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!
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