Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Omaha Film Festival 2009 – Tuesday, Day 4

Our first full day of in-competition films and our first day of multiple screenings. Tonight we showed our first documentary, our first OFF the EDGE film, our first short film block and three feature films. The first film to kick off the evening started us off on the right foot. With a sell out. We actually brought some folding chairs in to fill in the seating areas for wheel chair access to allow people that wanted to come in a chance to see the Nebraska Short Film block. I remember two years ago when we actually separated the NE films from the rest and showed them by themselves, and how the attendance wasn’t that strong. We actually considered for a minute about not even having a special category for local films, but last year the attendance was fantastic and this year is starting off the same way, so I’m glad we kept it in. To see the city come out and support the local filmmakers, and to have such a high percentage of cast and crew of the various films in the audience is always a pretty cool thing.

Two other highlights of the evening were the screenings of “Upstream Battle” and “Touching Home.” “Upstream Battle” is a fantastic doc about the “Native Americans fight for their fish – against an energy corporation.” Filmmaker Ben Kempas made the trip from Munich to participate in the festival and had a great Tuesday night crowd that was eager to participate in the Q&A session after the film. There were several local ties (including some interesting footage and commentary about our own Warren Buffet) that was sure to stir up some controversy, but overall the audience was very receptive.

“Touching Home” ended up being the second highest attended film of the night, after the NE Shorts and the crowd seemed to truly enjoy the film. Tears were shed and laughter was had and it was a great festival experience. The Q&A after the film with the brothers was among my favorite of all time, seeing the energy that they have between each other and their innate ability to finish each other’s thoughts and sentences with such frequency and completeness, that it made it a real treat hearing them talk.

The attendance for the evening was fantastic and it’s apparent that the community of Omaha is finally realizing what the OFF is and wanting to come out and support it. Awesome.

And I’ve got two words – hospitality suite. No more words about that, but it’s almost 3:00am right now.

Today was three screens, tomorrow will be four. It’s going to be fun!


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