Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Omaha Film Festival 2008 – Monday, Day 1

Jeremy’s been trying to land a particular film for a long time. The opportunity to screen a film that almost nobody in the world has seen before, and giving that opportunity to the OFF crowd months before a film gets its theatrical release is very satisfying. We do a great job of finding independent features, docs and shorts for the festival, but often it takes as much if not more work finding special screening films that will fit in with our program, and that will hopefully get some good theatrical buzz in the future. We screened “Half Nelson” at one of our Summer Film Series events over a month before it got theatrical release and it went on to win several Independent Spirit Awards and got Ryan Gosling an Oscar nomination. And the people of Omaha had a chance to see the film before most of the rest of the world. So back to Jeremy. He’d been working with new distributor Overture Films to get the new Charlize Theron film “Sleepwalking” and through persistence (and if you know Jeremy, you know how painful that can be) he was able to land the film.

So after an entire day setting up the OFF booth at the Westwood Cinema 8, we gathered our crowd to hear Mayor Mike Fahey give our festival introduction speech (with news crews rolling) and we kicked off the festival with a bang.

After the film, we all headed to the Pizza Shoppe Collective to enjoy lots of pizza, beverages, a fantastic live performance by Thousand Houses, and the opportunity to hang out more with Shane Black.

I couldn’t have asked for a better few days. The fact that I’ve slept about 8 hours total is actually worth it. And we’re just getting started. If you’re reading this and are any where near Omaha, we’ve got a tremendous week coming up and we’ve got a lot of the filmmakers coming so check out the website and put your schedule together. And if you see me, nudge me because I’m probably about to fall asleep.


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