Written by Diana Kasem
THE LEVANT NEWS EXCLUSIVE – – The Red Rock Film Festival supports independent cinema with a variety of genres, from westerns, adventure sports, docs and international dramatic features.
The annual international Red Rock Film Festival has a mission to encourage “film that portrays the human race in a positive light.”
The emerging film festival will be held on November 2-8, screening more than 80 new films with filmmakers, up-coming actors and welcoming all Ages.
The festival director Matt Marxteyn, honored us with this pleasing dialogue and optimistic answers.
Speaking of Red Rock Film Festival, he explained the evaluation criteria, the now dominant tendencies in film festivals and independent cinema.
How does the festival evaluate the submitted middle east and Arabic world films?
Categories range from shorts to features in Documentaries, Fiction, Animation, Experimental and Music Video with special categories for Young Student Filmmakers and Collegiate Shorts. The Red Rock Film Festival is in its 9th year of work. The past two years have shown an increase of films from the Middle East and they get better and better.
We do awards every year, usually three judges in each category. Only the official selections are judged, and the official selections make up for about 10-20% of the films submitted from around the world, including Middle East and the Arabic world.
What is special about this coming 9th edition?
This year we have more than 800 films, that’s more than we have had before. and we are expanding the festival to one week in “Festival City, USA” (Cedar City, Utah).
How does the festival evaluate these modern films which represent the future, coming cinema of the world?
We consider our mission when evaluating films and look at film from the artistic point of view . Our mission is “To encourage the production of media in both the independent and professional market that portray the human race in a positive light, and to applaud original works that redefine media through innovation, creativity and sensitivity that both enlightens and educates audiences from around the world.”
After suffering under endless wars, terrorism, bad economic situation, lack of safety and instability’s long-term effects… What future is waiting for cinema in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Palestine?
There will always be filmmakers. Out of the darkest days can we appreciate the light. One of the key elements in telling stories, are the characters overcoming conflict and as the people of Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Palestine and other countries in the Middle East attempt to overcome the conflicts in their life, truth is revealed in their stories and as a result they become better story tellers. Without the struggle and without the tears, we would all become clones of one another.
People will continue to choose to make a film no matter what it takes to be heard, and to reveal the true nature of the human race whether it is with an old camera or a used cell phone. Stories will be told.
There are a lot of cinema festivals in USA; what are the difficulties, such a festival could face?
We started when there were just about 500 festivals, now there are more than 5,000. Nearly every film event wants to be a “festival” even if they are just a film series or one night event — this can work at odds against real festivals as people will not know what to expect. As more and more festivals develop, funding will get more sparse and the film festival world will only get more popular if people attend the real festivals. In today’s world the newer festivals need to become niche festivals with a creative outlook. Catering to the masses can also hurt the independent festivals who want to cater to the more underground style of filmmaking. This is why we concentrate on the artistic values of films as to not get too Hollywood. Hollywood films tend to tell stories only on the surface, while independent films reveal a subtext that is just below the surface, creating a dual meaning in the film. This is something that needs to be learned independently and not through celebrity or sensationalism.
It’s worth mentioning that the festival accepts entries of all genres from shorts to full-length features, and is held in Southern Utah, encouraging the independent spirit, young college students and seniors.
Sources: http: https://www.wikipedia.org/
Red Rock Film Festival