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Content Any Way U Want It!

BG Falcon Media

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September 21, 2023

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Film festival in BG shows independent projects

For independent filmmaker Eric Ayotte of Buffalo, N.Y., there weren’t many opportunities to make short films after college.

So instead of trying to break into the Hollywood movie scene, he embraced the idea of do-it-yourself filmmaking and put together his very own traveling film festival – an event where filmmakers can present compelling stories infused with humor or thought-provoking ideas to others.

Tonight, Ayotte and a few of his friends will roll into town on their touring bus with about 25 films on hand. They will present the films they’ve selected as part of their “Gadabout Film Festival,” a free event which will take place in the Chapman Community Center on Wooster Street from 8 to 11 p.m.

Ayotte has traveled to about 50 cities in the last six years, each year with a new set of films.

He travels with his friends. Whether they’re giving a talk at a film screening or just running the projector, they all share Ayotte’s passion for do-it-yourself art.

Emily Berens, president of the University Film Organization, said one thing she likes about the group is they usually become friends with anyone they work with, whether it’s a featured musician or artist in the festival, or whoever hosts the group while they’re in town.

But what she appreciates most about the festival is that it can give those who’ve dreamed about making films the inspiration to go out and get started.

“It’s a good way to show people that here in Bowling Green, Ohio, we can just make films and we don’t have to wait for a studio or find equipment, we can work with what we have,” Berens said.

For many people, what they have may only be a digital camera, which to the University Film Organization’s treasurer, Alex Bean, has been very beneficial to independent film makers.

“I think newer technologies like digital cameras are really freeing up the film scene,” he said.

Ayotte said the films they show are independent in every sense of the word, often with low budgets.

But he said the festival does have to turn people away. The festival won’t show films that he said are Youtube quality. Ayotte said they take films that have a clear beginning and end and a rise in action.

The festival also shows a few international films, but most are from the United States.

Though Ayotte is a filmmaker himself, he doesn’t usually show his own films in the festival.

“I’m pretty critical of my own stuff,” he said.

Ayotte is more concerned with showing other films and inspiring people to try it for themselves.

“You go to theater or you go to a big megaplex or see a band in an arena, and it seems so out of reach,” he said. “People come [to Gadabout] and they see stuff and they think, ‘Hey, I can do that too,’ ” and they feel motivated.”

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