Tuesday, November 23, 2004

The Unspoken Speech

For the opening night of the festival, I had written a speech that would set the event into motion. Unfortunately the words were not fluid and I stumbled, recovering with pirate savvy and improvising the introduction, which was still well received. I then planned to rewrite the speech for the closing ceremonies and awards presentation. Once again, this was not possible and, after my Father joining me on stage and offering the most amazing tribute a person could receive, I simply poured out the purest of honesty and passion regarding the core of what the festival is about. Thus, the speech had no place at the festival, and so I present it here for you to read. Thanx again, one and all!

Thank you patrons of the arts, patrons of film, and patrons of the unchained and creative spirit. I am honored to welcome each and every one of you this evening, and I am equally honored to be amongst such extraordinary films, and their makers. These are the finest moments, whereas I, and those who join me in this Circle of Artists, can let the voices ring from all over the World, and from our local community. My sincerest gratitude to the filmmakers, both present and otherwise, who have contributed their work here tonight. I offer my deepest thanks to the artists, musicians and to the individuals who have contributed time, effort and resources to make this event possible. Ladies and Gentlemen, this is the Blue November MicroFilmFest!

As a creator of dreams and ideas, I am also inspired and encouraged by those who do the same. My colleagues constantly remind me, that the World is only a small place in comparison to the Universal Expanse of thought and imagination. United, we are strengthened by our commitment to the gift of bringing shadows into the light. As filmmakers, we are the wizards of our time!

I see the art of cinema in a nostalgic sense, and as a liberated artist. There are no boundaries to the individual expression, and every creation is the legacy of its creator. I have always fought for and have supported this, despite the limited perceptions of critics and peers alike. Individual thought must live and breathe naturally, and without conformist manipulation. With my films, I paint with celluloid brushstrokes upon a flickering canvas. The art must [always] flow despite its acceptance or lack thereof.

Film Festivals, in and around Tulsa, were nothing more than lackluster efforts by factions void of any true passion for cinema. The Tulsa Tradition [that] everyone praised supported nothing of the independent film world, and even less of the local filmmaking community. Other, larger festivals boasted of supporting films made with the barest of amenities, when, in reality, they focused more on films with commercial viability, or their own personal interests instead of the film community at large. Always there to take a starving artist’s money, new organizations were formed for the advancement of film, only to cloud the beautiful and fantastic world of cinema with legal and business jargon, facades of plastic society and a lifeless interpretation of a very colorful medium.

After completing my second film, “The Lightswitch Fades”, I saw a new vision reveal its virgin face. Since words are limited to the paper on which they are written, I stepped forward, and set an idea into motion. That idea would become Stage I of the Blue November MicroFilmFest.

Although small, the hearts of the many cast their voices to the wind, and in one, remote section of a Midwestern town, the song was heard. This platform opened many doors for unseen artists, and we continue this quest with Stage II.

We have expanded even further with a larger venue, a front lobby with exhibitors and artists, two after parties featuring local music talent, a forum for filmmakers and aficionados, and a viewing platform for a variety Oklahoma films! Our dedication to the community was rewarded with fifteen films from this State alone, and entries from the United States and the World. Jeanine Lim, a Boston student originally from Singapore, opens the festival with a film shot in Zurich, Switzerland. Stefan Chiarantano of Toronto, Canada returns with another experimental short film utilizing hand-processed film. Our Italian entry is based on a story written by H.P. Lovecraft, the first animation short for the Blue November MicroFilmFest originates from Gary Parish of Renton, Washington, Bill Kersey submits two award-winning works, and prolific micro cinema filmmaker, Peter John Ross, leads us through four distinct chapters in his film, entitled Tales of Demise Sonata.

We finish the evening with Waiting For Ronald, the directorial debut from Ellen Gerstein, a member of Cinewomen in Los Angeles. I have always encouraged women creating, behind the camera instead of being exploited in front of it. I am proud to announce that five directors in this year’s festival and competition are women. Ellen Gerstein’s film has won numerous awards and captures a very moving story.

Our competition is organized into ten categories, two of which are unique; a pair of specially designed awards will be given to Best Auteur and Best Local Artist. All awards have been designed and constructed by Tulsa artist, Neil Cluck.

I implore each and every one of you to view the works presented in the front lobby, and support Neil and the other artists. Please offer your patronage to the businesses that have shared their resources for this event.

We are not here to celebrate the bourgeois perceptions of art. We are committed to the filmmakers, and the artists. Over a year ago, I had a vision…and now, we complete our mission. Our dreams are laid open…thousands upon thousands, into millions of individual monuments, standing skyward. We present to you, on this November Eve, the spectacle of wizardry found only in the orchestration of flickering light. We are the Creators. We are the dreamers.


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