Representatives from Serbia, the UK, Italy, New Zealand, Canada and all over the U.S. helped make the first annual festival an enjoyable success. Anthony Pedone, the executive director and feature program director, had his hands full making sure everything flowed smoothly.
During the short time spent talking to him, one could definitely feel that his love for film runs deeply. Being an independent filmmaker himself, it was a dream of his to bring such a festival to the city.
“The film festival isn’t happening because of me,” Pedone said. “This festival is happening because our city council decided that our idea was worth a shot and because sponsors from our community met the city halfway.
“This was a bold and innovative move by local government.”
The short film director Christine Elise McCarthy, an L.A. actress who can be seen in Beverly Hills 90210 and Law & Order: SVU, brought her short film, Bathing and a Single Girl. The short film is one ongoing monologue shot over a year’s time and set in different locations talking about her experience of being an older woman dating younger men.
She was joined on stage by one of the festival’s jurors and Film Threat magazine owner and publisher Mark Bell.
Along with screening films throughout the four days, there was a lot to do for families as well.
A documentary film that opened the second day of the fest was Make Believe, about a group of kids vying for the Teen World Champion at the World Magic Seminar in Las Vegas. That was followed by a free magic show at The Children’s Discovery Museum next door to the center and featured two of the young stars from the film.
And down the sidewalk in the Junior League building was an art show hosted by Don Avlo. Avlo is the creator behind the Texas Trashe Expo and Vandal Revolucionario and is highly inspired by Graffiti and Punk Rock Flyer Art.
He shared the space with Austin-based artist ELOY, who was eager to hand out his art to any willing admirer.
“I just don’t to have to haul it all back with me,” ELOY laughed.
And when the sun began to set, the venue exploded with live music from local 17-year-old musician Michael Turnini and the local band Por Favor.
With a seemingly successful first annual festival, one could hope that it could only get bigger and (while it will be hard to top) better, next year’s film festival should definitely be one to attend. Even if you’re not the biggest film geek, there will be plenty to do, if this year is any indication of things to come.
You can read all about the special guests that attended and the films that were screened at this year’s festival at www.vtxiff.com.