Each week, the Winslow Theater shows the biggest and best Hollywood has to offer. This week, it’s time for the little guys to show what they can do.
The third annual Winslow Film Festival opens Thursday night with the narrative short film, “Winter Sea,” followed by a classic from Hollywood, “The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek.” The festival runs through Sunday night.
The festival was organized by Jennifer Lee, a visual effects editor in Los Angeles. She came to Winslow several years ago while researching a documentary about Mary Jane Colter and felt Winslow was the right place for the festival. Lee has worked with visual effects on such recent films as “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “Thirteen” and “Kill Bill.”
The movies are organized into four categories with awards given for each. The names of the awards were localized to Winslow.
The best Narrative Feature is the Rialto Award; the best Narrative Short is the Standin’ on the Corner Award; the best Documentary Feature is the Route 66 Award; the best Documentary short is the Jack’s Canyon Award.
“ I look for the best stories and how well the story is being told,” Lee said.
A visual effects panel discussion is planned for Saturday night. This year’s guest is Dave Hardberger. He began on films such as “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” and “Bladerunner” and most recently shot miniature models for the “Lord of the Rings” films.
Each year the festival continues to grow in the number of films and audience.
“The first year, maybe at our biggest audience, less than a third of the theater was full,” Lee said. “Last year, over a half of the theater was full at our biggest audience. I have a feeling that this year, we can pack that theater.”
The first year, there were 15 films. This year there are about 25, though more could be added by the time the festival begins.
Some films are receiving their first viewing in the United States. Other films are Arizona premieres and some are premiering just in Winslow.
“More people around Arizona call asking about the different types of films being shown, so it’s getting a lot more interest,” Lee said.
The sole Hollywood film, “The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek,” was made by writer/director Preston Sturges in 1944. Lee said she chose it due to its timeless comedy and for the fact that it was made at all.
“During World War II it was difficult to get films made that were in anyway controversial,” Lee said.
The story is of a young woman who has a wild night on the town and wakes up married and pregnant. She doesn’t know who the father is but eventually learns he is a soldier.
For a complete schedule, click on www.winslowfilmfestival.org on the Web.
WINSLOW FILM FESTIVAL 2004
All screenings are held at the Winslow Theater.
117 N. Kinsley Ave
Tickets: $6 per two-hour block.
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