The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, July 22, 1999, Summer Edition, Page 9, Image 9

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    Great Plains has
advantages over
larger film festivals
FILM from naffe 1 like the Great Plains are a welcomed invita
festivals, where attention is put on the art “Firs't and foremost it
itself rather than its marketability. allows an audi
And no one is quicker at rolling out ence a chance to
the welcome mat than director of the see it (“American
Mary Riepma Ross Film Theater and Chain Gang”) who
coordinator of the Great Plains Film may never have. This
Festival, Danny Lee Ladely. is the first time this
“Filmmakers pretty much enter film has played in the
every film festival they can possibly midwest and it’s cer
enter, Ladely said. “There are a lot tainly important for me
of films out there that aren’t shown to have the film played
anywhere other than at festivals so before a variety of audi
it’s a great way to get that expo- ences.”
sure- Aside from the imme
The Great Plains Film diate allure of the basic vis
Festival is important especially ibility offered at the Great
to those living and working in Plains Film Festival there is
the great plains because it’s also a personal interaction
really hard for them to get between director and viewer
the recognition they that many say doesn’t happen
deserve.” at festivals where the primary
Robert Byington, focus is put on securing
director of “Olympia, ” a Hollywood deals,
play entered as a dramat- For Benson, that is a valuable
ic feature, is a Lincoln aspect.
native who currently “The hardest thing to get is
resides in Hollywood, hardcore criticism, you know, that
California. Two years unbiased talking about the craft and
ago he won the Best talking about the audiences and when
Dramatic Feature award for his yOU can get it, like here, it’s great,”
film Shameless and has shown it and Benson said. “Here they’re more able to
other films all over the world. spend more time with individual film
Still the saying holds true, there’s no place like .ggm makers and getting that hardcore criti
nome- cism is the only way to get better as a
“I had such a great experience with the filmmaker.”
festival last time, Byington said. “The Not only that, but as Byington realized, this
better festival experiences tend to event is, after all, a festival and at festivals people
be the smaller regional ones relax and have fun.
because it’s less about “I met someone at one of the screenings
money and more for my first film here and now he’s a buddy
about general 0f mjn that is working three blocks away,”
curiosity Byington said. “He basically just came
about film.” Up to me and said ‘hey, I liked your
That integrity film, wanna have a beer?’
was a big factor in “At festivals like Sundance it
prompting Rand just seems less likely that that sort
Benson, director of of stuff can happen.”
“Man and Dog, a docu- One thing remains impera
mentary short” to enter tive for the survival of festi
his film in this year’s festi- vals y^ the Great Plains
val- Film Festival, and that is
“The regional festivals are for the people of the
a lot more important than people great plains to continue
might think because even though makinp films
the big festivals carry a lot of pres- s 0f if
tige, that prestige is forgotten quickly t j 5 year
and it’s really hard to have an indepen- old high school
dent film to be seen by anyone,” Benson student or a 33
said. “If you actually want people to see year 0id Oklahoma
your film and talk to people about your _
film, you have to enter a regional festival, like “i think promoting regional
the Great Plains.” filmmaking is obvously important,
Not only does the festival allow for films to because then you can encourage someone
be shown, it allows for films to be shown to a vari- in Nebraska or Oklahoma that they have just as
ety of people generally unreachable. much a right to make a film as someone in Los
Xachary Irving, director of “American Chain Angeles. In that sense regional film festivals are vital.”
Gang, a film entered as a documentary feature, said And as long as the people of the great plains continue
that entering festivals in New York, where he currently making films, Ladely will continue rolling out the wel
lives, offers only a specific kind of audience, so festivals come mats.
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