festival was born online in a meme, so to have the event online made sense."

While the feeling of in-person connection was lessened somewhat when Shrekfest went virtual, the show went on, with 3GI Industries showcasing fans' video and art submissions. Duffrin already has ideas to make this year's Shrekfest even more interactive, and he is interested in running virtual Shrekfests alongside live ones in the future.

In many ways virtual Shrekfest, with its crowd-sourced short films, costumes, and fan art, bears a resemblance to another Shrek-related project from 3GI: the 2018 crowd-sourced film Shrek Retold, directed by Duffrin.

Crowd-sourced remakes of popular movies have existed for a while, where directors choose a movie, break it down into parts, and then assign each part to a different creator to remake it in whatever way they see fit. They then stitch all the parts back together to create something that is both familiar and new. Some examples include Star Wars Uncut and Our Robocop Remake.

Duffrin had always been interested in making a crowd-sourced movie and figured that Shrek would be the perfect choice. He reached out to creators in 2014 about the project but didn't get any responses. In 2017 (multiple Shrekfests later), he tried again and received much more interest. Over 200 creators worked on Shrek Retold, each getting a small snippet of the movie to recreate in whatever way they liked. The mediums in the film vary drastically, with everything from 2D animation, claymation, live action, and puppets making it into the mix.

The resultis bizarre. It's absurd. It's absolutely bonkers. But it's also an incredible feat of collaborative storytelling and a testament to Shrek's staying power. When watching Shrek Retold, viewers get to see how these many, many different creators interpreted their portion of Shrek. The artists involved took the liberty to re-contextualize Shrek staples: for example, Shrek draws the "Keep Out" sign for his swamp in MS Paint, and his fight against Lord Farquaad's soldiers is transformed into an epic anime battle. Even Smash Mouth's iconic "All Star" is reimagined in an acoustic cover by Fauxny, Kevin Gonring, and 3GI. It's moments like these where you realize, sure, you're watching the familiar plot of Shrek play out, but you're also seeing it through an entirely new creative lens.

While Duffrin takes risks like adding an entirely new dream sequence showcasing Shrek's inner turmoil (at the 47:00 mark) to the film, these risks add new depth to Shrek, which is something that can be said about the rest of Shrek Retold and even Shrekfest itself. Both ventures not only celebrate Shrek's story, but they also contribute to a new story: the tale of Shrek and its fandom, as well as its legacy rooted in internet culture and memes.

"Everything we do is sincere, because we're working our asses off to do this kind of thing," explained Duffrin about the seriousness of the project. "It's not easy to run a festival. To put that much work into something, it's gotta be sincere. The attitude we have is to try and deliver excellence."

This attitude seems to be shared by Shrekfest attendees. In footage of the roaring and onion eating contests, no one is halfheartedly doing their best ogre roar or ironically eating a raw onion. "They're genuinely chomping those onions as fast as they can because they want to win the title of onion eating champ. And when we're watching Shrek, we’re not ironically quoting the movie. It’s all genuine because it’s a good movie," said Duffrin.

The same goes for creators involved in Shrek Retold: it's clear a lot of hard work went into the film, whether it was animating scenes or making costumes or creating original music. Aspects of the movie do draw on meme culture, adding another layer to the film's strange appeal, but people are far too committed to the project for it to just be brushed off as a simple joke.

Duffrin and 3GI Industries are already looking to the future. This year's virtual Shrekfest will be held on Friday, September 10, with the hope that 2022's Shrekfest can once again be held in person. On top of that, Shrek 2 Retold will be coming to YouTube in the near future. While no release date has been officially announced, it's clear from the teaser that fans can expect more of the same insanity and creativity that made Shrek Retold a viral hit. The long-promised Shrek 5 may be a ways off, but fan-made creations like Shrekfest will keep the love for Shrek going, just as they have done for the past 20 years.


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