The Etowah Film Festival inaugural year was a resounding success. The event was well received by filmmakers, actors and audience, from the Thursday night screening of local high school and college films, to the Sunday morning brunch at Reformation Brewery to the awards ceremony Sunday night.
Brent Lambert-Zaffino and I worked more than a year to bring this international film festival to the Canton Theatre and are already planning for next year. Yeah, we are going to do this again.
Brent brought his expertise from the filmmaker’s side and I brought my tourism marketing and event planning skills to create the most unlikely of partnerships that appeared to work seamlessly. We had a couple hiccups but it was the first time for each of us to take on anything of this magnitude. We learned a lot this first year.
Brent and I met about a year ago through his parents after I mentioned to them that I was seriously interested in starting a film festival for Canton. His parents told me that Brent, too, was interested in starting a film festival and the rest, as they say, is history.
A four-day event such as a film festival has an inordinate amount of moving parts; there are volunteers to schedule, sponsorships to acquire, visitors to house, awards to create, genres to select, films to screen and judge, judges and screeners to line up, venues to secure for panel discussions, brunch, and after parties. And merchandise to purchase, printing, marketing, you know, logistics, logistics, logistics.
All this was accomplished by our hard work, hundreds of texts, phone calls, emails and attention to detail. We had the privilege of getting phenomenal support from the City of Canton, an outpouring of positive response from the local business community providing sponsorships, the willingness of filmmakers to submit their films and attend a first-year festival, and the volunteers … what can I say other than thank you, thank you and thank you some more!
The dates for 2020 are May 28-31 and film submissions are open on the website. If you’re a filmmaker, including aspiring high school or college filmmakers, submit your films for consideration.
A very special mention goes out to Kristin Gauthier, the new manager of the Canton Theatre. She made popcorn for four days straight and never once set off the fire alarm! That was a very real possibility and we guarantee we would have!
– Laine Kirby Wood, Etowah Film Festival co-founder