by Cheril Lee

Film Streams will present its 2nd annual Local Filmmakers Showcase August 19th through the 25th.  It features seven films by Nebraska filmmakers.  Film Streams’ Executive Director Rachel Jacobson said though the competition was open to filmmakers in Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota, the bulk of submissions were from Nebraska.  Films were selected by an independent jury.  To qualify for consideration, films could not have screened anywhere for a paying audience.  Jacobson said each of the films in the showcase is unique. “There’s an experimental short by a musician in town, a short film that’s a montage of photographs and one that’s black and white and almost a melodrama.” 

This year’s showcase features three returning filmmakers. Among four who are new to the event, director Molly Zavitz said her film, In Silence and Tears, is a dramatic love story about a nurse who sacrifices his job and sanity to care for his adored wife.  Though Zavitz took the title from a poem by Lord Byron, she said her inspiration came from a conversation she had with a fellow filmmaker. “She was telling me about this doctor in the 1930’s who fell in love with one of his patients and so that was kind of the launching point.  From that, I kind of just started taking and working with it and kind of flipped that scene upside down a little bit and added some elements from literature that I really like.”  Zavitz said the film has an Edgar Allan Poe and Franz Kafka feel to it as well. 

Zavitz said she shot the film in black and white to give an art house, slightly foreign feel to it.  She said she is grateful and excited for a chance to screen her film in front of an audience.

“Sometimes when you’re an emerging filmmaker making a no budget film, it’s very hard to have that opportunity to have an audience.  So the fact that Film Streams has this showcase of local filmmakers is really progressive on their part.” Zavitz said she’s looking forward to viewing the other films in the showcase. 

Director Charles Fairbanks had two films in the showcase last year.  The first was about wrestling and the second about his family’s relationship to the Nebraska.  He said 2010 was the first year he started showing his films so it was an honor to be selected.  This year, Fairbanks will screen Irma, about the former world champion of women’s pro wrestling who also happens to be a folk singer.  Fairbanks was inspired to make the film after meeting Irma at the gym.  He said he tries to structure his projects so he has room to learn. “I never go into a project if I already know what the film is going to say.  Filmmaking is my way of making sense of the world and my place in it.”  For Fairbanks, the process is much more important than the end product.

All the filmmakers will attend opening night festivities on August 19th.  Jacobson said the films will be screened together for the first time that evening starting at 7 p.m..  There will be a party in the lobby after the screening so the audience can meet the filmmakers. “Last year we got to meet some of the subjects from the documentaries,” Jacobson said. “Hopefully this year, we will get to meet some of the actors from some of the films.  It was a really fun, festive event last year so I do hope people will come out for it.”

The seven films will be screened together daily during the showcase with a total run time of 100 minutes.  Anyone who has made a film in the past decade is encouraged to submit an entry for next year’s showcase.  Jacobson said the more entries there are, the better the selection for judges and audiences.  Tickets for Film Streams Local Filmmakers Showcase are available online at  The Ruth Sokolof Theatre is located at 1340 Mike Fahey Street.

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