Advocate editorial board opinion: Event shaping up to be visual treasure

By the Advocate Editorial Board
March 1, 2012 at 6:01 p.m.
Updated Feb. 29, 2012 at 9:01 p.m.

The person behind the first Victoria Texas Independent Film Festival said he is positive the festival will become a yearly event. Anthony Pedone, festival founder and Victoria native, said he is pumped up about the response he is getting for the film extravaganza.

Why? He already has had to extend the festival one day. Now, the festival runs March 22-25 because of so many film submissions.

And many in the Crossroads have come forward with help.

"There's been a lot of support. It's awesome - incredible," Pedone said.

Some of that support comes in the form of free lodging for filmmakers, directors, actors and crews, additional venues for films and more.

But Pedone said he is especially appreciative of the city's support -- $43,150 in hotel occupancy tax funds. Those funds covered a big portion of the total $99,000 Pedone needed to stage the festival.

Now, Pedone - through his nonprofit, Texas Artists' Cultural Alliance, is raising the rest of the funds for the festival.

He has sponsorship mailers to go out that range from $500 to $10,000. He said the $7,500 was taken, two of the four $5,000 level contributions were taken, and all three of the $3,000 donations were taken.

So far, he has about $26,000 in cash donated and $20,000 in in-kind services donated. That leaves about $10,000 he needs for the festival.

"I think once Victoria sees how incredible this is, it will support it for years to come," he said.

Pedone said the festival includes outdoor screenings for seven films from Germany and two Serbian films - both with subtitles. The outdoor screenings will happen between the Junior League building (O'Connor-Proctor Building) and Children's Discovery Museum and will be included in the cost of that day's general admission ticket.

Pedone also mentioned a film that was nominated for two indie Spirit Awards - the Oscars of independent filmmaking. The film, "The Dynamiter," is lined up for the festival March 24, along with all its actors and director to be present.

Awards also will be presented March 24, and the Reuben Frels Visionary Award will be awarded to honor Frels "and his rich history of film in Victoria," said Pedone, who worked for Frels in earlier years. Other awards will be given for best documentary, feature, short film, actor, director and more.

"Two jury awards will be give for films that have something different in them," he said.

"This is supporting independent artists. You will see something you've never seen before," he said.

Pedone celebrates film artists for providing something entirely different from Hollywood-type films, as well as forging new frontiers in film.

"How much of your soul can you carve out and put into these characters?" he mused about how filmmakers think.

We urge residents of the Crossroads to help make this festival a success.

We also think downtown businesses can help the festival immensely by synchronizing their hours with festival times. We think by doing so, those businesses will benefit, as well. The festival promises to be a great treat for the Crossroads. We can't wait.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.



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