Gaming, Grappling and More
Short films, feature-lengths, documentaries and more will be represented at the third annual Glass City Film Festival (GCFF) beginning on May 17.
“GCFF is four days of indie films, from all genres and filmmakers around the world. It takes places at cool venues, offering the chance to watch new, independent films that you won’t find anywhere else,” said event coordinator Kim Sanchez.
In previous years the event was held at the Ohio Theatre, but this year the festival will take place at several different venues, including the Collingwood Art Center and the Toledo Museum of Art. Sanchez sees the event becoming a city-wide celebration in the future.
“I love film and I want to see Toledo have its own film festival and a dedicated space for independent cinema,” Sanchez emphasizes.
The impact of a different sport— hockey— on its community is examined in the documentary short Clark Park, a film about the Detroit area’s last outdoor ice rink.
“There used to be recreation centers all over the city that maintained ice rinks, and as the city fell on hard financial times, and the recreation centers closed, so did the ice rinks,” said Troy Anderson, the film’s director.
A freelance video producer, Anderson began volunteering at Clark Park himself after seeing the center mentioned in a documentary about the Red Wings. Over the course of a few years, he began filming and documenting the efforts of the people who worked there to preserve the park, and its impact on the community. Anderson noted it was gratifying to see the positive response the film has received— especially from its subjects.
“The whole reason that I wanted to make this film is that I wanted to show a wider audience the work that this small, non-profit, made up of people from a neighborhood in southwest Detroit— how big an impact their work has had on kids and families.”
Screening: Saturday, May 19 | 4pm
Collingwood Arts Center
For Toledo filmmaker James Aponte, being able to host the world premiere of a movie he produced in the Glass City is a bit of a dream come true—fitting, given the subject of his feature, Dream Runner.
“It’s a science-fiction/noir/thriller movie,” Aponte said. “It’s set in a world where, for reasons we don’t really remember, humans have lost the ability to dream, so we have to make dreams ourselves.”
A UT alum, Aponte was working on the script for a different, unproduced project when two ideas from that piece— a woman carrying a “briefcase full of dreams” and a detective character— stuck with him and formed the seed of an idea that became Dream Runner. Written and produced over the past two years Aponte said he hopes his film’s premiere can serve as an inspiration to other area filmmakers.
“It shows other people you don’t have to necessarily go out to New York or Hollywood to make a feature film, you can do it right here.”
Screening: Sunday, May 20 | 5pm
Collingwood Arts Center
The Power of Glove
A unique festival submission, The Power of Glove, is a documentary about the legacy and impact of a largely forgotten peripheral for the original Nintendo Entertainment System—the motion controller called the Power Glove. The film, by directors Andrew Austin and Adam Ward, was suggested to them by a colleague when the two of them attended grad school at Wake Forest.
“It was one of those things where, ‘It sounds like a really good idea— so good it’s already been done. But after looking, all we could really find was YouTube videos, kind of Wikipedia entries that are not incredibly accurate. And we thought, hey, there actually is something here,” Ward said.
The film examines not only the making of the original product, but also the ways the product introduced the idea of motion controls of a digital interface to a mass market.
“It’s gone a lot further than just the realm of video games,” Austin said. “A lot of people compartmentalize the Power Glove as just being seen as this video game peripheral that failed. When, in reality, the creators of it really envisioned this thing as being a product that would bridge the human world with the virtual world, in a way that transcends video games.”
Screening: Saturday, May 19 | 12:30pm
A Shot in the Dark
Perhaps the most personal film at the festival is A Shot in the Dark, a documentary about wrestler Anthony Ferraro, who was born legally blind. The film, a genuine labor of love for its director Chris Suchorsky, himself a former wrestler, was suggested by a former teammate, Pat Smith, now a highly regarded wrestling coach.
“He sent me a two minute video… of Anthony, that Anthony’s older brother Oliver had put together. Ollie had gone to film school and was looking to do a documentary on Anthony, so he put together a two minute ‘sizzle reel’ to kind of showcase Anthony and his ability. And at the bottom of the Vimeo page it basically said, ‘This is my little brother, I’m looking to make a film about him.”
Suchorsky connected with Oliver, and the two filmed Anthony as he competed in 2013. Life intervened, and the project was put on the back burner for a few years. Then, sadly, as Suchorsky tried to get the ball rolling again, Oliver suddenly passed away in 2015.
“That was the catalyst to really finish the film. (And I) spent the next year and a half, two years, really, editing the film and getting it to the point where it is now.”
The resulting project is a deeply moving film that can be enjoyed without regard to knowledge of the sport. “It’s not a wrestling film,” Suchorksy said. “It’s a film about a blind kid trying to compete with kids who can see, and overcoming great obstacles.”
Screening: Saturday, May 19 | 7pm
Building A Scene
From Thursday to Sunday, the Glass City Film Festival will screen documentaries, animated shorts, full-length dramas, thrillers, noir, and more, at five venues in Toledo. Events are either free, $10, or you can pick up a $60 fancy pass for full access to all screenings and activities during the festival.
See the full schedule of showcases, features, mini-film festivals and other great events at glasscityfilmfest.com.
TSA Film Festival & Local Short Films Showcase
6-10pm | Thursday, May 17
Handmade Toledo | Free
Kick off the GCFF during two free events at Handmade Toledo. Check out over 20 short films from students at the Toledo School for the Arts from 6-8pm. Then, stick around for nine short films produced in NW Ohio and SE Michigan during a showcase.
Toledo films: Michael DeSanto’s short about a man’s transformational job interview, Exit Interview. Matt Erman and Capture 1 Studios’ animated trip through the cosmos, Universal Drift; and Virginia Shine’s horror about a widower doctor, Waiting.
Haskins, OH films: Clinton Alger LaForest’s story about familial objects, The Keepsake, and Robert Herrick’s drama about life behind the bar, The Bartender’s Guide.
Bowling Green films: Lonnie Carrier’s thriller about escaping inner demons, Temptation, and Hailey Ameling’s drama about an artist coping with a tragedy, Dilution.
Michigan films: Tim Sparks from Spring Arbor presents a day in the life in Campus Safety, and Thomas Butcher from Troy will screen a Neo-Noir musical, Unlawful.
6-8:30pm | Friday, May 18
TMA | Free
The Toledo Museum of Art hosts an evening of youth-produced short films and the 2017 documentary film Purple Dreams, which details the transformative power of arts education on the lives of inner-city, at-risk students.
5-7pm | Saturday, May 19
Ohio Theatre | $10
Welcome Toledo-Lucas County has partnered with the GCFF to present a collection of six short films that shine a spotlight on the lives of first and second generation immigrants.
The United States of Detroit
4-6pm | Sunday, May 20
Ohio Theatre | $10
Detroit’s comeback didn’t happen by chance—the Motor City’s residents made it happen. See how community leaders dealt with the city’s loss of industry in this inspirational and impactful documentary from California-based director Tylor Norwood. Follow leaders who helped empower citizens through community projects, including a grassroots urban agriculture movement, a creative transformation of dilapidated buildings, and a pastor’s approach to aiding the community.