|Successful Third Street Film Fest gears up for second act|
James Hebert knows exactly how it feels to put everything on the line for a passion project. In true independent spirit, the bright-eyed 23-year-old risked his own earnings from part-time jobs to put on the Third Street Film Festival last fall.
“I kind of just rolled the dice. I could have been out my entire 2011 wages, but I built a film festival that is sustainable,” he says.
The festival sold out, and Hebert basically recouped his investment. But this time, he seeks outside support to bolster the festival as an annual event of Louisiana independent cinema.
“I’m hoping to get some local companies involved so I can expand it. I would like to have some keynote speakers [and] more interactive Q&A sessions,” Hebert says.
He feels the festival needs to grow in order to help filmmakers get attention from distributors and studios that can either expand a short film into a feature or help them get their next project going.
“These people are in your hometown, in your ZIP code. I was blown away by the submissions,” he says.
In only one night, last year’s event screened a dozen short films chosen from among 50 submitted. Hebert wants to do more. “I would like to approach some sponsors, and I am shooting for two nights this year, so that doubles the cost,” he says.
Hebert can’t predict what kind of creativity will be shown at the next Third Street Film Festival, scheduled for Dec. 28-29 at Manship Theatre, but he’s excited to see what filmmakers will offer to audiences.
“We’re trying to be an innovative film festival that’s not too stuffy, so that the average person can enjoy themselves without having to be a film critic,” he says. “This year, as our entries grow, we’re thinking that we will have more categories.”
When asked what criteria he has for festival submissions, Hebert keeps the possibilities open. “We’re looking for creative films that capture your imagination with production quality,” he says. “Not just the best camera work or sound, but for people who put a lot of passion, time and care into their films.”
More on the festival
The Third Street Film Festival, set for Dec. 28-29 at the Manship Theatre, started taking film submissions in July. Check out facebook.com/ThirdStreetFilmFestival for more on this year’s event.
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