From Dayton/For Dayton is the theme for this year’s FilmDayton Festival, but you could just as easily think of it as FilmDayton’s family reunion because the focus of this event is the film community, the film family born and raised in the region. The group’s mission is to “cultivate, support and connect our film community to opportunities in the film industry” with an eye towards drawing more film project to the area, all the while building and sustaining work for our filmmakers.
First-year Executive Director Eva Buttacavoli brings a combination of eager camaraderie and support married with the steely planning of a consigliere whose eyes are always on the larger prize and it seems that this might be just what this newbie family needs in order to move forward. With FilmDayton and its festival entering their third year, Buttacavoli is well aware of the stakes.
“This organization was built around celebrating the filmmakers and that first festival was developed to show off, “Look there are films being made in Dayton, there are things that are connected to Dayton,’ ” she says. “Year two was, ‘There’s enough happening here to sustain another festival and continue some of the stories.’ We’ve strategized and nailed down some things that I really feel strongly about in my history as a person promoting the arts in general, that I think fit Dayton right now. I think its kind of a perfect storm for us.
“The Wright State program continues to generate notoriety and produce great students,” she continues. “In the past year I’ve been able to contact all these past students living in L.A., Chicago and Louisiana who are working and I get to hear stories firsthand about what they learned, why they left Dayton and why they’re excited to come back because they’re bringing a lot back this year to the festival.”
FilmDayton, through its monthly Film Connections meetings, offers a forum for discussion of current projects in various stages of completion. This past fall, one of the sessions showcased the work of students participating in the FilmDayton Film Club at Centerville High School and other programs supporting high school and first-year university students. And as part of the festival’s continued commitment to student filmmaking, Friday night will feature two screenings of Big Lens, a program of the best senior films from Wright State University students.
Some of these filmmakers, like Joe Wade, who along with Karri O’Reilly and Adam White started their film Immeasurable over a decade ago, have left the region and drifted away from filmmaking. During an email exchange, Wade explains, “I live and work in the Hollywood area. This is my first festival. Karri has attended many. Eighteen years ago, I started working for Technicolor and my filmmaking aspirations were put on hold. Then I got married, had a couple of kids and continued to work for Technicolor. I’ve wanted to finish the film for the past 18 years but there was always a good reason or excuse not to.