Saturday, February 2, 2013
The Star Lite Film Festival, now at the Winter Garden Theatre (160 West Plant Street • Winter Garden, FL), features independent films produced for less than $200,000. Film maker and Festival organizer, Michael Poley invited me to the opening night kick off reception on Thursday January 31st. I got there a bit early, so after I picked up my lanyard, I went next door where Kelly DeWayne Richards was playing piano. The place was called Pillars and it was the opening night. Blue neon laced its way along the curvaceous bar and large stage lights were set up behind the piano. I really wanted to draw but there wasn't enough time.
A red carpet lead into the reception room. A photographer took shots of people as they arrived in front of the Star Lite poster. The round tables has tiny golden Oscars, pop corn and incredibly small cards with the schedule printed on them. The type was an infinitesimal two points in size which made it near impossible to read with the naked eye. Small magnifying glasses were there but the plastic lens distorted the view more than it magnified. Film makers and patrons arrived and soon the room was buzzing with conversation.
At 8pm, Robin Cowie, the producer of the "Blair Witch Project", will introduce the festival as well as a micro budget film that his company, Haxan, produced called "Midnight Son", a successful Micro budget Film that received distribution. "Midnight Son" cost $50,000 to shoot and when everything was wrapped, it cost $149,000 in total. Ed Sanchez another Blair Witch contributor was the writer. The film featured a ravenous artist who couldn't satisfy his hunger. Skin on his arm was horribly burnt from being exposed to sunlight. His night security guard job kept him from ever seeing sun light. He finally realizes that the only thing that could satisfy his hunger was blood. He meets a girl who is addicted to coke but his addiction to blood is kept secret. Every time they get close to intimacy, his blood lust gets in the way. You are left wondering the whole time whether he is a vampire or just anemic. He never gains any supernatural strength or powers, he is just an addict who needs his next blood fix. It sucks to be a vampire.
After the film, Robin took questions from the audience. When asked what he looks for in micro budget films, he responded that he looks for scripts with audacity, he likes writers that take risks, doing something unexpected. More than anything he likes to be surprised. He feels that the new global digital world makes it easier for a film maker to find his audience.
Today, February 2nd, is the third and final day of the festival. There is a full day of films being screened and panel discussions. Go check out some films. Individual tickets are $5-$7.
11:30am The Racket Boys
1:30pm Social Media Panel
2:30pm The Spacewalk
6:15pm Equipment Panel
7:30pm Waterhole Cove
9:30pm Less Loss
11:15pm Awards Ceremony