2012 Film Festivals Recap: Part One

Bible Storyland publicist Sheila Huettl here! It’s January, 2013, and we’re still on a high after our West Coast Premiere and Best Documentary Award at the Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival in December.

This week I spoke with Stephanie Hubbard (our award-winning director) and Harvey Jordan (the subject of our film) to ask about their personal highlights from our ongoing film festival tour. If you read the recap of our World Premiere in San Antonio, TX (June 2012), perhaps you’re wondering: What’s happened since then?

September 2012 began with our East Coast Premiere at the Kingston NY Film Festival. Kingston is nestled in upstate New York at the gateway to the Catskills. The festival, in its inaugural year, was organized by three highly creative founders who wanted to feature “fiercely independent films” in a wide variety of formats. Harvey learned about the festival from its executive director, Asha Astrid Cybele, a friend he met while traveling with a group to India in 2009.

The festival staff reported our screening was well attended and audience members found Bible Storyland “very enlightening and educating”. Fun fact: In her early 20’s, Stephanie lived just ten miles away from Kingston in Woodstock, NY. She worked for the famous photographer Howard Greenberg, cataloging the estate of sculptor Alexander Archipenko at the behest his widow, the sculptor Frances Archipenko Gray.

The following week, Stephanie and Harvey had a wonderful adventure attending DOCUTAH 2012, Southern Utah’s International Documentary Film Festival. Located between Grand Canyon National Park and Zion National Park and known for its breathtaking red rock views, DOCUTAH was included in PBS’ list of the Top 12 Best Small-Town Documentary Festivals of 2012. Some lucky films were even screened outdoors in front of the red rock background!

Harvey’s account of traveling to DOCUTAH was reminiscent of Jack Kerouac. He began his 1,500 mile road trip from Los Angeles with a six-day stay at Burning Man in Northern Nevada. His destination was St. George in southern Utah, a small festival town where filmgoers were gracious and enthusiastic and treated him like a celebrity. During the festival, Harvey took another drive to see the magnificent views at Bruce Canyon National Park.

Accompanied by her husband and son, Stephanie headed to Zion National Park where they took fantastic photos of ancient hieroglyphs (ironically, the photos were later lost due to a modern technological glitch). Stephanie says the red rock landscapes seemed strangely familiar to her, and then she realized they reminded her of the Roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote cartoons from her childhood. She expected to hear “Beep, beep!” at any moment.  (Note: Although I wasn’t able to join Harvey and Stephanie at DOCUTAH, that weekend I found myself surrounded by the spectacular red rock landscapes of the Cars Land attraction at Disney’s California Adventure. I wished Harvey and Stephanie good luck at the festival and appreciated the coincidence that I was adjacent to Disneyland, the very park Bible Storyland was intended to rival.)

Back at the festival, Stephanie participated as a panelist in the DOCUTAH Filmmaker’s Panel for emerging filmmakers and Harvey fielded questions at the Q&A session after our second screening. The DOCUTAH executive director told Stephanie and Harvey they should meet the director of another terrific film. He introduced them to Kyle Tekiela, the director of A Sister’s Call, which later won the Best in Festival Award. Harvey and Stephanie also met the subject of Kinderblock 66: Return to Buchenwald. Alex Moskovic was a concentration-camp survivor who later became an Emmy-award winning editor while working on ABC’s Wide World of Sports and The Olympics on ABC.

After calling in for a live interview on Nevada Public Radio, Stephanie and Harvey shared a lively in-studio interview in St. George with fun-loving film critics Adam Mast and Bruce Bennett on their radio show Film Fanatics (KTIM, 95.3FM). Stephanie remarked it was wonderful to be interviewed by two enthusiastic radio hosts who had watched our entire film and loved it. Harvey also recorded a great TV interview with reporter Ladd Egan from CBS Channel 2 News in Salt Lake City. We wished CBS had been able to air Harvey’s interview in its entirety but, as we were competing with other DOCUTAH films for airtime, we felt fortunate to be one of the few films included.

At the end of September, Bible Storyland was featured by the 25th Annual Dallas Video Festival held at the Dallas Museum of Art. The Dallas Video Festival focuses on independent, experimental, and short films, as well as alternative documentaries, animation, and more. We were honored to be affiliated with such a prestigious art museum and we look forward to a similar situation this summer when Bible Storyland will be featured in an exhibit at the Architecture and Design (A+D) Museum in Los Angeles (more info coming soon!).

The Dallas Video Festival was a wonderful surprise for us, as we hadn’t submitted Bible Storyland for entry. The festival’s Artistic Director knew Stephanie through a community of documentary film directors. He saw our trailer and wanted to include Bible Storyland in the Dallas festival, although their schedule was already full. Fortunately for us, one of the scheduled films withdrew and Bible Storyland was voted in to replace it. Harvey was happy to have a second screening in Texas, the state where he was born.

Check back soon for our next blog post: 2012 Film Festivals Recap: Part Two!

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