by Nick Christophers
Geoffrey Guerrero had a vision to create a festival like no other in New York and since 2012 he has done just that. The Katra Film Series is a platform where a selection of shorts and features is presented to a packed audience who take part in a voting process to determine which work deserves to advance. The works vary in genre and message, some more close to home than others. This year’s Fall Series offered fourteen shorts where the winner will be given the opportunity to have a one on one sit-down with acclaimed producer Stephen Nemeth. Stephen is from the Academy – Award winning shows Sessions and Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas.
There are also prizes from such companies like Canon, RED Digital Cinema, Pond5, Backstage, Goze, International Screenwriters’ Association, The Yard, Museum of the Moving Image and more. It is an event that allows independent directors, actors and producers to have a voice in an otherwise “corporate” run industry. Geoffrey’s vision was to showcase emerging film talent and help launch their careers via the festival.
In the beginning of the Katra Film Series they only catered to New York filmmakers whereas now it is open on an international level. Geoffrey himself is a filmmaker who graduated from the film program at Brooklyn College. Since graduating he has worked in the industry as a camera operator, editor, producer, and director. One of his own films was screened in London at the Ritzy Cinema during the Let’s All Be Free Film Festival.
“We strive to advance the careers of our filmmakers unlike some film festivals. Like tonight we have Canon giving away a $5000 camera loaner to the winner to use for their next project.”
This past Saturday was the Series Finale before the finals in February of 2018 that will be held at the Alamo DraftHouse in Brooklyn. So far for 2017 they have screened over 100 films. Now they are down to the last fourteen. There is a selection committee that is set up to choose the finalists combined with the votes from the audience. For the first time since the inception of the festival they will have a 2nd and 3rd place winner.
The festival has some success stories like director Felix Thompson who won in 2012 and went on to produce a feature film “King Jack” through Sundance. It was chosen at the Tribeca Film Festival and won the Audience Choice Award for Best Feature Film . The project was eventually picked up for theatrical distribution and Netflix.
This year films like “I Love New York”, “Evil Woman” and “The Run In” seemed to appeal to the audience at the Katra Lounge where the festival was held. Yet the others also left an impression on everyone at the event. Geoffrey hopes the success of his latest festival can inspire other filmmakers to take part in this unique format in film festivals.
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