Gateway Film Center Lets You Decide
Have you ever wanted to have some say in which movies were showing at your local cinema? Wanted the chance to vote down Jupiter Ascending and replace it with a well-crafted, thought provoking film? Maybe just have the opportunity to give a struggling, small movie the chance to break through to a wide audience?
The Feature Film Project and Gateway Film Center invite you to do just that. This weekend, Gateway will screen the film Patrick’s Day and you can vote to decide whether or not that film deserves nationwide distribution.
The Feature Film Project is the brainchild of Nicolas Mason, the founder of Manhattan Short – a film festival that takes place simultaneously in cinemas all over the world and lets audiences vote on the festival winners. Mason says that, about three years ago, he decided to use a similar formula to give new feature-length filmmakers a chance.
“It developed out of conversations I had with theater owners and programmers at the annual event in Utah just before Sundance called Art House Convergence,” Mason says. “The idea of a project in which art house cinemas across the USA united for one feature film during one weekend, with voting done by the public, was staring me in the face.”
Mason called for film entries, and a panel of judges culled the 33 contestants to two options. Then, at the Convergence last year, independent cinema programmers voted on a winner.
“I reached out to all the programmers I knew that would be attending Art House Convergence,” Mason explains. “I assembled a selection committee for the first time and got 10 people involved. Next year, I hope to be adding another ten programmers.”
Chris Hamel, president of Gateway, was among the panelists.
“Nicholas Mason looked at program lineups around the country, then chose ten programmers who would determine the 2015 selection,” Hamel says. “I was so pleased to have our film center and Columbus recognized in this way, and flattered to be included among the best curators in the United States. It’s a big honor.”
The film the panelists decided on is the Irish drama Patrick’s Day. What made it the one?
“It’s a challenging, well-crafted film that will inspire conversation, which makes it a terrific fit for distribution in indie theaters, where the audience engages in the movies before and after the screening,” says Hamel. “Also, Kerry Fox’s performance is Oscar-worthy and definitely one of the best I have seen this year.”
According to a Feature Film Project press release, “The film has played to enthusiastic audiences on the festival circuit, winning Best Film and Audience Awards at the Cork Film Festival and the Galway Film Fleadh in Ireland and the Woodstock Film Festival in the USA. In addition, lead actor Moe Dunford won the Shooting Star Award at the Berlin Film Festival, an award previously won by notable actors and actresses such as Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz.”
Audience response doesn’t guarantee Patrick’s Day anything, but Mason and crew hope to draw the attention of distributors with this experiment.
“The Feature Film Project is about sending a message to distributors,” Mason says. “It’s about taking an unknown film and giving it a nation-wide test screening.”
Says Hamel, “It’s an exceptional opportunity for the filmmakers and exactly the kind of curation, promotion and presentation of otherwise hard-to-find movies we at GFC believe in.”
You’ll get your chance to weigh in when Patrick’s Day screens at The Gateway Film Center on Saturday, March 7, 2015, at 6:00pm.
For more information, visit www.gatewayfilmcenter.com.