Frame Of Mind
● By Kerri Regan
THE SUNDIAL FILM FESTIVAL SHOWCASES THE CREATIVITY OF THE NORTH STATE
Story: Kerri Regan
Photo: courtesy of Kara Stewart
On a mid-December morning in 2007, Mark Lascelles invited about 20 colleagues to breakfast to toss around a lofty question: Could we create a film and photography festival to showcase the finest work of some of the North State’s most creative artists?
The answer was a resounding “yes.” “We were sold on a very simplistic plan on the back of a napkin,” Lascelles said.
With the help of about 40 committee members, the Sundial Film Festival will debut March 13-15 at the Cascade Theatre in Redding. Featured entries reflect the diversity of the artists, residents and natural resources in Northern California and Southern Oregon, and all filmmakers either live in the “State of Jefferson” or created their works here, organizers say.
“We want to showcase local talent and natural resources,” says Peggy O’Lea, who co-chaired the event with Lascelles. “We’re providing an opportunity for our local artists to have a platform.”
The festival has been entirely underwritten by sponsors to the tune of about $50,000. “There’s been a real show of community support for it,” Lascelles says. Because of that generosity, all proceeds from ticket sales will benefit the Redding Rotary’s charitable foundation and go right back into the community.
Short films (30 minutes and under) were accepted in four categories: narrative, documentary, animation and other. Festival goers won’t be disappointed by the diversity of topics, which include sumo wrestlers, snowboarding, college student life, Japanese mushrooms and the Himalayas.
The “Best of Show” film fetches a $1,000 cash prize, and winners in each category, along with the “Best of Show” student entry, take home $500. Films were judged by the Los Angeles Film Study Center.
For the still photography contest, categories included fine art, still life and action in three skill levels (beginner, intermediate and advanced). “Best of Show” in photography wins $500, and two Awards of Merit come with $200 cash prizes. Framed, matted prints of the top finishers will be professionally displayed in the Cascade Theatre during the festival, thanks to a new hanging system funded through a Shasta Regional Community Foundation grant.
The festival opens Friday night, March 13, with “Angle of Inspiration.” This documentary chronicles the evolution of the Sundial Bridge from drawing to completion and was created by Jessica Abbe, who has deep North State roots. The festival continues with film screenings on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.
A gala reception and awards show is slated for Saturday night, with Abbe as guest speaker. That event begins inside The Mall in downtown Redding, just outside Leatherby’s, with hors d’oeuvres and wine provided by local restaurants. The party will then progress to the Cascade Theatre for the awards.
Organizers envision the festival serving as a career springboard. “There are a pretty amazing number of people in this area who have had success in filmmaking,” O’Lea says. The most notable is producer and Shasta High graduate Kathleen Kennedy, whose dozens of credits include “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” and “Schindler’s List.”
Other former North State residents work for film production companies in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, Lascelles says. “We hope the students who enter will find the stimulation to pursue potential career opportunities,” he adds. And although the credits haven’t rolled on the first festival yet, organizers are already looking to the future. “We hope that every year it will grow exponentially and that it will be a showcase for the community,” says committee member Dave West. “I think we’re going to be blown away by it. It’s going to be spectacular.” Yet as it grows, organizers say it will hold true to its North State focus.
“We want to keep our local roots,” O’Lea says. “I think we have the opportunity to create something really meaningful for our community.”
Youth: $10 per event or $20 festival pass Adults: $15 per event or $30 festival pass Saturday night gala: $50 per ticket (not included in festival pass) Tickets available at the Cascade Theatre Box Office