New Ideas for Columbus International Film + Video Festival
Changes are afoot for the country’s longest running film festival. You can see it in the lineup of movies, in the locations of the screenings, even in the party. What’s the deal with the 2015 Columbus International Film + Video Festival?
First of all, the festival welcomed some new blood this year. Jeremy Henthorn took the reins of a program run for more than a decade by Susan Halpern.
“I was there last year, just kind of shadowing,” he said. “This is my first year thrown to the wolves by myself.”
His approach involved marketing the festival more vigorously than had been done in the past, and simplifying the locations of the screenings.
“There was always promotion before, but we really wanted to do as much as we could to get our name out there,” he said. “We did a lot to promote ourselves, to get out there so that people knew that we existed in the bigger sphere. It had always been marketed, we just really went pretty heavy this year to see what we could get.”
What they got was a lot more material to choose from.
“We got a lot bigger than I thought we were going to be this year, which is always a good thing,” Henthorn said. “We doubled our submissions from last year, so we had an overwhelming amount of material to go through. That’s one of those good problems to have, though. You get better things to choose from when you get volume.”
Expect to see more winners from the larger festival circuit, more name actors, and more films likely to see big nominations next year.
“A lot of these films that we’ve got, they’re going to be movies that are going to get some consideration for awards for next year,” Henthorn said. “I think Krisha is one of those, particularly for the performance of the lead. So I’m really excited for people to see that.”
Also screening are films starring Oscar Isaac, Mark Wahlberg, and James Franco, among others, plus the Sundance Jury Prize-winning documentary, Western.
“I’m also excited about Wednesday, November 11, the film called Embers,” Henthorn said. “Eric Kohn of IndieWire said it was the SciFi to see this year. We’re pretty excited to have been on the ground floor with that.”
There’s something else special about the Embers screening.
“Before that movie, (OSU football alum) Maurice Hall is bringing a film that he produced called Pro-Ana,” he said. “It’s going to show before Embers and he’s going to come to town to do Q&A with it.”
Getting their name out to the larger festival circuit and securing a larger number of contenders for his program weren’t Henthorn’s only tasks. He also looked at the logistics and geography of the local festival.
“If you take a look at a lot of really good film festivals, proximity is really important – being able to get from film to film,” said Henthorn. To simplify the logistics of the screenings, CIF+V festival has streamlined its locations, focusing on two theaters and a gallery space for the entire program.
“It’s going to make things easier for people,” he said. “You don’t have to refer to schedule and find out where things are going on.”
Aside from the Experimental Film Gallery, which shows at the Vanderelli Room (218 McDowell St.), the screenings are split between Columbus College of Art and Design’s Canzani Center, and the Drexel Theatre (2254 E. Main St.).
CCAD has long been home to a large portion of the festival, but the Drexel’s participation has expanded this year. Henthorn says the partnership made sense for a number of reasons. Among them was the increased need for a well-equipped theatrical setting.
“We received a lot of digital cinema packages (DCPs) this year, so we needed a movie theater,” he said. “It’s difficult to do those films anywhere that is not ready to screen that type of material.”
Another reason was more personal to Henthorn.
“When I was growing up, the Drexel was kind of the place everybody went to see independent films. Even as a kid, that’s the place my dad would take me to go see movies,” he said. “In a lot of ways, it was kind of a dream of mine to be able to screen things at the Drexel. I like the idea of us being the oldest film festival in the United States and them being this classic film theatre. It was a little bit of nostalgia, a little bit they were just so willing to participate and promote and get involved.”
The festival again boasts the LGBT Fest within a Fest, Saturday Morning Cartoons from Around the World, a program of shorts newly labeled Film School Curriculum Night, as well as a host of specially selected films, all capped with a great party.
“We’re doing something a little different this year with that,” Henthorn said. “We decided to kind of forego an awards ceremony. We’re doing this as a celebration of film, so it’s a wrap party. This will be just a networking celebration of film, giving a chance to people in Columbus to meet filmmakers and talk about film. But the party is more about a celebration of all the movies we’ve shown and a celebration of what I see as an up and coming film scene in Columbus.”
Henthorn’s hard pressed to land on a single big highlight.
“I can’t think of a night that I am not excited about,” Henthorn said. “We’ve got a lot of really good stuff coming up.”
Columbus International Film + Video Festival lineup:
- Thursday, 11/5, 7:30pm, Drexel Theatre: Opening Night Film – Krisha
- Friday, 11/6, 7pm, Vanderelli Room: The Experimental Film Gallery
- Saturday, 11/7, 10am, Drexel Theatre: Saturday Morning Cartoons from Around the World
- Saturday, 11/7, 7pm, CCAD’s Canzani Center: LGBT Fest: Doc Night
- Sunday, 11/8, 7pm, Drexel Theatre: Mojave
- Monday, 11/9, 7pm, Drexel Theatre: Adderall Diaries
- Tuesday, 11/10, 7pm, Drexel Theatre: Akron (LGBT Fest Narrative Winner)
- Wednesday, 11/11, 7pm, Drexel Theatre: Embers, preceded by Pro-Ana
- Thursday, 11/12, 6:30pm, CCAD’s Canzani Center: Film School Curriculum Night: A Selection of Narrative and Student Shorts
- Friday, 11/12, 7:30pm, CCAD’s Canzani Center: LGBT Awards Night
- Saturday, 11/14, 3pm, Drexel Theatre: Doc Block: Portraits and Landscapes
- Saturday, 11/14, 7pm, CCAD’s Canzani Center: Closing film Western, followed by Wrap Party
A festival pass is $30.
For more information, visit www.cifvfest.org.