MCGURK: Film series gives birth to local support group
Sunday, August 27, 2000

MCGURK: Film series gives birth to local support group

        The recently concluded “Homegrown Film” series at the Union Institute has already spawned its first production — a new organization for film and video makers

        The Southern Ohio Filmmakers Association (SOFA, and yes, that was deliberate), first came together among filmmakers who screened their low-budget movies and acted as guest lecturers for the “Homegrown Film” series.

        According to Mark Turner, producer of April's Fool, series coordinator Laura O'Connell suggested the group model itself after the Indiana Filmmakers Network, of which she is a member.

        “It's really a support group for local filmmakers,” Mr. Turner said.

        Among those involved are Mark Burchett (Vamps, Evil Ambitions), Jeff Dunn (Zombe Vampire Massacre), Matt Hader (April's Fool), Scott Wegener (Golem), Mike Caporale (The Piano Tuner), actor Bob Elkins and Duffy Hudson and Will Benson, of the pending Tattered Angel project.

        Casting agent Linda Winters said members hope the group will allow them to share information, connect with casts and crews, trade equipment and simply “associate with like-minded people.”

        “We wanted to make sure that we were all acquainted with each other,” she said. “Our thinking is once any one of us gets a project off the ground that gets good distribution, it should help all of us.”

        She said SOFA is collecting ideas from IFN and the Cleveland-based Northcoast Stunt and Movie Extras, for projects such as IFN's “Big Shoot” when several filmmakers pool resources to create short films on weekends.

        The group may eventually bring in guest speakers, sponsor contests, help find filmmaking grants and offer training in legal and financial skills.

        SOFA plans to hold its first official get-together at 8 p.m. Sept. 19 at Habit's Cafe, 3036 Madison Road, Oakley.

        The meeting is open to anybody working in film and video. Call Ms. Winters at 729-0999.

        Media Salon redux: While we're on the subject of aspiring artists:

        The first two Media Salon critique sessions were so successful, organizers had to find a new home for the next quarterly meeting.

        The Salon will convene at 7 p.m. Sept. 21 at the library in Old St. George, 42 Calhoun, University Heights.

        The first two sessions at Cody's Cafe, also on Calhoun Street, drew more people than the upstairs parlor could hold, said Belinda Rawlins of Media Bridges. “We have been getting 25 to 30 people. And it was completely different people each time,” she said.

        Media Bridges, formerly Cincinnati Community Video, sponsors the salon in conjunction with the Cincinnati Film Society and the Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers.

        Here's how it works: Attendees bring videos, multimedia CDs or films of their works in progress and let the rest of the group offer comments, criticisms, tips and tricks of the trade. Robin Riley of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music electronic media program presides.

        Registration is not required, but anyone who intends to show film (as opposed to video or multimedia) needs to contact Media Bridges about projection equipment. Email or call 651-4171.

        Torch passes: Speaking of Media Bridges, founding director Joyce Miller has stepped down so she can devote herself to her first love, writing. Ms. Rawlins succeeds her.

        New York connection: The Dream Catcher, the award-winning film by Yellow Springs-based filmmaker Ed Radtke, has been chosen for a week-long engagement at the Walter Reade Theater in New York's Lincoln Center Sept. 15-22.

        The booking is part of the special showcase, called American Independent Visions, presented by the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Independent Feature Project, along with Time Warner Cable and the Sundance Channel.

        Film Society programmer Kent Jones praised the movie, the story of two runaway teen-agers trying to connect with lost family, as “a rich, inventive film in the great tradition of the American road movie.”

        Mr. Radtke and producers Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar will be in New York for the duration of the run. Mr. Bognar's 1996 documentary Personal Belongings and his 1999 short film Picture Day recently screened at New York's Anthology Film Archive.

        Audition alert: A short film due to be shot in Cincinnati Sept. 25-28 will audition actors for a variety of speaking roles — including some with modest pay.

        The film, called The King Hippo, is written and directed by Matt Tassone, who worked as director of photography on Lillies, a feature shot on digital video in Cincinnati this summer by former Tristate resident Gagan Singh.

        The King Hippo will need young men and woman of various races and ethnicities for the main roles. Older adults will be needed for supporting parts and as extras. Applicants for major roles will be interviewed Tuesday at Lakeridge Conference Hall, 7118 Pippin Road, at Banning Road. For appointments, call Linda Winters, 729-0999.

        A second audition will be held Saturday for smaller parts and non-speaking extras. Call Ms. Winters for more details.

        Such a deal!: Showcase Cinemas is offering $1 admission to classic films at two area theaters once a month. The first Wednesday of each month, the “Silver Cinema” feature is shown at a Showcase Cinemas Western Hills; on first Thursdays, the movie runs at Showcase Cinemas Cincinnati in Bond Hill.

        The fall schedule: Sept. 6-7, Alexander's Ragtime Band with Cincinnati native Tyrone Power; Oct. 4-5, All About Eve; Nov. 1-2, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir; Dec. 6-7, Oliver.

        The best part: Admission includes popcorn and a beverage.

        For more details, logon to
       Margaret A. McGurk is Enquirer film critic. Write her at 312 Elm St. Cincinnati 45202; fax to (513) 768-8330; e-mail to


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