The Maumee Film Festival, a chance for Toledo area filmmakers to show their skills behind the camera, is hosted at the Maumee Indoor Theater, Saturday, Sept. 23. This year’s panel of judges, who personally watch and rank the submitted films, includes Katie Holmes, her sister Tamera Fretti and Maumee native and actor Robert Knepper, best known for his role on the FOX series Prison Break.
The third annual festival includes a short film challenge, an open genre competition where films of 12 minutes or less compete for cash prizes, as well as the Project-4 Challenge, where filmmakers get four days to complete a project which includes a given line of dialogue as well as at least one scene shot identifying Maumee.
Judges are reviewing 45 short film submissions as well as 10 Project-4 entries.
Last year, filmmaker Brett Wineland made his film festival debut in Maumee with “Torn” — a five-minute piece about a man’s feelings for both his wife and another man — which won the 48-Hour Film Challenge (when participants had just two days instead of four to complete their movies).
“One thing I got from the festival was the sense of community,” said Wineland, now attending film school at BGSU. “Everyone is just very excited to do projects. They want to know how you did something, they want to hook up on a future project, they want your opinion on what they shot — it’s a very humble community. There are people I met at the festival that I’m in communication with on a regular basis.”
Alex Goetz, a local filmmaker who along with Justin Grubb won “Best of Fest” honors at the inaugural Festival in 2015 with their film “Living Isle,” is part of the festival planning committee to improve the event for both filmmakers and viewers, traveling to film festivals around the region, taking notes on what he liked — and what he didn’t. “We want to make this event even bigger and better,” he said. “The Maumee Film Festival has a lot of potential to be a great event for film enthusiasts in Northwest Ohio.”
Nancy Gagnet, festival chair, said the event offers a unique opportunity for filmmakers to network with like-minded individuals in Toledo. “The Maumee Film Festival is a fantastic opportunity for local and regional filmmakers to connect with each other and showcase their work,” she said. “You never know what chance meetings could open doors and lead to more opportunities. That is what we want to provide to those in the film community.”
To help foster networking, the festival has added a kickoff event for participating filmmakers at Maumee’s own Westcott Soundstage, where attendees can tour the studio, network and peruse new movie-making gear. Adding professional actors such as Holmes and Knepper to the judges’ panel benefits those with submitted films, Goetz noted. “It’s a unique opportunity for any filmmaker to have Katie Holmes and Robert Knepper watching their films,” he said. Organizers are not certain whether the judges will attend the festival.
General admission tickets for the festival are $6, available at the Maumee Indoor Theater box office or online at maumeefilmfestival.com. Visit the website for screening times.