Derby City Film Festival

Louisville’s Fourth Street Theater
to host new fall film festival

The event is being organized by
an Oldham County couple

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (August 2008) – When Kris Rommel began looking for a venue to show his own films, he had no idea he would end up organizing an event to showcase filmmakers from other parts of the country as well. The result promises to be a premier opportunity for up-and-coming filmmakers.

Kris and Ashley Rommel

Photo provided

Kris and Ashley Rommel are planning
the new Derby City Film Festivall
in Louisville, Ky., for October.

Rommel and his wife, Ashley, are in the midst of organizing the Derby City Film Festival. Slated for Oct. 8-12, all screenings will be held at the historic Louisville Memorial Auditorium on Fourth Street in Louisville.
While not many films have been submitted yet, Rommel said he hopes to screen 50 to 60 films of all lengths during the four-day festival. Films will be grouped by genre and shown on specific days. A film schedule will be announced in mid-September.
This is not a juried film festival but it will contain an awards competition with winners determined by audience vote. Categories include Best Documentary, Best Short Film, Best Feature Film and Best of Fest.
Originally from Louisville, Rommel is an independent filmmaker. He opened his own production company, The Bob Rogers Group, in 1996 with college friends Merit Alexander and Bob Rogers. Their goal was to bring education and an awareness of art in all forms to the public by way of digital technology, conventional showings, performances and events.
Rommel said there are quite a few smaller festivals catering to specific film genres but not one large one that encompasses all genres. His goal is to provide “one location on a large scale.”
Several new film festivals are beginning to pop up across the state.
“Any film festival in Kentucky can help to shed light on our industry,” said Tamara Lee Fulkerson with Lights…Camera…Kentucky! Fulkerson is a freelance makeup artist and the former director of Oldham County’s Bluegrass International Film Festival. The latter festival is not being held this year after a successful three-year run in Crestwood and La Grange.
“I think everyone involved in the Kentucky film industry understands that any and all film festivals in our state will assist in growing our industry, keeping production in Kentucky and attracting productions to our state,” Fulkerson said.
Invitations to the Derby City Film Festival have been extended to more than 100 filmmakers, actors, producers, directors and others in the film industry to screen their works at this festival. Rommel would like to eventually focus the festival on films with direct ties to the community, state and region.
Having traveled to places such as Columbus, Ohio, and Nashville, Tenn., to enter film festivals, Rommel said, “With as big an art community as there is in Louisville, it’s disheartening that we don’t have such an opportunity. As a filmmaker, there is nothing better than to go to the theater and sit and watch your film.”
To do so, surrounded by people you don’t know, is also a plus in that it provides a venue for critiquing the film, he said.
“I’ve been involved in theatre since my freshman year of high school,” Rommel said. “But the idea of going to film school did not appeal to me.”
Since there were no film schools in Kentucky, Rommel graduated from Murray State University and eventually opened his own production company.
Filmmakers will be able to participate in question-and-answer sessions during the film fest. Roundtable panel discussions are planned with topic choices depending on the attendees who are willing to take part.
“After Parties” are planned for three different clubs inside 4th Street Live!: Tengo sed Cantina, Angels Rock Bar and Hotel Night Club. Such parties will give attendees the opportunity to mingle with filmmakers, and cast and crew. Admission will be free with a day pass from the festival.
An Awards Dinner is scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 12, at O’Shea’s Irish Pub on Baxter Avenue in Louisville. Seats are limited to the first 150 people, with first preference going to filmmakers and their guests. At least 50 $20 tickets must be reserved or purchased by Sept. 28 for the Awards Dinner to be held. If less than 50 tickets are purchased, awards will be presented at the Louisville Memorial Auditorium after the last screening on Sunday.
A fundraiser will be held from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 25, at O’Shea’s. For a $10 admission fee, attendees can expect to enjoy food, raffles, music and films.

• For more information on the Derby City Film Festival, contact Kris or Ashley Rommel at (502) 724-6332 or visit: www.derbycityfilmfest.com.

Back to August 2008 Articles.



Copyright 1999-2015, Kentuckiana Publishing, Inc.

Pick-Up Locations Subscribe Staff Advertise Contact Submit A Story Our Advertisers Columnists Archive Area Links Area Events Search our Site Home Monthly Articles Calendar of Events Kentucky Speedway Madison Chautauqua Madison Ribberfest Madison Regatta