By Jesse Wood
Tickets for the inaugural Boone Film Festival go on sale at Appalachian Mountain Brewery and Footsloggers on Saturday, March 26. Only 400 tickets for the screenings at the Harvest House on April 9 will be sold.
Just this past Friday, the submission deadline ended with 31 entries. Also, organizers released a nearly three-minute trailer of the upcoming festival this weekend during the second night of the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour in Boone. (The trailer is scored by Ryan Lawrence, a local sixth grader.)
Last year – with the anticipation and inspiration of 20 years of the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour taking place in Boone – Jason Berry, owner of Footsloggers, Russ Hiatt, a Watauga County Schools teacher, and Bill Ireland, a local soccer coach, founded the Boone Film Festival.
Managing the festival is the talented Boone-based Wonderland Woods Productions, which is made up of co-founders Paul Halluch, Eitan Abramowitz and Jerry Sebastian.
“We are excited to share with everyone the quality of submissions and the quality of the stories,” Abramowitz said of the trailer’s release. “I think there’s a good variety between storytelling and adventure aspects and the environment we have in Appalachia.”
The tagline for the festival is “Celebrating the Stories of Appalachia,” and film submissions have come from places as far as New York, Kentucky and Georgia.
The festival features three film categories to be judged: Appalachian Culture, Appalachian Adventure and Appalachian Environment. The following awards, prizes and award sponsors are as follows:
- Best In Show: Appalachian Region Film, $1,000 cash prize *Officially sponsored by Tsuga*
- Best Culture Film: $500 cash prize *Officially sponsored by MPrints*
- Best Adventure Film: $500 cash prize *Officially sponsored by Center 45*
- Best Environment Film: $500 cash prize *Officially sponsored by ASU Environmental Sciences Dept*
- Best Youth Film Submission (17 and Under): $250 cash prize PLUS a scholarship prize to work with professional Wonderland Woods Productions on skills development *Officially sponsored by Wonderland Woods*
Similar to how organizers of the local tour stop of Banff have turned the event into a community-wide festival, the organizers of Boone Film Festival are engaging in community outreach for both entertainment and education.
Abramowitz said that one goal of the festival is to “cultivate a film community” in Boone.
“We’re known as a college town but we also want to be known as having a film community here,” Abramowitz said. “All over the world, filmmakers are leaving the Hollywood realm, and maybe they’ll develop something here special for the Boone [Film Festival].”
The week leading up to the festival, a film “festivus” will take place at Footsloggers on Friday, April 8. More information and details are to come.
Abramowitz announced to High Country Press on Monday that Wonderland Woods Productions thumbed through their rolodex and invited Dean Lyon to the High Country during the festival. Lyon, who is a pioneer in the visual effects industry and was the visual effects supervisor of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, will be a guest speaker at local schools and will speak a bit during the Boone Film Festival.
On the day of the festival, there will also be a “red-carpet” like event, Abramowitz said. A winner’s showcase event will take place at the Harvest House prior to the actually screenings. Activities include live music by Brooks Forsyth and other surprises. Appalachian Mountain Brewery will be on hand serving its beer, and other concessions will be available during the event.