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Bluegrass Independent Film Festival

Louisville crime spurs idea
for feature film in festival

By Konnie McCollum
Staff Writer

(September 2007) – A bizarre crime in which a manager of a fast food restaurant was tricked into conducting a strip search of a fellow employee became the inspiration behind one of the films that will premiere at an upcoming independent film festival.

Bluegrass Film Festival Logo

Sept. 7-9 at Great Escape Oldham 8 Theatre, Hwy. 53, La Grange, Ky.
• Tickets: Friday or Sunday Day Pass $10; Saturday Day Pass $15; Weekend pass is $25. Friday night “Meet the Filmmakers” party at Yew Dell Gardens is free to those with paid Friday Day Pass. Saturday night Party Pass at Waldeck Mansion $25. Tickets available online at www.PayPal.com or at the door.
• Sponsored by the Arts Association of Oldham County.
• Information: www.BluegrassFilmfest.com or (502) 222-3822.

“Plainview,” directed by Scott T. Jones, will be just one of the many short films to be shown at the Bluegrass Independent Film Festival. The festival, which runs Sept. 7-9, is an official program of the Arts Association of Oldham County. All films will be shown at the Great Escape Oldham 8 Theatre off of I-71 at Exit 22 in La Grange, Ky.
Opening ceremonies begin at 6 p.m. Friday at Great Escape Oldham 8 Theater with opening remarks and introductions of special guests. Film screenings will follow and continue throughout the weekend, beginning at 11 a.m. each day. There will be panel discussions on filmmaking that will be open to the public throughout the day. The festival will conclude at 4:30 p.m. Sunday at the theater with the awards presentations.
In addition to day and weekend passes, tickets are being sold for two special filmmakers parties to be held Friday and Saturday evenings. The kickoff party on Friday will be held at Yew Dell Gardens in Crestwood. Saturday’s night’s party will be at Waldeck Mansion in Crestwood.
The festival gives the public, along with a panel of community pre-screening judges, a chance to see and vote on films that have passed the pre-screening selection process.
“I was absolutely thrilled when I received the call that my film was chosen to be in the Bluegrass Independent Film Festival,” said Jones, 32.

Bluegrass Film Festival Group

Photo provided

The Bluegrass Independent Film
Festival kickoff party took place
Aug. 3 at Artemisia Restaurant and
Art Gallery in downtown Louisville.
Pictured front row from left are
Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson,
festival director Tamara Lee Fulkerson,
Kentucky Film Commission executive
director Todd Cassidy, Oldham County
Judge-Executive Duane Murner,
committee member Pam Tallman
and Chris Porter of Artemisia; back
row from left are Oldham County
Assistant Judge-Executive Paula Gish,
Arts Association of Oldham County
executive director Melissa Ward,
Oldham County Tourism Commission
director Kim Buckler, committee
member Scott Irick, and festival
assistant director Nita Ammon.

While studying at Columbia College, he became interested in filmmaking but hadn’t done any serious work in the field until he decided to make “Plainview.” He read just a small blurb about the series of hoaxes in which a man claiming to be a police officer talked restaurant managers across the country into strip searching employees.
“I only read just a few lines about the whole situation, so I didn’t really catch all the details,” he said. “I just kept thinking about how someone could be tricked into doing something like that.”
Jones decided to write a film loosely based on the situation. Unlike the actual situation, the victim in his film is a male employee, and the manager who was duped into performing the crime was female. “My film begins after the actual incident occurs,” he said.
The focus of the film is on how the female manager copes with what happened. “While the film is completely fictional and is in no way a retelling of these incidents, it does offer a glimpse into how such a thing could happen and its emotional impact.”
After Jones wrote the screenplay, he asked friends to be the actors. “We pulled corners and worked on a very low budget in order to produce this,” he said. The entire production cost about $6,000.
Jones’ friend, Ryan Driscoll, plays the manager, while Louisville native Anderson Lawfer plays the victim. “I didn’t even realize the cost most often spotlighted in the national media actually happened in Kentucky,” said Jones.
While he currently works in administration in Chicago, he does hope his future includes a career in writing and directing films.

Scott T. Jones

Photo provided

Scott T. Jones’ short film is among
those to be screened at the
La Grange festival in September.

The third annual Bluegrass Independent Film Festival offers $8,750 in cash awards plus trophies to the top-ranked film in 13 categories. These categories include: “Best Feature Film,” “Best Family Film,” “Best Documentary,” “Best Regional Full Length,” “Best Regional Short,” “Best Regional Student,” “Best Short Film,” “Best Animation,” “Best Comedy,” “Best Student Full Length,” “Best Student Short,” “Best Foreign Full Length,” and “Best Foreign Short Film.”
“We received nearly 180 films from filmmakers across the Unites States and throughout the world,” said festival director Tamara Lee Fulkerson.
The festival has proven to be a great gauge of public opinion, too. “Binta and the Great Idea,” directed by Javier Fesser, received an Academy Award nomination in the Short Film category after winning the Director’s Choice award in the Foreign Film category at the 2006 Bluegrass Independent Film Festival.
Miramax Films secured all North American rights to “Our Very Own,” directed by Cameron Watson after being awarded Best Feature Film at the festival in 2005. Since winning the Best Feature Award at the 2006 festival, “The Trouble with Dee Dee,” directed by Michael Meiners, has become known as the “darling” of the film circuit. The film has accumulated 27 nominations and received 13 major film festival awards. It is currently seeking distribution.

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