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Local filmmakers take spotlight at ReelSpokane

Fri., Dec. 16, 2011, midnight

As venues for music and art come and go, local filmmaking has continued to thrive.

Long-standing institutions such as North by Northwest Productions and the annual Spokane International Film Festival notwithstanding, several events designed to spotlight the works of local filmmakers have sprung up in the Inland Northwest in recent years and the ReelSpokane Homegrown Short Film Event is on its way to becoming an institution itself.

Unlike the 48 Hour Film Festival and the 50 Hour Slam contests, ReelSpokane, now in its third year, is a non-competitive event, designed to showcase the cinematic creativity of Spokane artists before a broad audience. Although the basic parameters of the festival have stayed the same, Tom Dineen, who has served as ReelSpokane’s event coordinator since its inception in 2009, says the quality of the presentation has evolved.

“Filmmakers are cutting their teeth on the medium, and are practicing to better what they have become so passionate about,” he says.

The criteria are simple: Submitted shorts need to be locally produced and can not exceed 12 minutes, and individual filmmakers could turn in no more than three separate entries.

The submitted shorts were screened for a panel of judges composed of filmmakers and educators from the Spokane area. Once the films were scored by the panel, 16 were selected to play for the festival audience and arranged in a program that runs close to 2 hours.

This year’s film schedule is especially diverse, running the gamut of genres, including comedy (Aaron Fink’s “White Swan,” a parody of the Oscar-winning thriller “Black Swan”), drama (“Sackhead,” by Amanda Caballero, the moody tale of an artist who tries to befriend a masked outcast), documentary (Sherri Urann’s “Haiti – Small Beginnings,” which examines the plights of Haitian children), and music video (“Spokane’s Finest [Premix],” directed by Rajah Bose, featuring local hip-hop ensemble the Flying Spiders).

“For the film community, events like this serve an incredibly important value,” Dineen says. “When we see all the talent and determination that surrounds us, it instills pride in us for where we live.”

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