Independent Film Festival
on film fest list
an impressive group of films
selected for this inaugural festival
Don Ward and Helen McKinney
Editor and Contributing Writer
for September 2005
CRESTWOOD, Ky. (September 2005) The Oldham
County Arts Association has brought to life a new and exciting event
that could infuse a jolt of cultural awareness and pure entertainment
into this quiet residential community just outside Louisville.
The Bluegrass Independent Film Festival will feature 71 films from various
categories playing on screens at three locations throughout the county
over the weekend of Sept. 9-11. These locations are the Oldham County
Arts Center in Crestwood; the Oldham 8 Cinema in La Grange; and the
Oldham County Fiscal Court building in La Grange. For a reasonable fee,
attendees can catch shuttle buses running from La Grange to the other
The arts association, along with many corporate sponsors and local volunteers
from Oldham and Jefferson counties, will stage the event and several
meet-the-filmmakers parties over the weekend. Ticket holders
will be invited to nearly all the parties and will get a first-hand
look at how small budget movies are made. Many filmmakers and some actors
are traveling from New York and California to attend the event.
We are very excited to have such a high quality list of films
to show at this first-ever film festival. These are low budget films,
by and large, that were made for less than $500,000 each, said
arts association president Jay Broder, who led the festival planning.
But if any one of them ever make it big, it could help put our
festival on the map.
by Andrew Nelson courtesy of
Philomath Films Productions
promotional photo from the
documentary, Shakespeare Behind Bars,
captures the essence of what the filmmakers went through to make
over a 37-week period at the Luther Luckett
Correctional Complex in La Grange, Ky.
It is among the festival entries.
Organizers viewed more than 200 submitted films before
deciding on which ones would ultimately be selected for the festival.
The audiences will be asked to score the films and their tallies will
be combined with scores from a committee of judges to determine the
festivals overall winners. Specifically, the films will be judged
on cinematography, sound and story line, with 60percent of the final
score coming from the audience.
On Sunday, awards and cash prizes ranging from $200 to $1,000 will be
presented to filmmakers in seven categories: feature ($1,000), short
($300), documentary ($400), animation-claymation ($200), music video
($200) and Best Regional Filmmaker ($200), which include those films
shot in Kentucky or southern Indiana. The largest number of entries
is in the short film category, with 33. There are 18 feature films to
be shown and 11 documentaries. Awards also will be presented for Best
Student Film, Honorable Mentions and a Directors Choice Award
in each category to be determined by a committee.
by Hank Rogerson
and Demond perform a scene from
The Tempest in the documentary,
"Shakespeare Behind Bars."
In addition, the festival will honor the late filmmaker,
D.W. Griffith, who was born in 1875 in Centerfield and is buried in
Oldham County. Griffith, who died July 23, 1948, was a pioneer in black-and-white
silent films. His Birth of a Nation, released exactly 90
years ago, is considered a classic. Oldham County Arts Broder said he
believes it is only fitting that this festival should also pay homage
What better time to honor him, said Broder, who owns and
operates the credit card processing company, Card Solutions International,
During opening ceremonies, a tribute to Griffith will be given by Dr.
Bruce Tyler, associate professor of history at the University of Louisville.
During a press conference held Aug. 23 to promote the upcoming festival,
Broder arranged to receive a telephone call from The West Wing
actress Allison Janney, who plays C.J. on the popular TV series. Janney,
who stars in her friend, CameronWatsons independent film, Our
Very Own, called from the TV set in Los Angeles to wish Broder
and the organization well in pulling off the new festival but added
that she would not be able to attend.
provided by production companies
promotional poster from
the Civil War movie,
Strike the Tent.
Actress Mary Badham, who starred in the classic To
Kill a Mockingbird, is expected to attend, along with comedian
Andy Dick. Badham stars in Our Very Own, while Dick appears
in the film, AdCorp Inc, a short film by Dick and Marshall
With the recent completion and dedication of its new arts center in
Crestwood, the Oldham County Arts Association members wanted to create
a large event that would give it a permanent place in the cultural fabric
of the area, Broder said. Because of his prior management experience,
Broder was instrumental in establishing what organizers hope will become
an annual event.
Broder said he first checked with other festivals to see what they did
right and what they did wrong. He modeled this one after all of the
concepts that seemed to have worked.
Jonathan Geffner with
his dummy from the short film,
Oxford Park. Both are scheduled
to appear at the film festival.
The process began seven months ago with a call for entries
through specific Internet websites that target independent filmmakers
worldwide. Although this festival is geared for screenings of movies
recently made in or about Kentucky, more that 200 entries were received
by late June from the United States, Germany, Japan, Italy and Mexico.
The response was overwhelming, since we initially only expected
to get about 50 or 60 films, he said during an Aug. 23 press conference
to promote the upcoming festival.
Volunteers were asked to screen and rate them over a three-day period.
Broder enlisted the help of civic groups, such as the Rotary Club, Pewee
Valley Womens Club and the Oldham County Business & Professional
Women, to help narrow down the list.
scene from the feature film,
We had to watch for certain demographics when matching
the films to these groups because we didnt want the garden club
ladies to have to watch and evaluate a hip-hop music video, Broder
said. What we ended up with is a top-quality list of films, unlike
some film festivals that let anyone in.
Most of the films are premiering at this festival. We didnt
seek them. They came to us. Were thrilled to have them,
said Broder, who came to Louisville from New York 40 years ago.
Vicki Dennis, publicity chairman for the Oldham County Arts Center,
said this festival is an enormous opportunity for the county to
really show off all we have to offer to a large group of people who
dont know much about us.
Sept. 9-11 at three locations in Oldham County
A fund raising event for the Oldham County Arts
Association featuring 71 films in seven categories
to be viewed and judged by the audience. Also
meet-the-filmmakers parties and special events.
Film screenings from 7 p.m. - midnight Friday;
9 a.m. - midnight Saturday; 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Sunday.
Tickets: $10 per day or $20 for a weekend pass
to view all films. To order, go online or
Information: (502) 241-1006
(All times EST-fast time)
Friday, Sept. 9:
Ceremonial ribbon-cutting at the Oldham County Arts Center, 7105
Floydsburg Rd., Crestwood, Ky. Gov. Ernie Fletcher and other dignitaries
have been invited to attend. Welcome address by Arts Association
president Jay Broder.
6:30 p.m.: Tribute to D.W. Griffith presentation
by University of Louisville history professor Bruce Tyler.
7 p.m.: Screening of How You Look to Me, a
feature film shot at Churchill Downs and U of L, with a Q&A
with the filmmaker to follow.
10 p.m. - til?: Meet-the-Filmmakers Party,
at Station House Grille, Crestwood Station Shopping Center on
Hwy. 146, Crestwood. Free with festival ticket; otherwise by invitation
Saturday, Sept. 10:
10 a.m.: Introduction of Shakespeare Behind
Bars director-producer Hank Rogerson and some cast members
at the Oldham County Fiscal Court Building.
10:30 a.m.-noon: Screening of Shakespeare Behind
Bars followed by Q&A with director and actors.
1-3 p.m.: Panel discussion with filmmakers Stu Pollard,
Bruce Romans, Todd Broder, Susan Andrews and other surprise guests
at the Oldham County Fiscal Court Building. Free admission.
9 p.m. - til?: Makers Mark Madness Party at
Waldeck Mansion, 5900 Hwy. 22, Crestwood. A VIP reception for
filmmakers. Sponsored by Makers Mark, Anheuser-Busch, River
Bend Winery, Red Bull and Silver Spoon Catering. Tickets $25 for
the public but limited. (Must be 21-over).
p.m.: Panel discussion and Q&A with filmmakers at the Oldham
County Arts Center. Free admission.
3:30 p.m.: Screening of locally filmed Breaking
and Entering followed by Q&A.
n 6 p.m.: Awards presentations featuring The Cumberlands band
plus special guest host Sam Suede at the Oldham County Fiscal
Court Building. Free admission but seating is limited.
7 p.m.: Closing party at Irish Rover Too, 117 E. Main
st., La Grange. (Only for filmmakers, VIPs, arts center volunteers
with special passes.)
Free outdoor screenings of D.W. Griffiths movies
at dusk on Friday and Saturday at the Oldham County History Center,
106 N. Second Ave., La Grange. Includes free popcorn and lemonade.
Call (502) 222-0286.
While spotlighting regional filmmakers, Oldham County
is playing host to an event that is recognized statewide; its
not an event just for or about Oldham County. The festival coincides
with recently increased local tourism efforts within the county and
has the backing of the Kentucky Tourism Commission, she said.
Dennis said there has been strong interest shown by filmmakers, producers,
directors and actors in attending the festival also to gauge the reaction
of the attendees. Since most of these people have never visited the
county before, it will be a chance for us to show off the county.
A Meet the Filmmakers Party will begin at 10 p.m. on Sept.
9 at Station House Grill in the Crestwood Station Shopping Center on
Hwy. 146 in Crestwood.Many of the filmmakers, dignitaries and some celebrities
are expected to attend. A VIP party, Makers Mark Madness,
is scheduled for 9 p.m. on Sept. 10 at Waldeck Mansion on Hwy. 22 in
Many of these independent films will be shown once a month at the Oldham
County Arts Center beginning in October, said Broder. Oldham County
residents will not have to drive to Louisville to see such quality films.
One film, Our Very Own, is by Louisville native Cameron
Watson. Born in the Louisville area, Watson lived on Green Meadow Circle
in the St. Matthews area before moving to Shelbyville, Tenn. The film
was shot in Shelbyville, Tenn., last year.
I grew up in that town and wrote it (the play) about growing up
there, said Watson who produced, wrote and directed this film.
Watson has been an actor in Los Angeles and New York City for 20 years.
of select films
featured at the Bluegrass
Independent Film Festival,
Sept. 9-11, in Oldham County, Ky.
You Look To Me
Filmmaker: Bruce Romans (Louisville native)
Director: J. Miller Tobin
Background: Filmed in Louisville in 2004. The film will open the
festival with a screening Friday night at the Arts Center. Romans
plans to attend the festival and take part in panel discussions.
Synopsis: A young man and his two best friends, while attending
graduate school and the horse races, get more of an education
than planned when they are forced to deal with their own fears
by the women they fall for and an unrelenting professor.
Filmmaker and director: Cameron Watson (Louisville native)
Background: Filmed in Shelbyville, Tenn., and features a number
of prominent Hollywood actors, including Allison Janney (The
West Wing), Keith Carradine, Jason Ritter and Mary Badham
(To Kill a Mockingbird). This is Badhams first
film since Mockingbird 39 years ago. She plans to attend
Synopsis: In 1978, when a Hollywood movie star makes a rare publicity
appearance in her hometown of Shelbyville, Tenn., painful family
secrets of one local teenaged boy are revealed, and he and his
four best friends put into motion their own hilariously desperate
quest for fame and a ticket out of the hauntingly sleepy town.
Filmmakers: Marshall Cook and Andy Dick
Director: Marshall Cook
Background: Both Marshal and Dick, a comedian, are expected to
attend the festival on Saturday for the screening. Dick will take
part in a panel discussion.
Synopsis: A comical look at what might have happened behind closed
doors with the think tank team that created the name for the store,
Bed, Bath & Beyond.
Filmmakers: Hank Rogerson and Jilann Spitzmiller (husband-and-wife)
Director: Hank Rogerson
Background: Filmed at the Luther Luckett Correctional Center in
La Grange. The filmed screened this year at Sundance to excellent
reviews. The filmmakers may not attend but volunteer theater director
Curt Tofteland of the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival in Louisville
is expected to attend.
Synopsis: Twenty male inmates in a Kentucky prison have created
an unlikely acting troupe that exclusively performs Shakespeare.
This year, the men take on The Tempest, exploring
themes of forgiveness, isolation and transformation.
of the Beholder
Filmmaker-Director: Ken Tipton
Background: In an ironic twist, the executive producer of the
film is Darlene Lieblich, a vice president with Fox Network in
Los Angeles who is in charge of censorship for Fox. She felt so
strongly about the film being shown that she financed it herself.
Synopsis: The film is based on the true 1980s story of a St. Louis
couple who lost their chain of video stores, their family and
almost their lives while fighting a Citizens for Decency group
over the removal of controversial films such as Splash
and The Last Temptation of Christ.
Filmmaker: Robert Frederick
Director: William Gereghty
Background: Based on an award-winning play, the film won Best
Feature Film at the 2004 World of Comedy International Film Festival
in Toronto, and Best Picture at the 2004 California Independent
Synopsis: The film is about four men who find themselves lost
in the wilderness. They learn about themselves and each other
and are forced to come to terms with their own deeply hidden fears.
Filmmaker-Director: Danny Oakley
Background: Winner of the Audience Favorite at Moondance International
Film Festival in Colorado in May 2005. Won Best Animation at the
Danville, Calif. International Childrens Film Festival in
Synopsis: A little wooden plane, despite the price it must pay,
does the impossible and joins a world of which it could only dream.
Filmmaker-Director: Deb Hagan
Synopsis: A boy becomes so frightened by his scout leaders
campfire stories that he humiliates himself one night, and becomes
the object of the scout leaders vicious humor.... until
the troop encounters something truly terrifying in the woods.
Filmmaker-Director: Lorraine Portman
Background: Won the Audience Choice Award at the Southwest Virginia
Blue Ridge Mountain Vision Film Festival and Best Feature and
Best Emerging Director at the Maple Valley Film Festival in Covington,
Synopsis: Saving Sophie is about four sisters keeping their fragile
niece, Sophie, from going over the edge in a whirlwind of her
wedding, a wake, a baby on the way, two dead bodies, three affairs,
secrets that wont stay secret, a carpal tunnel epidemic
and a guy in a dogsuit.
Filmmaker-Director: Todd Broder
Background: The Manual High School graduate and Louisville native
is the son of film festival organizer Jay Broder. The film has
nothing to do with Oldham County.
Synopsis: A cowboy named Carter Branson gets involved in a drug-smuggling
ring with con men to save his farm and pay for medical treatment
needed by his sick daughter. Carter double-crosses the con artists
and escapes with the money to salvage his life.
Filmmakers: Ian Lewis, Jonathan Geffner
Director: Ian Lewis
Background: Sam Suede and Aunt Sarah Weinstein, both featured
in the film, will make a special appearance at the festival, accompanied
by their partner, ventriloquist Jonathan Geffner.
Synopsis: Van Trillo and Sam Suede, a ventriloquist-dummy detective
duo on attachment from New York City, are sent by Scotland Yard
to investigate a murder at the country estate of Lady Oxford.
Filmmaker: Sean Wathen
Background: The Crestwood, Ky., 22-year-old will attend the festival
and discuss his unusual film about a mysterious soda can.
The film is a coming-of-age story set in 1978 in the South.
The premise of the story centers on a Hollywood movie star who makes
a rare public appearance in Shelbyville, Tenn. During this time, the
painful family secrets of one local teenage boy are revealed as he and
his four best friends put into motion their hilariously desperate quest
for fame and a ticket out of the sleepy town of Shelbyville.
Watson entered the festival to gain exposure for Our Very Own.
He hopes audiences will relate to the film and connect with the themes.
Watson has been in the filmmaking industry for a long time. A film festival
honoring D.W. Griffith will highlight the legacy Griffith left behind
for present day filmmakers, he said. (Griffith) was the maverick
trailblazer of the entire art form. He laid the groundwork that we still
operate by today, said Watson.
Back to September 2005