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Lights, camera, Hamilton: first film festival approaches

By Victoria Postmantur
On April 1, 2013

The first Hamilton Film Festival is fast approaching, with five downtown locations showing 32 films contributed by local and global filmmakers, including Miami University students.

Film Hamilton, a local group that assists in raising funds to sustain Hamilton's local television station, TvHamilton, will host the festival according to Mindy Muller, development executive at film Hamilton.

"Film Hamilton is just a year old, and was set up as a social enterprise, with the idea of promoting Hamilton as a location for feature film production to help generate the local economy," Muller said. "We are not directly tied with TvHamilton, but we have structured ourselves to be an ongoing support for TvHamilton through fundraising."

The film festival will honor Kentucky's own journalist, anchorman and television host Nick Clooney for his work in promoting the film industry, according to Muller.

Muller said 32 out of 50 films reviewed by an executive panel of judges were selected and will be featured in the festival.

"There weren't a tremendous number of local submissions, however, we got three from Australia, and one of them are attending the event," Muller said. "There were several [intra-]national submissions, including from Florida, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. 14 of the 25 filmmakers will be attending the event."

Film Hamilton's goal is show filmmakers what cinematic opportunities Hamilton offers by allowing them to see for themselves.

"Hamilton has a lot of cool structures that can give a city look, but also offers rural areas for filmmakers to chose from," Muller said. "People can use Hamilton's tour buses to get to different viewing locations. Other stops on the tour include areas we would want to highlight to filmmakers, like the sculpture park at Pyramid Hill and the Conservatory at Miami."

Miami seniors Konrad Norris, Bryce Norris and Colten Kidwell, producers and founders of Openview Cinema, create everything from films and TV spots to music and wedding videos. Three of their films were submitted to the Hamilton Film Festival.

"Being from Oxford, we have an interest in films from the southwestern Ohio area," Konrad Norris said. "This is obviously an excellent opportunity to participate in a festival. Hamilton is starting to do great things with film."

Kidwell talked about what this festival can bring to Hamilton and southwest Ohio.

"When I found out Hamilton was having a festival, I was kind of taken back because I didn't see it as a destination for filmmakers," Kidwell said. "However, they're really trying to start that. One point of the festival is to draw enthusiasm from across the state and country. In southwest Ohio, filmmakers can produce cheap films in a variety of venues at low cost. Everything from filming permits and housing for cast and crew is quite less expensive."

One of Openview Cinema's films, "You Can Play," made for Miami's hockey program and featuring Miami students, will be shown at the festival. The film premiered in Farmer School of Business in the fall of 2011.

"This film is documentary style and features Miami and Miami's Hockey team," Kidwell said. "This film honors Brendan Burke and the fight for sexual equality in collegiate sports, creating an environment where everyone feels accepted. It is exciting to be part of this film and we will see how does in the festival."

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