Glen Rose Neo-Relix Film Festival is still going strong, but now it welcomes moviegoers to a new location. The festival, set for Thursday-Saturday, will be held at Oakdale Park.
“The move to Oakdale is something I’ve been wanting to do since we started the film festival five years ago,” said Darrell Best, festival director. “It provides such a nice place for filmmakers to come stay during the festival. With what (Oakdale Park Supervisor) Kelly Harris and (Convention and Visitors Bureau Director) Nichole Belford are doing together, it made sense to move to Oakdale Park this year. Hopefully the event brings traffic to the park over the long term.”
All festivities Thursday, March 27 will be free to the public, and patrons are encouraged to bring their lawn chairs. At 6 p.m. on the Oakdale Park stage, a local bluegrass group will play some tunes.
At 8 p.m., the short film “The Price,” featuring Randy Travis and directed by Kim Hughes, will be shown. The 30-minute film was shot in Glen Rose and includes scenes shot during the 2013 festival at Hollywood and Vine.
"People should come see if they made it into any of the shots," Best said. "On a lot of these short movies, the director is trying to get a concept across that somebody will go invest in for a full-length film."
At the film's conclusion, a preview of this year's 26 festival films will let patrons know what's in store for Friday and Saturday.
"Twenty-six films is typical for the number we've had in the past," Best said. "They'll be built in blocks of about 105 minutes with several movies in each. That gives everyone a break from time to time, because some filmmakers will watch every single movie in one day.
"The shortest movie we've had was from Japan in our first year. It was 15 seconds long, but it was a great 15 seconds."
After the previews, the bluegrass band will jump back on stage and close out Thursday activities. In the event of rain, Thursday activities will move into the Oakdale Park Convention Center. Food and beverages will be available from Oakdale Park concessions throughout the festival.
A $10 festival pass will allow patrons to see as many films as they wish Friday and Saturday in the convention center. Passes will be available for purchase Thursday.
Screening of films begins Friday at noon and will be shown in blocks until 6 p.m. After a dinner break, attendees will be shown two Vietnam War-era films: a short film called "JPAC - A Hero's Mission" and a feature film entitled "The Man Left Behind."
JPAC follows a military team into the jungles of Vietnam to search for three Americans missing since 1968. The documentary, which was also filmed in Hawaii, delves into the lives of military members and civilians across the globe who search for America's lost heroes.
The Man Left Behind, a film by Gregory Tomlin, tells the story of Paul Longgrear, who was sent to Vietnam to command an elite unit of the U.S. Army Special Forces. After miraculously surviving a battle in a concrete bunker alongside seven other Green Berets, Longgrear knew his life would never be the same - because he had to leave a man behind. The film chronicles Longgrear's return to Vietnam with his family, as they seek understanding about the war and how the conflict shaped the man Longgrear has become.
"It's coincidental that both of these films showed up in the festival, but they compliment each other," Best said.
Screenings run from noon to 7 p.m. Saturday, and there will also be two filmmaker seminars that day.
"The first seminar will be held from 9:30-11:30 a.m. by Canadian Filmmaker Katarzyna Kochany," Best said. "It's a free movie workshop intended for junior high and high school students, but everyone is welcome. It's an intro to filmmaking."
(See the related story on Kochany in today's edition.)
Later in the day, a group from Endeavor Cinema in Fort Worth led by Carlos Aguilar will host a seminar for experienced filmmakers. They will discuss topics such as the latest technology and techniques in the industry. Both seminars will be held at The Hangout.
Some past filmmakers to win a Rellie - the festival's award - will make their return.
"Melanie Addington of Oxford, Mississippi, who won The Judges Award in 2013 for her film 'S for Sally,' will return," Best said. "Director Bill Haas of Fort Worth returns, and he has won a Rellie both times he's entered the festival. Last year, he won in the horror/suspense category for 'The Leak.'"
After screenings conclude Saturday evening in the convention center, attendees will head over to the stage area for the awards ceremony. At the ceremony's conclusion, a local country-rock band will take the stage.
Best believes the festival has taken a clear turn for the better with its Oakdale transition.
"Kelly and Nichole have been absolutely super," he said. "They both really believe in the film festival and are enthusiastic about making it an annual event at Oakdale Park. You look at the great tradition of the (Paluxy River Fall) Bluegrass Festival at Oakdale, and we're striving to build our own tradition at the park over time. If it's successful, the traffic of attendees will benefit our community for years to come."