Festival to show award-winning films

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Patrick Higgs didn’t know his paper route at age 9 would lead him to an acting career.

His advice is to “just do it.”

Higgs is the artistic director for the Alhambra Theatre Film Festival, where he schedules films, sorts through content and puts the program together.

The film festival started as a fundraiser last year to raise money for the Alhambra Theatre This year, the festival has more than 325 submissions with 51 countries represented. Seventy films made it through to the festival with a chance to win the grand prize of  $3,000 or the $1,000 award for audience choice award, based on audience votes. www.thealhambratheatrefilmfestival.com

According to www.thealhambratheatrefilmfestival.com. the Alhambra Theatre is a historic movie theatre in the Haynie’s Corner Arts District designed by Frank J. Schlotter. It opened Sept. 27, 1913 as a movie theater. Restoration began in 2003 and is expected to be completed by 2017.

“Everyone always procrastinates and your first film is probably going to be the biggest piece of crap you’re going to make,” he said. “But once you get that under your belt, you’re good… (The festival) will help you network with other people that have done what you want to do or what you have done and that’s one of the great things about it.”

Higgs started out in commercials as a child and had roles in movies like  “Fatal Attraction,” “Lucid,” “Sacred Hearts” and many other films, especially low budget Indie films.

“We really do shoot a lot of movies in this area and that seems to be growing in the last four years,” Higgs said. “The festival will have films from around the world… and the directors are communicating with our local people, it’s a really neat thing to bring all the creative forces together like that.”

Higgs said he remembers when he was a teenager and the Alhambra Theatre was the place his generation would go and see bands.

Malcolm Cook said he wants to raise awareness for the theatre and the best way to do it was to have a fundraiser by having a film festival.

“It’s rewarding because we all want that theater restored,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity for us to get the public involved and it’s exciting because we get 100 filmmakers from across the world and the audience gets to interact with them.”

The festival is in its second year and saw a 55 percent increase in film submissions from the previous year..

Cook said some of the films featured have placed at the Toronto International Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival and many other festivals around the world. He said the submitted films aren’t films that would usually be showcased in Evansville.

“One of the films was a Sundance audience choice award winner… and was edited by a local Evansvillian,” Cook said. “The name of the film is ‘The First Girl I Loved’ and it stars Morena Baccarin, the teenage actress in ‘Deadpool.’ So that’s someone audiences will recognize.”

Edwina Mosley, a junior communication studies major, said she wants students who love film to know about the festival.

“Film festivals aren’t big in Evansville yet,” Mosley said. “ But you know it is growing and it is an activity to do. And those types of people with a creative streak, they can get out there and submit films at a fairly reasonable price to get their name out there.”

As an intern for the festival, Mosley had the opportunity to judge some of the films.

“I got to see a lot of interesting stuff and I was surprised by the young talent, especially the high school ones,” she said.

Mosley said people are surprised she was able to watch so many films for the judging process.

“My professor asked me, ‘How do you watch so many films, you’re going to drive yourself crazy?’  But it’s not like that, the short film category has some films that are only a minute,” Mosley said.

Mosley said on April 8, festival will host Cinema for Students Day where students will have question and answer sessions with Filmmakers. This is free for students with a valid student ID.

For more information go online to https://www.thealhambratheatrefilmfestival.com/.

Fast Facts:

What: Alhambra Theatre Film Festival

When: April 7-10

Where: Haynie’s Corner

Cost: Free for students on Friday