Friday, October 30, 2009

Friday Fantasies: Big Easy Film Fest

For the past several years, Dan and I have operated two very different film festivals: the Beverly Hills Shorts Festival and the Big Easy International Film Festival. It’s time-consuming work, yes, but very rewarding. We especially love being able to share new cinematic voices with audiences that they might not otherwise reach.

Although we haven’t had much time the past few years, we used to love traveling to Park City, Utah, every January for the Sundance and Slamdance film festivals. We got a real kick out of seeing indie shorts and features that might never appear at the multiplex – but often, we were disappointed by the selections, especially regarding the short films. We just knew there had to be better shorts in the world, and for whatever reason – whether the filmmakers lacked connections or the films lacked star power – they just weren’t getting accepted by the “big” festivals.

So, we decided to start our own annual celebrations of cinema, and despite the hard and sometimes thankless work involved, we relish the chance to see new and unusual films. Since the winter of 2006, when we started the Beverly Hills Shorts Festival, we’ve literally watched thousands of films – some admittedly better than others. This year has been no different.

Despite a drop-off in sponsors, due to the poor economy – which has affected cultural events and artistic groups around the country – our third annual Big Easy Film Festival is less than two weeks away, and the line-up is terrific. From Trapped in Katrina, a taut thriller that unfolds amid the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, to The Magistical, an animated tale about an unlikely hero who must save the world from an evil Draken, we'll be presenting 48 eclectic films in all – and many of the filmmakers will be in attendance, which will ensure some very lively, post-screening Q&A sessions (my favorite part of the festival – besides the parties, of course).

So, if you happen to be in New Orleans during the weekend of November 13-15, stop by the Canal Place Theatre to see some awesome films – and say hello, of course!

12 comments:

Bane of Anubis said...

Very cool that you both spend such time and effort. Imagine it's quite rewarding, but also quite draining. Good luck and keep up the good work.

Lori said...

You are doing such amazing things!

Angie Ledbetter said...

Thank you both for helping the state preserve the arts. Much success with the events. Hope I can sneak down and catch a glimpse or two.

Deb@RGRamblings said...

Sounds like fun! Awesome to hear there will be some fun times for you after all your hard work. Enjoy! :)

Donna Hole said...

Wow, that does sound like a lot of work. Nice that you have such a rewarding activity to keep you busy. Good luck with it.

........dhole

Laura Martone said...

Thanks, Bane and Lori!

That makes me feel all warm and fuzzy, Angie. I hope you can come down for the fest! Tony Shalhoub's supposed to be there on Sunday - if you're into MONK.

It is fun, Deb! At once energizing and draining - go figure.

Thanks, Donna!

Anita said...

I can't believe I didn't know this about you! There's a small film festival that runs in CO Springs every year, and each time I hear reports about it, I promise myself I'll volunteer with it when Boy is more manageable. Post the dates of your film festival for next year, will you? I'll see if Husband might like to make a trip to New Orleans.

Laura Martone said...

Yes, Anita, I'm a woman of mystery. Teehee. No, seriously, I had two majors in college - English and Film - so it makes sense for me to dabble in both. Travel guides and film festivals seem like a good match... most of the time.

I would LOVE for you to come down to New Orleans next fall. You and the hubby would have so much fun!

J.J. Bennett said...

Laura, the film fests are so much fun. I have a friend who's hoping to get into Sundance this year. If all goes well we'll see you there! :)

Laura Martone said...

They ARE a lot of fun, Jen! Full of energy and creative ideas!

That's so exciting about your friend. Keep me posted!

J.J. Bennett said...

I will... :)

Laura Martone said...

Cool.