It’s getting to be Fiesta Palooza around New Mexico and the world is watching as we are the hottest spot in the nation for incoming and homegrown film, television and new media productions.
Starting Wednesday with a special (limited seating) showing of the New Mexico made feature film “50 to 1”, the Roswell Film Festival kicks off four days of international entertainment. Amongst international entries, regional favorites from local filmmakers such as “Dead River” by Jason Deboer and “Low/Fi” by Alejandro Montoya Marin will screen for the first time in the area. Discover production potential in Roswell with a tour of their film studio, get your questions answered about filmmaking from invaluable industry panels including how to write a short film and indie filmmaking on Friday and Saturday.
The 2016 Roswell Film Festival Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to actor John Schneider (Dukes of Hazard, The Haves and the Have Nots) on Saturday. Be there for an exclusive signing event and awards presentations. Check out the full schedule of events here. And make your plans now to be at the one and only Roswell Film Festival, Wednesday May 18 through Saturday May 21 in scenic Roswell, New Mexico.
Festival Director Donovan Fulkerson took some time out of his bustling schedule to sit down and answer some questions from OHI. Here’s what the man at the heart of the event has to say about heading out to this week’s festivities and what he sees for the festivals future.
Roswell Film Festival Q&A
OHI: What importance do you think our local film festivals play in representing our place in the global film community?
DF: What we have in our great state is a very special group of passionate film personnel. Our festivals are a tremendous way to highlight those passions. For our festival, this is also a highway into Filmmakers hearts around the world so we can not only celebrate their art but also become a destination for them to come and make their future film projects. We are building studios and a southeastern film community that are ready to produce, act and collaborate on in-coming productions and our featured Festival filmmakers might choose to make Roswell a new home for their films. Tourism is also a great result of our many Festivals statewide.
OHI: How long have you been involved with the Roswell Film Festival?
DF: I opened the new Roswell Film Festival over the past year to assist our city and this part of the state in growing a strong film presence.
OHI: How did your background as an actor and a filmmaker lead you to taking on your role with this festival?
DF: My love for all things film is definitely a driving force. The simple joy of the art is worth it. I am also interested in being booked steady as a producer, director, actor, editor, etc. and help provide jobs for others. My desire is to work full-time in film and give back the local community that helped raise me.
OHI: What are you most excited about bringing your audience this year?
DF: We truly have selected some excellent films out of the 90 submissions. Our eclectic set of judges have provided us with a wide range of film selections from 14 countries ranging from first time filmmakers to seasoned industry professionals. I love all the parties, events and such but a festival should always be about the art. We work hard to honor the filmmakers who trust us with their works.
OHI: What would you say to someone who’s on the fence about attending?
DF: We have mostly independent films by some truly talented artists. This will be your chance to see original concepts that are not industry or box office profit driven but rather straight out of the filmmakers’ artist heart. There is something magical about film and the independent festival circuit is way for you to support the artists.
OHI: What can you tell us about the Roswell Film Festival’s process for selecting their films?
DF: We have an eclectic set of judges from the casual fan to the carrier professional filmmaker. I ask my team to watch and evaluate each film without looking as to who and where the film was made. They evaluate and score both technical and artistic performance. Most of our films had a judge that did not find the subject their favorite type of film thus giving all submissions a “fair shake”. We do not have a stacked team looking for one type of film but rather a diverse team which provides an excellent set of selections for our attendees.
OHI: What plans do you already have in the works for next year?
DF: We are already set for April 26-30 which will expand the event to 5 full days. This will [give] many more filmmakers the opportunity to have their film shown. Part of this Festival’s vision is to create not only an amazing viewing experience but a well-rounded set of other events through town celebrating the art of film. Our city and county leaders are working with us to help establish a destination event that both the casual and the hardcore fan will have plenty to do while in attendance. We are currently locking in sponsorship contracts that extend for years which will guarantee year round work and promotion. We will be running a strong campaign and opening film submissions by August of this year to capture as many filmmakers from around the world [as possible]. The Roswell Film Festival is and will be a celebration of the film arts and can be a yearly calendar event for fans locally and internationally.