Role by Roll: Film Fest weekend returns to Gary

2013-02-22T00:00:00Z 2013-02-22T22:33:04Z Role by Roll: Film Fest weekend returns to GaryBy Philip Potempa, (219) 852-4327

Director Van Elder knows that making a "short subject" movie can be an even tougher editing task as the efforts to tackle a feature film.

"To tell a story in 10 or 15 minutes, it take a lot more editing and just as much footage as some major motion pictures," said Elder, who is from Los Angeles, but in Northwest Indiana for the weekend.

"And if you leave out a scene or exchange that later turns out to be key to the development, it's back to the beginning of the process to make certain the final outcome is seamless."

Elder is one of the highlights for the 2nd Annual Film Festival in Gary this weekend.

He helped launch the event last year, and is returning with two new projects to showcase, and also hosting question and answer sessions about Hollywood and the film and directing process.

African American Achievers Youth Corps, Inc., is once again partnering with other local groups to sponsor the fest, which last year was dedicated to Gary actor William L. Johnson, who is also returning this year and will assist with hosting duties. Johnson is an Emerson High School graduate.

The festival kicks-off at 7 p.m. tonight and continues Saturday night, with all events at the Glen Theatre, 20 West Ridge Road, in Gary.

Johnson, a graduate of Emerson Visual and Performing Arts High School, has held starring roles in many theatrically released projects.

According to State Rep. Vernon Smith, one of the organizers for the event, it was Johnson's performance as a lead in director Craig Ross' "Blue Hill Avenue" that helped the movie garner top honors at film festivals. Some of Johnson's film projects include "Motives 2," "Mannsfield 12," "Crossover," "Doing Hard Time," "Tears of a Clown" and "Motives 1."

Among other sponsors for this year's festival are WLTH 1370 AM radio, Life Church International, Clark Road Church Foundation, Brother2Brother and Brothers' Keeper.

Smith said the festival is important because it not only brings the community together using media and discussion, but it also inspires youth with success stories from the industry. Other guests featured this weekend at the festival are producer Foster Corder and actor, writer, producer and director Reggie Gaskins.

"Many people work hard all year to make this festival happen and we want it to keep growing year after year as a tradition," Smith said.

As for Elder's most recent directing projects, he's bringing a print of his new 10 minute short subject film "Truth Among Men," which screens tonight as a world premiere.

"It's about a conversation between a father and son and what unfolds," Elder said.

His other movie short, being screened Saturday night, is called "Out of Body Experience," which details the difficulties faced by a newlywed couple discussing whether or not to have children.

"I was born and raised in California, so I'm not from Northwest Indiana," Elder said.

"But I love the audiences and the feedback for my projects."


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