Local Film and Comic Book Events Join Forces

Duke Energy Convention Center is an enticing destination for film and comic book enthusiasts this weekend as Cincinnati Comic Expo and Cincinnati Film Festival have collaborated, making Downtown a veritable nerd playground.

click to enlarge Lou Ferrigno
Lou Ferrigno

Duke Energy Convention Center is an enticing destination for film and comic book enthusiasts this weekend as Cincinnati Comic Expo and Cincinnati Film Festival have collaborated, making Downtown a veritable nerd playground. Throw in the fact the expo draws a lot of out-of-towner costumed superfans who will inevitably come into contact with the lederhosen-clad Oktoberfest Zinzinnati revelers and you’ve got a wunderbar recipe for bizarre photo opps.

“We’re thrilled to be a part of a growing expo that is larger than just comics,” says Kat Steele, executive director of the Cincinnati Film Festival. “We’re also partnered with Pandora Promotions, the team that does the popular Steampunk Symposium, and doing a Time Traveler’s Ball on Saturday night.”

While it’s likely most Whovians are already rabidly aware of this, Paul “the eighth Doctor” McGann will be in attendance at Saturday’s Time Traveler’s Ball, which will commemorate the 148th birthday of author and futurist H.G. Wells in all of its steampunk weirdness.

“This year we’re partnered with the Cincinnati Comic Expo and consolidated the festival to two venues,” Steele says of the Cincinnati Film Festival, “with our opening night film at Springdale 18: Cinema De Lux in Springdale only on Thursday and the second floor of the Duke Energy Convention Center Downtown for the run of the festival Friday through Sunday, so we aren’t logistically having to pull our all-volunteer staff into multiple locations at the same time.”

Both the festival and the expo promise enlightening panels from their respective corners of the entertainment world.

Steele says Cincinnati Film Festival attendees can enjoy new talented filmmakers, like Evolution of a Criminal’s Darius Clark Monroe, whose film was executive produced by Spike Lee, or award-winning documentary filmmaking veterans like Terry Spencer Hesser (Love is a Verb) and Rachel Lyon (Hate Crimes in the Heartland).

Fans can also check out a panel with the creator of the new CBS sci-fi series, Extant, where he’ll talk about his experiences working with Halle Berry and Stephen Spielberg; the world premiere of Opening Night, a comedy about a high school’s unique opening night performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream; and the U.S. premiere of James Franco’s latest Faulkner adaptation, The Sound and the Fury (recently screened in Venice and Toronto).

“We have films covering genres from animation to horror to comedy and everything in between,” Steele says. “Every year, we bring over 100 films to the festival, and we’re honored to be a growing part of the Cincinnati arts and culture scene.”

The Cincinnati Film Festival will run four days this year, and each of the more than 100 films featured throughout the event will only be screened once, so attendees should be sure to schedule their viewing itineraries carefully.

“Film fests like the CFF are a great place to see films, meet the filmmakers and hear their stories — stories and voices you’d never get an opportunity to see and hear otherwise,” Steele says.

Heading the line of comic artists at Cincinnati Comic Expo is Neal Adams, famed Renaissance man of the comic book industry whose writing and illustration style helped visually and stylistically define Batman for millions of readers.

The Cincinnati Comic Expo features a multitude of professionals from the comic book, film, television and video games industries.

“We continue to grow bigger each and every year,” says Matt Bredestege, chief financial officer for the expo.

“By expanding and holding the show in Halls B and C [of Duke], we have space for a larger Bricks by the Banks, more events in the newly appointed Tom + Chee Kid Zone, the Steampunk Bazaar (just added for 2014), plus 300 artists, comic vendors, T-shirt vendors, toy sellers, guests, celebrity cars, fan groups and so much more.”

Notable pop culture icons appearing at the expo include Julie Newmar, who played Catwoman opposite Adam West’s Batman in the ’60s (available on DVD for the first time Nov. 11); Lou Ferrigno, forever known as The Hulk; and Jewel Staite from cult favorite Firefly, the woefully short-lived Fox television series by Disney’s artistic meal ticket, Joss Whedon. With all of the visiting artists, speakers, vendors and attractions at Cincinnati Comic Expo and Cincinnati Film Festival, it’s easy to take advantage of both events.

Attendees with VIP expo tickets will have access to the film fest and vice versa, encouraging a crossover in attendance for both events.

The CINCINNATI COMIC EXPO runs Friday-Sunday and the CINCINNATI FILM FESTIVAL runs Thursday-Sunday, both at the Duke Energy Convention Center, 525 Elm St., Downtown. More info: cincinnaticomicexpo.com or cincinnatifilmfestival.com.

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