Thursday, September 9, 2010

TriMedia Film Festival is This Weekend

Post by Trai Cartwright

This weekend marks the 5th Annual TriMedia Film Festival, held right here in Fort Collins at three locations:  the Lyric Cinema CafĂ©, the Lory Student Center and at Bas Bleu Theatre.  Just what is the TriMedia Film Festival?  Its mission is to be an annual event of national stature that celebrates film, television, and theatre arts, and integrates emerging and established artists in all categories. The festival has an innovative "tri-media" focus featuring film, TV pilots & specials, and live theatre.
That’s what the website says, but as someone who participated last year and is doing even more for the festival this year, it’s a unique opportunity to celebrate and support local talent.   

Anyone who’s been to a film festival knows it generally breaks down into two categories:  the established and the hometown.  They have decidedly different ambitions: the established (Sundance, Toronto, LAIFF, etc.) wants to be the place talent is discovered and deals are made; the hometown focuses on recognizing the hard work of local filmmakers who are developing their craft.  

The established fest attracts established Hollywood players and films that often already have so many of the key ingredients required to find a wide audience:  stars, agents and connections.  And not to mention press agents.  The hometown festival stresses the importance of supporting the arts, and in particular this esoteric craft of non-Hollywood filmmaking, and looks to lend a hand as the novices make that tough climb from one film to the next.  

I could give you a long, boring lesson on how film distribution works, but you’ll just have to take my word for it that film festivals play a crucial part in making sure independent movies remain a part of the cinema conversation.  I took two of the indy films I produced on the festival circuit and found distribution for them both directly due these showings.  I also got to meet lots of other burgeoning filmmakers, young stars learning their chops, and plenty of the non-studio folks who make independent cinema’s wheels go round.  It was a dog-eat-dog experience – a game of who can monopolize the top dogs, standing in unmoving lines for a hot ticket, paying $20 for a drink at a networking party that does little but line the pockets of the hosts. 

Last year at TriMedia, I had just the opposite experience.  I staged two screenplays written by teens and acted by teens for the theater portion of the festival, and I moderated “Class C” a documentary about girl’s high school basketball produced by – no fooling – Wally Kurth.  The Wally Kurth – the deeply-dimpled, pompadour-sporting Wally Kurth who starred in “Days of Our Lives” when I was a kid.  He’s since moved on to “General Hospital” but I forgive him – especially because he made brought such a touching, interesting film to our town and was so cool during the Q&A.

It was personal, entertaining and inspiring. 

I’ll be there again this year, staging more screenplays for the Youth Talent portion, and producing the Great American Songbook Sing-along honoring Kai-Ho Mah.  He’s a local senior who conducts Standards sing-along’s at his retirement center, and is the star of one of the documentaries being shown at TriMedia (“Fulfillment”), made by local filmmaker Aaron Burns.   

More importantly, he’s a really good egg – the kind of guy who really brings the joint to its feet with his sparkling charm.  I’ll be moderating a film or two, too, maybe rubbing elbows with some playas, but it’s these other events I’m really excited about – they’re about our town, and our hometown talent getting their shot at a spot-lit stage or screen.  I don’t know about you, but in my book, that’s something to celebrate.  And I won’t have to pay $20 for a drink.  

What was your favorite film festival experience?


1 comment:

Name: Luana Krause said...

Trai, this sounds like a lot of fun. And what a great opportunity for local artists. Kudos to you for working with the teens.

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