for film lovers
Derby City Film Festival
aims to set Guinness record
invited to take part in opener
Helen E. McKinney
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (October 2008) This city will come
alive with creative spirit showcased on the silver screen when the inaugural
Derby City Film Festival opens Oct. 8 at the Louisville Memorial Auditorium.
Rommel and his wife, Ashley,
have organized the inaugural film
festival in Louisville. It is set
for Oct. 8-12 at Louisville
The opening film, Being Lincoln-Men with Hats,
will debut for first-time director and producer Elvis Wilson, who says
of his project, I wanted to do something with substance.
Wilson said the documentary format of Being Lincoln is an
excellent way to produce his first feature film. I love filmmaking.
Ive always wanted to make a feature film, said this Nashville,
The climax of the film, along with several interviews, was shot in Hodgenville,
Ky. Other filming locations include Washington, D.C., Cincin-nati, Illinois
The documentary is about the trek of a new Lincoln and his quest to
be a Lincoln look-alike, said Wilson. It is also based in part on a
book, Meeting Mr. Lincoln, written by Wilsons wife,
Victoria Radford. The book contains first-hand accounts of people who
had met Lincoln.
There were people who did not like Lincoln before ever having met him.
But once they did meet him, they came away liking him, said Wilson.
This change of mindset prompted him to make a documentary about the
16th president of the United States. The film was recently screened
on the lawn of Knox College, the historic location a Lincoln-Douglass
Being Lincoln-Men with Hats will be shown at 7 p.m. at the
auditorium. The festival is scheduled to run from Oct. 8-12, with films
shown from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Wednesday through Friday; 11 a.m. to 11
p.m. Saturday; from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. All screenings will be
held at the Louisville Memorial Auditorium.
To mark the opening of the festival, the Derby City Film Festival will
play host to a Guinness Book of World Records attempt for
the largest gathering of people dressed as Abraham Lincoln. This event
is scheduled for 6 p.m., prior to the documentary showing, said festival
organizer Kris Rommel.
A second film, If You Could Say it in Words, by Nicholas
Gray, will make its world premier. A selection of short films will end
the days screenings.
This latter film is one of more than 10 films making a world premier.
We are very excited about the films we selected for this years
festival, said Rommels wife, Ashley, in a press release.
We have several world premiers, foreign films, national films,
and above all, we have 19 films from right here in Louisville. It is
going to be a great festival!
Filmmakers are allowed to set up a table in the lobby of the auditorium
to greet the audience before and after their film screening, sell merchandise
and give away promotional materials if they choose to do so. Round Table
Panel Discussions and Filmmaker Q&A sessions are planned.
With this being the first year for this festival, Rommel was not sure
what kind of response to expect. He was hopeful and optimistic due to
the pledges of support he has received, but he has no way of knowing
the outcome of the festival.
After viewing Wilsons film, Rommel contacted Guinness and learned
that no current record existed for the largest gathering of people dressed
as the famous president.
There are strict regulations, said Rommel. Two hundred
people are needed to set a record. They have to be fully dressed and
will recite the opening to the Gettysburg Address simultaneously to
get into the spirit of things.
But this is just a precursor to what the film festival is really about.
As a filmmaker in the Louisville area, Rommel had searched for a way
to get his films noticed. When he and his wife decided to stage the
festival, Rommel said it did not seem right to him to exclude other
The festival was officially announced in the middle of June 100
days before it would actually take place. Since then, the couple has
put in hundreds of hours of their own time to make sure it will be successful.
For the local audience it is a great experience for letting people
in the community and city see what type of quality films are being made,
said Rommel. It will alert the local public as to what regional
films are produced right here.
On a national level, winning any film festival is great for a film and
the festival itself, he said. It brings better recognition for the festival.
The festival will not be juried by a panel of judges, but winners will
be determined from audience vote for an Awards Competition in the categories
of Best Documentary, Best Short Film, Best Feature Film and Best of
Fest. Each winner will receive a statuette with their name and the name
of their film engraved on it.
The festivals opening will coincide with the 200th birthday of
Abraham Lincoln, but it is sure to set some remarkable feats on its
Kris and Ashley Rommel are so ambitious, said Wilson, who
has worked with the Nashville Film Festival. He is amazed that they
would contact Guinness and go the extra mile to promote this festival,
an undertaking not all first-time festival organizers would consider.
Louisville has a strong theater presence, Wilson said. This could
be such an opportunity for Louisville if the public embraces it.
For a complete list of films, ticket pricing,
directions, and general information, visit: www.derbycityfilmfest.com.
Kris Rommel can be reached at (502) 724-6332.
Back to October 2008