The latest edition of The People’s Network Film Festival on August 28, proved to be a two-fold success. First, it dispelled the myth that independent films don’t draw an audience. Second, there’s no market for short films. How these two myths started is anyone’s guess but the facts are evident and numbers don’t lie. To paraphrase: if you show it, they will come.
Also know n as TPN Film Festival, this past weekend’s event was the culmination of a labor of love presented by Bobby and Renee Peoples, aka as the first family of independent film. To show support for filmmakers, their company was instrumental in the film festivals inception in 2014 and as of late, has been able to receive the type of corporate sponsorship and audience development to do this type of festival on a bi-monthly basis. This is not an easy feat as it requires many moving parts.
The concept is uniquely simple. Networking is a big part of the film festival, which is one of the purposes of the event. Offer a night of various movie shorts, have refreshments, get the audience involved during intermission with a game or two, invite an industry professional to talk about a much needed topic concerning the film industry. Even the event program was informative and chock full of goodies both informative and entertaining. One of the articles highlighted “How to Generate Buzz at a Film Festival.” These are bold steps to give such knowledge but needed if the community is to forge ahead in the efforts to offer quality programming as TPN does.
The audience was shown five films, enjoyed popcorn and non-alcoholic drinks, played a question game involving contestants and audience participation, and got a chance to Q&A with Trae Dungy who is a film distribution professional. Mr. Dungy actually is CEO & Director of Acquisitions at UHE (Urban Home Entertainment). As if this weren’t enough, the audience was treated to a preview trailer for TPN’s upcoming release “Flags on the Field.”The films that night included:
1. “I Could Eat.” Director Tony Scott’s dark horror-comedy about 2 vampire brothers stuck in a time quandary and stuck in a juke joint, which becomes the center of the film. It’s big brother versus little brother, who both work for the Special Vampire Unit but there’s more underlying their relationship, which is bound by more than blood.
2. “Fighting Over Some Kitty.” Online dating is not to be taken lightly, and finding real love is not for the weak and wary. Director Johnny Blayz gives us atwist in thisprovocatively-titled romantic comedy where fighting over a woman takes a hard turn.
3. “Bridal Veils.” This is director MickieBanyas’ third film, and this quaint romantic comedy actually has roots in history. It’s about finding life and love on the range in the wild west, this commentary focuses on how marriage and race relations mixed in those times, where mail order brides was a way of life.
4. “Captured.” The photographer becomes the subject in director Kip Wilmot’s film debut. What happens when there’s a turning point in life where you have to draw a line between money and life, love and happiness, or any other emotions to keep you sane in an insane world? The central character is a photographer by day and call girl at night and she is now facing these dilemmas and takes the audience through her phases.
5. “Finding Jimmy Bava.” Never mix family and business when it comes to love and crime. This is the story director Braeden Orr shows us. A simple set, two guys and an important decision is the backdrop of this pseudo-crime story.
The host of the evening was Al Silah, who kept it flowing and moving, while the Red Carpet hostess was the charismatic Rasheda Randle. At the end of the festival, the audience got to vote for several categories including best film, best actor/actress and all the films directors were awarded a cash prize, which was to split the profits from the tickets sold at the door. Truly unique in its purpose, which is to come out and support the industry? Most importantly, support your local filmmaker.