LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Mark Hall of Sarasota set his eyes on becoming a filmmaker at 15 when he began making short films and documentaries with his friends about local ice cream shops and Disney.
The Sarasota Film Society inspired him through youth outreaches and he decided to take the next step and go to film school.
“Now I’m here,” the 25-year-old said. He is showcasing two of his movies, “Photograph” and “Beautiful Stranger” at the first Movieville International Film Festival.
The three-day event kicked off Friday at the Lakewood Ranch Cinemas and continues today and Sunday.
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The festival is mainly sponsored by Sanborn Studios LLC, the Sarasota Film Society and the Sarasota County Film & Television Office.
The festival is intended to be an outlet for up and comers in the film industry.
Tickets to the showings are available for $7 at the Lakewood Ranch Cinemas box office or online at www.filmsociety.org or www.movievillefilmfestival.com.
“I found a rich community of young filmmakers with a tremendous amount of talent here, that I thought should be showcased,” said Alan Bailey, chief financial officer of Sanborn Studios and executive producer of Movieville.
He said he hopes this festival will be a less intimidating venue for young filmmakers and give them a chance to meet their peers from Los Angles, New York and around the world.
Although a majority of entries in the film festival are from locals, there are a few international entries from Asia, the Middle East and Europe.
“The young filmmaker here can meet the filmmaker in LA,” he said. “It’s such a global community.”
There will also be panel discussions by those in the industry about breaking into the business -- 10 a.m. today -- and special effects make up -- 2 p.m. Sunday.
Bailey describes the event as a no-pressure setting, that is education-driven.
The festival offers a “wealth of knowledge from experts,” he said. “They’re really here to give them encouragement.”
Ken Sanborn, founder and CEO of Sanborn Studios, agrees.
“I really believe in young filmmakers,” he said. “We wanted to be a sponsor because we wanted to give young filmmakers, like my son, and other filmmakers, an opportunity. And also to try to create a different festival with industry leaders. We wanted to be more educational than a festival where you just have cocktails.”
Hall said he hopes to take in everything he can while at the festival.
“I want to make connections with other young filmmakers,” he said, adding that he also hopes to be noticed by professionals in the business.