directed by Steven Shea
starring Mike Broder, Sandy Martin, and Joshua Catron
“Cons” (shorter and hipper than “conferences”) are big business these days, but how do they come to be? This fascinating and exhilarating documentary follows us through the four days of Galaxy Con, a growing event that occurs in several cities including Ft Lauderdale, FL. Producer Mike S. Broder began this show in 2006 with 500 attendees, and he’s grown it to 50,000 participants and events in four cities. Broder takes this all very seriously as one must, and the amount of planning, crisis management and general chaos is clearly not something many people can handle. He and his wife Sandy Martin struggle with incompetent security companies, metal detectors that can’t see guns and keeping the loading docks clear are some of the backstage crisis the team handle. On the public side, counterfeit tickets, long lines and medical cries interrupt the flow. As Mr. Broder ruefully informs us “Every year there at least ONE seizure.” So far, he’s dodged that problem personally. And its work, the crew wear pedometers and a nineteen mile day is typical.
While mom and dad are keeping the lights on the johns clean, out on the floor there’s a fire hose of fun. Few attendees aren’t costumed in some way, and the outfits are fit for a galactic fashion show. Storm Troopers and X-Men and anime babes compete with profession wrestlers and Octopi Men and costumes that seem to fit no established movie roles. A giant merch floor moves tones of sci-fi tchotchkes and in ever side room and public space we see autograph sessions, panel discussions, and dance parties. Broder says: “We intend to keep you fully entertained from when the doors open util the doors close.” There’s even large Professions Wrestling program, with most grapplers in superhero themes. My absolute favorite scene has Geoffroy the Toys-R-Us Giraffe enters the ring to take on body slams and sleeper holds. But everything looks like fun, and kids love the color and action. If you’re a Con fan, you’ll see yourself and all your friends somewhere in the back. And if you’re not a fan, this movie is as good a sales pitch as you will ever see.
This film was presented as part of the 2020 Florida Film Fest