Crossroads has potential to build strong festival, filmmakers say

JR Ortega By JR Ortega

April 3, 2013 at 7:03 p.m.
Updated April 2, 2013 at 11:03 p.m.

When it comes to prime filming locations, filmmaker Elizabeth Spear looked no farther than Victoria.

Yes, Victoria, Texas.

Not Victoria, British Columbia, with its historic parliament buildings or Victoria, Australia, with its bustling cities and green landscapes - but the Victoria nestled along the Texas Gulf Coast.

About 90 percent of Spear's film, "Roundball," was shot at gymnasiums in Victoria, said Spear, 33. The film centers on 30-year-old Sam Jones, who, in a moment of drunken clarity, realizes he wants to chase his high school dream of playing in the NBA.

An unedited version of the film is part of the second annual Victoria TX Independent Film Festival at 8 p.m Friday at the Leo J. Welder Center.

The showing is for the cast, the crew and the audience to watch and offer feedback - something Spear trusts Victoria to provide, especially with its growing status as an arts and cultural city, she said.

"We started talking to Anthony (Pedone) about the script," Spear said about the festival's founder. "He suggested it be shot in Victoria. He thought the community would really rally around something like that, and they did. Not just with the film, but by donating food and providing locations."

Spear is not new to the independent filmmaking gig. In 2010, she shot and edited her first feature film, "Little Gods," on an iPhone 4. One of her films, "Forward/Backward," is award winning and is still in the film festival circuit.

Spear said this is not her first time coming to Victoria. She's been back to teach a film class at Trinity Episcopal School, which helped her become more involved in Victoria.

"The community was warm and hospitable," she said.

Will Moore knows about this hospitality. The filmmaker of was born and raised in Victoria. However, he left for much of his childhood and came back while in high school.

Moore, 36, has several independent films aside from "Satellite of Love," which shows at the festival at 6 p.m. Saturday.

Films such as "Cowboy Smoke," which showed at the Cannes International Film Festival, one of the most renowned festivals in the world, was shot at a ranch in Victoria County, Moore said.

Moore didn't fall in love with film until after high school, but even then, he can see how much culture has been fostered over the years.

"What Anthony is doing is an amazing thing," he said. "I think it's a necessary thing. He's bringing films that most people wouldn't normally get to watch. It's a pretty powerful thing."

Related story:Victoria leaders watch return on film festival investment



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