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FFOCOL Returns to Gateway for a 7th Film Fest

Hope Madden Hope Madden FFOCOL Returns to Gateway for a 7th Film FestMovie still from Summer of '84, via IMDb.
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Columbus boasts a number of film festivals throughout the year, each with its own brand and its own purpose.

How does the Film Festival of Columbus (FFOCOL) fit into that landscape? What has it set out to accomplish? To share some excellent films with Columbus moviegoers, make connections with talented new filmmakers, and showcase Columbus as an excellent location for making a film.

So says John Daugherty, Executive Director of the Greater Columbus Film Commission.

“Success is raising that awareness,” he says. “Getting people to notice film as an art form, as a business, and as an economic driver—as something that’s good for our community.”

In its seventh year, FFOCOL will run Wednesday, August 8 through Sunday, August 12. Truth is, it was supposed to end on Saturday, but according to Daugherty, there were too many good movies submitted and they needed the extra day.

“Every year, we do less and less curation,” he says. “I would venture to say it’s 80-20: 80 percent submissions, 20 curated. There were so many good submissions this year that is was really tough to weed a lot of them out, so we were just like, ‘Screw it, let’s just add another day so we can play some of these films.’”

But the festival is not just about showing films. It’s also about networking, says Daugherty.

“Filmmakers rely on festivals like this to screen their film, to go and meet other filmmakers, and to seek out collaboration,” he explains. “It’s really important for them to network. So as a festival, it’s important to provide networking opportunities for the filmmakers and for anybody else that comes.”

He recalls making arrangements for filmmakers and festival attendees to chat with Lea Thompson, who screened her directorial debut The Year of Spectacular Men at last year’s FFOCOL.

“We do this mainly through events,” he says. “We like to have at least one film where we bring in the cast and crew a day or two early and have them meet board members and other filmmakers in the city,” he says. “After the film, they’ll do a Q&A to give a chance for people to meet them and talk to them.”

Emphasizing locally grown art and artists is another focal point for the festival.

“Just the quality of submissions for Ohio is getting better and better,” he says. “That’s exciting to see.”

FFOCOL decided to make sure more people got the chance to see that quality this year.

“On Saturday, we have our Ohio Shorts Program,” he says. “We decided to move it to Saturday afternoon to give more of an opportunity for people around the state to come and visit. It’s an easy day trip for somebody — they can come in, hang out, and get as many people here as possible.”

Daugherty believes this not only brings eyes to local films, but helps struggling filmmakers make important connections.

“It provides those networking opportunities for Ohio filmmakers to get together,” he says. “As the Ohio film industry grows — not only in Columbus but in the state — it’s great for everybody, in my opinion, to work together to grow the industry as a whole.”

But FFOCOL is about more than Buckeye filmmaking, and Daugherty is excited about the full lineup.

“We’re really excited about Summer of 84,” he says of the follow-up film from the Turbo Kid filmmakers.

Daugherty sees great things in every day of the festival, from documentaries to dramas, local films to international fare, and he’s pleased to welcome one returning guest.

“There’s a film playing Thursday called Parallel Chords, which has a really good story,” he says. “The woman who directed that (Catherine Dudley-Rose) directed a short by the same name a few years ago. We played the short, she went out, raised the money and made her feature, and now her feature is in the festival this year. That’s exciting.”

For a full schedule, passes and ticket information, visit filmfestivalofcbus.com

Read more from Hope at MADDWOLF and listen to her weekly movie podcast, SCREENING ROOM.

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