Monday, February 23, 2009

Omaha Film Festival 2009 – Day 2

Day two of the conference is always easier than day one. Most of the people that are coming showed up the day before and got signed up and got their festival badges, and now all they have to do is show up for day two. That and everyone in attendance pretty much knows the drill, so it cuts down on announcements and directions and such.

After some second-day-setup, we were ready for panel number one. All of the people that attended day one knew they couldn’t miss the first panel which was Mauro Fiore, ASC and Neil Krepela, ASC together, discussing action movies. We figured this was an appropriate topic since just about every major action film over the last two decades had one of these two gentlemen working on it. To my amazement, they had never worked on a project before and up until about fifteen minutes before the panel, they’d never even actually met before. It was fun sitting in the green room and hearing stories though, and they were both one degree of separation through multiple people that each had worked with before. The panel, which was moderated by Ben Drickey, was fantastic. Hearing the different perspectives on how a film gets created from a Cinematographer’s standpoint and a Visual Effects Artist’s standpoint was an incredible treat, as they drew from their huge pool of work to give everyone a behind-the-scenes look at filmmaking.

Session two had a return to the stage of Andrew Robinson and Daryl Sabara, with additional actors Sean Durrie and Rachel Lien. One of the things that movie goers are interested in is how directors and actors communicate so having this discussion with writer/director Andrew and three of his actors from the film April Showers gave everyone an incredible insight into how that process works, from auditioning, to the initial collaboration, to rehearsals, and working together to create a living breathing character that appears real within the context of a film. It was a tremendous treat hearing the different perspectives of the actors who all worked on the same project with the same director, and were also able to draw on their experiences over the years working on other projects

Panel number three was with none other than the legendary Lew Hunter. Lew has been a huge supporter of us and the festival since day one and it’s an incredible honor to have him speak at our festivals. In previous years he’s talked about screenwriting, but today he gave everyone an insider’s look at the Oscars with an open forum discussion on how it works. It was a huge treat for everyone in attendance and gave everyone something to look forward to later that night.

Our final panel of the conference ended on an extremely high note with writer/director Nik Fackler, producer Dana Altman and cinematographer Sean Kirby, from the film Lovely, Still, another film that was shot locally over the last year. The film stars such heavy weights as Oscar winners Martin Landau and Ellen Burstyn and it was incredible to hear the journey of the story that started in the head of a sixteen-year-old kid, to being realized seven years later with Nik directing his first feature film. One highlight was having an opportunity to see about four minutes of the film and it certainly made everyone in the audience excited to see it. We’re all looking forward to its fall ’09 release.

Without question, all eight of our panels flew by. Each one was 90 minutes in length and each of them could have easily gone a lot longer based on the panelists’ energy and the enthusiasm of the crowds.

Now that the conference is over, we’re ready to jump full speed ahead into the film festival. Before that, I want to be sure to thank Ron Gerard for moderating six of our panels over the two days of the conference. He always brings professionalism and polish to the sessions that far exceeds expectations and makes our panelists feel comfortable and focused and keeps the audiences engaged. Thanks also to Teresa Affleck and Creighton University for once again hosting our conferences, and to Julie Matthews and all of the volunteers, without which none of this would have been possible.

So the conferences are done and it’s a Sunday night, what should we do? How about a fully catered party at the Cellar to watch the Oscars? Huge thanks to Whole Foods for catering one of the best food spreads I’ve seen in a long time, and huge thanks to the Cellar and the Glacier for hosting our Oscar event. We had a nice, intimate gathering with two projected screens and an incredible sound system for us to watch and enjoy the Oscars, and with printed ballots, we were able to pick our favorites and route for Slumdog Millionaire. We were sad that OFF’08 panelist, editor Mike Hill didn’t win in the editing category for Frost/Nixon, but it seemed to be Slumdog’s year. Congratulations to Mr. Hill for his nomination.

So that concludes the first two days of the festival. Tomorrow is our opening night with the film “The Great Buck Howard” and it should be a ton of fun. I’ve seen the film so I know it’s going to be a great time for everyone that comes out. For a complete list of films, be sure to check the website.


Post a Comment

<< Home

free web page hit counter