Nat: Today is the first day of the Soho International Film Festival in New York City, where 60 independent filmmakers are screening their movies in the hope of getting them distributed.
The festival is in its third year and had 650 entries to choose from.
Jackie Mader is live at the Sunshine Theater on Houston street where the red carpet is starting to fill up.
Jackie, why did the founders see a need for another film festival here in New York City, especially just a week before Tribeca begins? (23)
Jackie: Well this festival is really for people on the fringe, or the edge of filmmaking. It can be really hard to get into bigger festivals like Tribeca, so the SOHO festival is trying to attract minority filmmakers, women filmmakers, even student filmmakers. There’s a lot of diversity in the films. They have a puerto rican showcase. And they have a good amount of New York City filmmakers who have made films about the city. I spoke to Sibyl Santiago, she’s the executive director of the festival, and she said that a lot of filmmakers don’t get the attention they deserve, so the festival tries to be a solution.
SANTIAGO: There’s a little bit of frustration with some of the festivals in the city- they’re not giving them the audience they need or not giving them a chance to put their films out. We are trying to give them a medium to have a place to bring indie films. (0:12)
Nat: Ok so which of these indie films are getting the biggest buzz at the festival this year?
Jackie: Octavia Spencer is involved in two films that are getting a lot of buzz. Remember, she just won the Academy Award for her role in “The Help,” and she was relatively unknown before that. She is acting in a film, but she also directed a short film called “The Unforgiving Minute.” It’s a film about a young boy growing up in a broken home.
Nat: So the festival is attracting some pretty big names.
Jackie: Yes, but mainly celebrities who are still into Indie films. So, Octavia Spencer is popular and could probably go to a bigger festival, but she’s still really involved in the independent market, and is very passionate about these types of festivals. Also, Michael Rymer, who directed Battlestar Gallactica, he has a film here that he shot in Australia. It won several awards over there, but not so much over here. So these are very successful people who but also have side projects that they feel strongly about.
Nat: So who are the filmmakers we should be excited about who we haven’t really heard about yet?
Jackie: Right so Leslie Manning, she’s a name to keep in mind. She directed a film called “Leila” that was shot in the UK. That film has already won awards at other festivals. Also, Nate Taylor, he directed a film called “Forgetting the Girl” and that film sold out in the first three hours when the festival put up tickets to the films. So I would say both of those directors are ones to watch and the films should be pretty good too.
Nat: Sounds like it should be an interesting festival. Thanks Jackie. Jackie Mader was live from Sunshine Theater on the lower east side.