The Capital City Film Festival gets underway today in a variety of venues across the city of Lansing. It’s only the second year for the event, which was organized in part to complement the long-established East Lansing Film Festival.
WKAR’s Anna Schroen spoke with Capital City Film Festival entertainment director Jake Pechtel, who says this time, mid-Michigan’s newest cinematic celebration has attracted twice as many filmmakers as last year.
JAKE PECHTEL: The first thing that I think really sticks out to us is, having a year under our belt, the amount of submissions we got was pretty staggering comparatively to last year. We had about 100 total submissions, shorts and features (in 2011), and this year we had over 200. So, again, having that year under our belt, I think helps establish the credibility of the festival a little bit.
ANNA SCHROEN: Do you feel like you’ve change the festival at all in response to input from last year?
PECHTEL: I think the greatest thing about the community input we got last year was that for everybody who attended, it was all really positive. The best compliment that we got was that a lot of folks thought that our festival was in its fifth or sixth year because of the way it was presented. So, that was something that just absolutely wasn’t broke, and we didn’t really want to fix it, because it was working. However we kind of blindly felt our way through putting together a film festival, it worked pretty well, and the presentation of it was nice. The locations were good and the way we had the schedule positioned was good. We try not to make attendees make a decision between the things that they want to see.
SCHROEN: You focus a lot on student films, correct?
PECHTEL: Last year, the student film blocks were some of the best attended blocks and the content is also really strong. These are the people who are the content creators of the future, and they’re making some really, really strong content, so it’s not a tough decision to do a couple of student film blocks because their content is really good and it deserves to be shown.
SCHROEN: What films and events are you most excited about?
PECHTEL: I’m actually really intrigued by Man on a Mission, which is a film that’s screening on Friday, April 13th. It’s about a former game designer, Richard Garriott, who basically was the godfather of the massively multiplayer online gaming world, so he paved the ground for things like “World of Warcraft” to happen. His father was an astronaut, so he always had the dream of space travel, and this documentary follows his private mission into space, which is pretty cool.
SCHROEN: Great! Let’s hear a clip from the movie.
[Audio clip from Man on a Mission]
PECHTEL: There’s some really cool footage that hasn’t really been seen much before, the actual space flight itself is captured. It did win an Audience Choice Award at South by Southwest in 2010, so we’re really excited to have that as part of our film festival, too.
SCHROEN: Why is it important to have two film festivals, because we have the East Lansing Film Festival and then this one?
PECHTEL: Sure...we purposely positioned our six months opposite. Basically, it’s the same reason you have two music venues in any town, or three or four. It’s building a culture; it’s building a scene. So, we want to give people who enjoy that community something to do year round. I think that the festivals themselves feed off each other, and there’s plenty of room, I think, and plenty of people to attend both festivals, and we hope that they do.