Friday, February 22, 2008

Omaha Film Festival 2008 – Thursday, day 4

Day four is in the books, and what a day four it was. We screened three feature films, two documentaries, three short film block and had our inaugural screening of an OFF the EDGE film.

Every evening after the festival (insert chuckle here – it’s actually much later than “evening”) I put together a director’s list that Jeremy, Jason, Julie and I carry around with us at all times that indicates all of the start and end time of every film, and highlights which films have filmmakers in town so that we can coordinate Q&A sessions. After putting the Thursday list together we knew we were up against it. It seemed every fifteen minutes had a film starting or stopping and of the nine screenings, six of them had a filmmaker in attendance so we were spread pretty thin. As a rule I prefer to have all three directors doing an introduction talk before each film and where possible, having all three of us available for the Q&A. Well, as everyone knows that was there, most films had just one of us, and not always for the whole time. It’s always fun participating in a Q&A or giving an intro talk, only to have your ear on fire listening to all of the chatter on the walkie because 50 other things that need immediate attention are happening. All that being said, day four was a huge success.

I’ll start with the biggest crowd of the festival so far. Derek Baker brought in a sold out crowd to the premiere of “Ulterior Motives” and it was very much a party like atmosphere. The second biggest crowd of the festival (also a sell out) was the Nebraska shorts block, which ended at 7:34pm and we had a huge Q&A with all of the directors. So the whole time we’re doing the Q&A, I’m hearing “we’re filling up out here” from the lobby walkie and “we need more volunteers to control this crowd” on the other walkies. At one point I had to pull Derek and Sho out of the NE block to escort them to their feature. Timing is everything. It was fantastic to see such enthusiastic crowds in both theaters and it was an honor and a privilege to be able to provide screens for the local filmmakers.

So I mentioned nine screenings and six filmmakers. So far I’ve only talked about two. It was a huge treat to talk to Alex and Mikiko from the short documentary block “Movement.” I remember watching that film six months ago and remembered how moving it was, so it was incredibly cool to be sitting there six months later listening to Alex talking about the process of making the film and how it’s affected his life. Awesome.

Another cool Q&A was with Doug Lantz, director of the documentary “From the 50 Yard Line.” Those band folks sure do stick together and they always have a passionate group of followers. The feature film “The Flyboys” had director Rocco DeVilliers and two of his producers in attendance and the crowd was very enthusiastic about that film. Look for this one in theaters soon as it seems like a no-brainer for a theatrical release. The last director Q&A of the night was with Shawn Linden, writer/director of the film “Nobody” which kicked off our first ever OFF the EDGE category for horror and experimental films. Everyone had their thinking caps on for that one and it was a very cool conversation about how the film was put together and what it all meant. Each of these films has a second screening over the next few days to be sure to come and check them out and talk to the directors!

Julio’s had us back again after the screenings and a lot of people took advantage of the OFF specials. I think I only heard the bell ring about five times, so I’m considering it a good night. And the after party was one of our best yet. As fun as it was, I don’t think getting home after 4:00am should be a habit. It’s a good thing the festival is only a week during the year. If anyone has more Red Bull, please bring it by the booth, I think I’ll need it.

Everyone that reads this, please be sure to come out Friday and Saturday. We have a lot of filmmakers that have traveled a long way to see us and to share their films with us, so let’s do everything we can to give them good crowds. Check out and pick out a few films to see. Our Mini Pass goes into effect today so it’s a great and inexpensive way to see a lot of films over the next few days so take advantage!

Also, if you’re coming tonight to see “The Wretched” or if you saw locally produced films “Imitation Life” or “Ulterior Motives” and want more information about the filmmakers and to hear some behind the scenes info on those films, check out the podcasts that Jeremy and I did with them at You won’t be disappointed. Okay, you might be, but do it anyway. It’ll make Jeremy happy.


Anonymous mikiko said...

Hi! It was a wonderful experience for us to screen our film "Movement" in Omaha Thanks again so much and hope to submit more films to you guys in the future! We'll continue to screen it at AFI Dallas this month!

12:52 AM  

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