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Archive for Thursday, September 18, 1997

FILM FESTIVAL HARVESTS AREA TALENT

September 18, 1997

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Some diverse short films will be on view Friday night.

There will be no golden statues given away; no acceptance speeches delivered from a podium.

But area filmmakers will have their works admired -- or at least viewed -- by an audience during the sixth annual Harvest of Arts Film Festival Friday night at The Granada, 1020 Mass.

This year's participants explore a variety of subjects through different techniques, from a father-and-son team who worked with animated drawings to a clip from an upcoming feature-length documentary.

Mark von Schlemmer, who created and is coordinating this year's festival, said the event's finest feature is community spirit.

"It's a noncompetitive film festival. There's no judging going on here," he explained. "It's about finding out what your neighbors are working on and seeing what kind of art is going on that normally you wouldn't see.

"In the past, I've had things from high school students taking a video class to things produced at Centron film studio that they did 15 years ago, but are just now surfacing and seem relevant."

Among the entrants this year will be a piece originally shown during the first year of the festival, "Rub Out the Word," by Roger Holden. The film features a reading by the late writer-artist William S. Burroughs and the work of several area artists captured simultaneously on film.

Von Schlemmer also is hoping to finish work on a short tribute piece to Burroughs the includes footage made during Burroughs' art opening at Artists En Masse several years ago.

"He was a big influence on a lot of people. His passing certainly seems relevant to local arts," von Schlemmer said.

This year's festival showcases more experimental works and fewer dramatic pieces than in previous years. The festival also is feeling the effect of growth in Kansas University's film department.

"I think we're getting more work from them and it's better," von Schlemmer said.

Although many of the entrants are novices, a few are festival veterans. Kevin McKinney, a KU graduate now working in film, has entered "Planet Trash," a cynical look at alien archaeologists uncovering Earth's remains.

"It goes through dumps and shows what a mess humans made," von Schlemmer said.

The film was shown at several competitive festivals, including the relatively new South By Southwest Festival last spring in Austin, Tex.

Lawrence filmmaker Tim DePaepe will be showing a short clip of the film he has been working on for several years, which documents homosexual life in the Midwest.

"This is a seven-minute film of interviews with gays in the community, throughout the Midwest and some of the things they've run into -- like Fred Phelps," von Schlemmer explained.

For von Schlemmer, the hardest part of organizing the event is choosing the entrants. Several people submitted 20-minute films, but with only two hours of viewing time allotted, only one longer piece is likely to be shown.

"I usually end up getting just a few more than I need and I try to fill it out with a diversity of works of different levels," von Schlemmer said. "I'm not here to judge other people's art."

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