Monday, March 02, 2009

Omaha Film Festival 2009 – Sunday, Day 9

It hasn’t completely sunk in that it’s over. It’s such a surreal experience watching something unfold over the course of the last nine days that you’ve spent twelve months planning. Each little element of the festival, from the font size and type on a poster, to the items of food at a party, to each of the films that we screen, to the number of tables in our booth, are all results of conversations and decisions that we’ve made and to see them all in action is a pretty cool feeling. Another amazing feeling is having so many incredible volunteers and staff members that are just as dedicated to this project as we are. So many things just magically happen and get done around us where we don’t have to do anything, so it’s great having people that are willing to fill in all of the gaps that we leave.

It’s such a massive undertaking to pull something like this off and we know we absolutely couldn’t do it without all of our helpers. To start with, Julie Matthews is responsible for wrangling all of the volunteers as well as a lot of the other office-type duties and I know we couldn’t run the festival without her. Plus the sixty-or so volunteers that give up their free time to spend it with us is fantastic for us, and great for the attendees and filmmakers as well. We’ve got the best group of volunteers out of any of the festivals that we’ve attended so that makes us really proud.

One of the other things I’m proud of in regards to our festival is our judging staff and our judging process. Huge thanks goes out to all of our judges in the feature film, documentary and short film categories. You guys all did an amazing job helping us break down hundreds of excellent films into what we programmed this year so thanks to all of you.

The venues were fantastic again this year as well. Thank you to Teresa at Creighton, Karli at the Omaha Community Playhouse, and Kenny and Walt at the Great Escape Theatre for all you’ve done for us over the last nine days. We couldn’t have asked for more perfect venues and have received nothing but great feedback from all of our attendees and guests about how great they were all treated at each of our venues. We’re proud to call each of them our home for OFF’09 and into the future.

As for our award winners and all of the filmmakers that submitted and attended, I want to thank each of you as well. Picking “winners” is always the most difficult thing to do at the festival, and gladly some of that decision is shared with our audiences in the form of the audience choice prizes. This years’ audience choice awards went to:
“Granny Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty” directed by Nicky Phelan – short film
“A Friend Indeed - The Bill Sackter Story” directed by Lane Wyrick – documentary
“Touching Home” directed by Logan and Noah Miller – Feature Film

A special award was given this year to the short film for best Cinematography which was a $500 certificate for Eastman/Kodak film which went to the short film:
“Valley of the Moon” directed by John Monteleone

Omaha Film Festival jury prizes were also given in six different categories to the following films:
“Agent 5: A Night in the Last Life Of” directed by Matthew Desotell - OFF the EDGE
“Varmints” directed by Marc Craste – Animated Short
“Coons” directed by Chris Cloyd – Nebraska Short
“Sugar” Alex Beh – Short Film
“Phantom Punch” directed by Robert Townsend – Feature Film
“The Providence Effect” directed by Rollin Binzer – Documentary

Due to some very generous donations and sponsors, we gave out over $14.000 worth of prizes during our awards ceremony so another huge thank you to all of our sponsors. And yes, it is frustrating having to give all of those prizes away!

Thanks to all who attended this year, it was a great event. Let’s do it again!!


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