Film festival promises good show
March 21, 2012 at 3:21 a.m.
Updated March 22, 2012 at 3:22 a.m.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Victoria TX Independent Film Festival
WHEN: Thursday through Sunday
WHERE: Leo J. Welder Center for the Performing Arts, 214 N. Main St. Victoria, and The Johnson Symposium, 2200 East Red River St., Victoria.
COST: Free selected screenings, $10 for individual films, $15 for double-features, $25 for opening and closing night, $99 for a weekend wristband
Thanks to sponsorships, donations and community investments, the Victoria TX Independent Film Festival promises to put on a good show this weekend.
The initial budget for the four-day festival was $100,000. The Victoria City Council allocated $43,150 from hotel/motel tax funds to the Victoria Performing Arts Center to manage the funds for the festival, and that jump-started the event.
Anthony Pedone, the brainchild behind the event, said he is grateful for the community's support - film festivals are not cheap.
While VPAC writes the checks spending hotel/motel funds, Pedone is writing the others from the nonprofit Texas Artists' Cultural Alliance.
Some big-ticket items included facility rentals, screen and projector rentals, printing and advertising, and artists' flights and lodging, totaling more than $25,000.
"We're doing really well, we're down to the wire," Pedone said. "I don't know where we're at right now (financially). It's looking good."
He said 250 of the VIP passes, which cost $250 each, have been sold or given to sponsors. Tickets to individual screenings and double-features range from free to $25. Weekend wristbands cost $99.
Joshua Garrett, an event staffer, is hopeful this weekend will be filled with local and out-of-town festival-goers.
"I think some of the movies are going to be really close to sold out or just right there," Garrett said. "I think the opening night show, "This Way of Life," will sell out and that Saturday evening's show will do really well."
Convention and Visitors Bureau Director LaRue Roth said in an email that she is optimistic it will attract travelers.
"We just checked with a couple of our hotels, and they are pretty much sold out already for the weekend because there's a lot going on here in Victoria and in the region," she said.
She said the festival is a great event they have included in statewide and regional paid advertising.
"We'll likely see a direct impact because of people attending the film festival, and we'll see some residual benefit as we pique the interest of travelers with specific reasons to visit Victoria," Roth said.
Pedone said he plans to apply again for hotel occupancy tax funds, planning ahead for next year.
"I need to wait until this one is over before I can make an assessment: What can we cut? What do we need?" Pedone posed. "If we do all this and break even, that's a great event too. We're a nonprofit organization, it's about a cultural exchange and giving people something to do."