This weekend we had the privilege of being a part of the James Bond III Film Festivals – Christian Edition in Springfield, Kentucky. It’s the first of a series of film festivals that will take place in Springfield throughout the year. In March will be the TV & New Media Edition, in July is Hollywood South, and in October is the Horror Edition.
As filmmakers, we go to a lot of film festivals. We’ve been to Christian and secular, big and small, new and established. Each one is different. Some focus on filmmakers. Others on the community. James Bond III Film Festivals managed to cater to both the filmmakers and the community.
From the initial submission process, I was impressed with their filmmaker friendliness. When I had a question, I received a prompt and courteous response. When it came notification date, they sent out notifications. Soon afterward, they announced nominees for awards. Throughout the process, they communicated with the filmmakers, providing information on the host city, offering hotel discounts, and doing everything they could to entice filmmakers to attend the event. Oh, and did I mention their very reasonable submission fees and super cheap ticket prices?
As the festival time arrived, I discovered that they were working hard to generate community attendance as well. They teamed with Springfield KY Tourism to spread the word to area folks. Their desire is to make Springfield a film destination.
I loved when we drove into town and were immediately greeted with a festival poster displayed at the city’s welcome sign. When we got to downtown, there was the Springfield Opera House with a digital sign welcoming filmmakers and promoting the event. And over the door was a festival banner. Inside was the red carpet and step and repeat, and upstairs was the theater.
The atmosphere at the festival was intimate and friendly. As soon as we arrived, we met fellow filmmakers from New York, and while we were talking to them, we were greeted by Dana, one of the festival organizers, who gave us a swag bag and a t shirt. We were also blessed to spend a wonderful hour chatting with James Bond III, a film producer who began his Hollywood career as a child actor when he was 8-years-old. He has a long list of film credits including starring in one of my all-time favorite movies, The Sky is Gray. We chatted about film festivals, the film industry, and filming in Kentucky.
The weekend concluded with the awards ceremony, a casual event attended by the Springfield mayor and other locals. We were honored to go home with six awards for Summer of ’67 – Best Feature, Best Lead Actress – Rachel Schrey, Best Supporting Actress – Mimi Sagadin, Best Supporting Actor – Jerrold Edwards, Best Set Design, and Best Costumes.
When we returned home, we learned one more thing to love about the festival. As soon as the awards ceremony was over, they posted the winners on Facebook and sent out an email to all the filmmakers letting everyone know who’d won. How nice is that? So often festivals neglect those who couldn’t come, so I know that prompt response was greatly appreciated by all those who were at home awaiting the results.
I look forward to following future James Bond III Film Festivals and watching them grow. If you’re a filmmaker, check them out on Film Freeway or at their website at http://jamesbondiiifilmfestival.com/