How to Make Films in Georgetown
GTX Film Fest & Conference highlights filmmakers young and old
GTX Film, the annual filmmaker conference held in Georgetown, is back for a third year next weekend, but this time they're spicing things up by adding a film festival, with an emphasis on local filmmakers. Festival coordinator Tony LaMarr said, "We're showing your friends, we're showing your family, we're showing your community."
The festival serves first and foremost as a learning experience for burgeoning filmmakers. It's a chance for them to showcase their films in a professional environment while also gaining a sense of the challenges of promotion. "There's a lot of things that they are not aware of," LaMarr said. "We want to bring that to their attention."
As it's the inaugural year, the organizers want to attract a wide audience with a variety of tastes, so there is no singular theme. The lineup includes offerings from several genres, including romantic comedy, documentary, and horror. "I'm proud of all the films," LaMarr said. "As a filmmaker myself, getting the film completed and submitted is amazing in itself."
A major part of the festival's Saturday programming will be built around student films. The booking team had originally planned to make Sunday "Student Day," but being part of the main festival will allow young filmmakers to get the full premiere treatment – they'll walk the red carpet, see their work on the big screen, and engage with the audience during Q&A sessions. "There are a lot of students out there who want to get in film," Executive Director Cindy Weigand said. "We think it's important to foster and encourage young filmmakers."
The festival's focus extends beyond just the fresh-faced. Being of self-professed "retirement age," Weigand feels strongly about supporting older filmmakers as well. "We have a lot of stories also. I want to encourage people my age, or even older: Get your story out there. If not now, then when are you going to do this? You never know what will catch somebody's interest."
In addition to the festival, the flagship conference will feature panels with industry professionals in fields such as producing, cinematography, and casting, while on Sunday Weigand and staff will give guided tours of Georgetown to educate location scouts on what the city can offer future projects. A pitch competition provides the opportunity for people to receive constructive feedback on their ideas for features, shorts, TV pilots, and web programs. Pitches will be judged on criteria such as delivery and marketability. "Ours is to help teach people how to do this," Weigand said. "You never know when you're gonna meet somebody and they say, 'What are you working on?' You need to be prepared to give a 90-second pitch."
Weigand hopes local residents will attend so they can see what a film festival is all about and the effort involved in making a film, and so those with aspirations of their own can be inspired to take the next step in getting their projects made. "I hope those who have story ideas get information to move forward," Weigand said. "To keep going, to be persistent, to show a lot of tenacity. And I want people to be entertained. They're fun films."
GTX Film: Film Festival & “How To” Conference, April 5-7 at City Lights Theatre in Georgetown, Texas. Tickets and info at www.gtxfilm.org.