Reposted with permission from the Tacoma Arts Blog.
It’s in the can! In August, the Grand Cinema will be honoring winners of Filmmaker Magazine‘s prestigious “25 New Faces of Independent Film” awards with a week-long film fest, the only one of its kind in the country.
“This event has the long-term potential to be the most important recurring film event Tacoma has ever had,” says Grand Cinema Executive Director, Philip Cowan. “Filmmaker Magazine has been doing their list since 1998, and it has always been interesting to see all of the talent they bring together for the list.”
The publication touts its Top 25 issue as offering an overview of the current indie scene, and a scout for new talent. This year’s crop of films includes notable genre flicks and sci-fi works; many of the latter featuring mind-bending special effects and motion graphics created on a micro-budget. The magazine also explores how the upcoming generation of filmmakers is leveraging new media to create, promote and distribute their movies.
From a curatorial viewpoint, “I saw this group of 25 and thought it was kind of a ‘festival in a box’,” a standout selection of work ready for screening, says Cowan (some of Filmmaker Magazine‘s past picks have gone on to nab Sundance Grand Prizes, and Oscars). “I thought that there must be some theater out there putting on a festival of the work, but contacted the magazine and found that was not the case….We are the only cinema doing it because, really, we are the only ones to take time out to make it happen.” The Grand has successfully organized other film fests, such as the annual Tacoma Film Festival. It will be their second year of showing “25 New Faces.”
One of the most lively and anticipated segments of any film festival is the meet-and-greet with directors. In 2010, the Grand played films from 22 of the 25 honored “New Faces”; 11 of those filmmakers flew to Tacoma to attend screenings, talk about their films, and meet local audiences.
“The best time to interact with filmmakers is at the films,” says Cowan. The post-film discussions with the audience “are what make this special. People who attended last year still come up to me to tell me how much they enjo
yed hearing from the filmmakers.” Eight movie makers have committed to attending the filmfest
this year, but Cowan anticipates the turnout to be higher. He commends all 25 as “already doing good work and having high potential within the film industry.”
The Grand also prides itself on supporting local filmmakers. The theater will provide a local tie-in by “giving the 30 teams that participated in our 72-Hour Film Competition a few free tickets to attend screenings. I want local filmmakers to see what others are doing so they can aspire to do the same.” Cowan is plainly excited about the long-term prospects for “25 New Faces”: “For Tacoma, it is the event that brings in the best-quality filmmakers all at once. Outside of SIFF [Seattle International Film Festival], which is obviously huge, it is probably the area’s most filmmaker-oriented event.”