FFOCOL (pronounced “focal”) is short for Film Festival of Columbus, which is scheduled to take place October 2nd through the 5th at the Gateway Film Center. The long version of the event name explains exactly what it is, but the short catchy abbreviation still requires a bit of explaining. That’s ok though, as this festival is a brand new event this year, which will take place in conjunction with idUS, a larger collection of events this fall that center around innovation and design.
We spoke recently with John Daugherty, Owner of Vital Film Works and one of the producers of FFOCOL, to find out more about this upcoming film fest.
Q: Can you tell us what initially spurred the idea for the film festival?
A: Initially we were looking for ways to promote Columbus as a filmmaking destination. Cleveland and Cincinnati have been getting movies shot in their cities for years. Cleveland State University released a study in March of this year on the economic impact that larger film productions had on cities in Ohio. Columbus was WAY behind both Cleveland and Cinci. Sure, those cities have a lakefront and a river, and other urban settings, but we think Columbus has a lot to offer too.
So we thought a good way to promote the city is to bring in the filmmakers by way of a great film festival. If we screen films from up-and-coming directors, producers, writes, and actors, we can bring them in during the film festival and show off the city. Hopefully, they’ll think of Columbus when they shoot their next film.
Q: What else do you hope that film makers from outside of Columbus can get out of showing their films here to audiences?
A: First, I think they can reach an audience that is intelligent, aware of the arts, and loves film. We’re going to be screening movies that wouldn’t necessarily make it to Columbus otherwise. It’s going to give people from around the state a chance to see some really good films. Gateway does a great job of this without an organized film festival, but putting the festival together allows us to bring in the filmmakers and gives them a chance to connect directly with a very desirable audience.
Q: What do you hope that local film fans will enjoy about FFOCOL in its first year?
A: We want local film fans to be energized by the festival. We want them to realize there are more films out there than the Hollywood blockbusters and huge budget productions. There are a lot of great stories out there in the media of film. And we’ll be showing just a few of them. So if we show our enthusiasm and support for these types of films more and more will come to the city.
We also want local filmmakers to be energized. As filmmakers, we at Vital get psyched when we see a good movie. It makes us want to go out and shoot and find great stories to produce. Hopefully that’s what FFOCOL can do for more local filmmakers who take it as seriously as we do.
Q: Are there plans to expand FFOCOL in the future, and if so, where do you hope the festival can be within a few years?
A: Absolutely! We are hoping to have events throughout the year, including screenings and workshops. We hope to continue to work with local young filmmakers to offer them guidance like we are in the Columbus Library Story of My Neighborhood Script Contest. And we want the festival to grow to offer more films over a week or ten days instead of the current three days. We’re looking forward to many years of making this a nationally recognized festival.
Film schedules, trailers and more information on FFOCOL can be found at www.ffocol.com.