Festival showcases award winning films

Film festivals are a chance for filmmakers to submit their films and get a chance at being recognized by production companies. Greg Marcks is one filmmaker who has made his name familiar to production companies, development executives, managers and agents.

Marcks? film was one of eighty submitted to The Best of Independents Film Festival and was chosen in April as one of the 12 award winning films to be screened at the festival.

The films, made by both professional and student filmmakers, will be shown Sept. 13 at the Tampa Theatre.

Marcks? short film, Lector, is about Caesr Hidalgo, whose profession as El Lector, a man who read to cigar rollers in the factory, is replaced by technology. Marcks? film was submitted to the Academy Awards for a chance to be nominated in the short film category from a group of other qualified films.

?I?m not holding my breath, but it will be amazing if I am nominated,? Marcks said. ?It has been quite a roller coaster ride.?

Marcks said the inspiration for making the film first came to him when he attended a lecture about the Latin community in Tampa at Carnegie Mellon University in Massachusetts. He said when he attended film school at Florida State University he began researching the history.

?The idea that interested me is that these people can be replaced by technology,? Marcks said.

Marcks said he wanted to communicate a message with the audience that the invention can cause a culture to be lost in America when it is still continuing in other areas such as Cuba. Laura Tierney, marketing director for The Education Channel, which sponsors the event, said the festival is showcasing a variety of film categories that all aim to communicate a message with the audience.

The film categories to be screened include animation, mini, short, documentary and feature films, each lasting 10 to 20 minutes. Each category has both a student and professional winner that were selected based on standard qualifications and the ability to convey their message to an audience.

Tierney said when the judges reviewed the films they asked questions such as, ?What was the reason for making the film?? and ?What does the filmmaker want to communicate with the audience??

Other factors that went into the judging of the films include how well camera technique and picture composition is demonstrated, along with the effective use of graphics, sound and script writing.

?Local professionals in film, theatre, video and art were chosen to be judges and review films based on their area of expertise in film,? Tierney said. ?We wanted to have several people with different perspectives to get the best review on the films.?

Actors and filmmakers create these films sometimes only for their desire to tell stories. Lanny Fuettere, a Tampa native, is a professional actor who stars as Sweet Joe, a small-town wrestler who has to choose between his career and a single fan in the film, Sweet Joe An American Hero. Fuettere said he dedicated his time and talent to the film because acting is something he loves to do.

?I starred in the film without receiving any pay because I wanted to,? Fuettere said.

?The film sends a message that says ?don?t give up? and ?do what is right and you will prevail.??

This is the eighth year the Tampa Theatre will be hosting the festival. Tierney said the festival was open internationally, with films submitted from the United States as well as Canada and Belgium.

Tierney said the Tampa Theatre was chosen to present the film festival because it is different than an average theatre. It?s a 1923 historic building and a beautiful place to host visiting filmmakers because of its unique architecture, she said.

?The theatre is one of the premiere historic theatres in the southeast,? Tierney said. ?There is nothing like it in Tampa or throughout the south.?

Free screening passes are available at The Education Channel, The Weekly Planet, Tampa Theatre, and the USF Fine Arts Box Office. Screening begins at 8:00 p.m.

Grace Agostin can be reached atoraclegrace@yahoo.com