MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

April 23, 2012

Film fans come to city

BareBones independent movie festival wraps up

— The street in front of The Roxy Theatre looked like a scene straight out of southern California on Sunday as actors, producers, filmmakers and screenwriters gathered on the red carpet for the final evening of the 2012 BareBones International Film Festival.  

The filmmakers, women dressed in glittering gowns and teetering high heels and men in their finest attire, smiled for photos and paused for interviews with a film crew before the Bonehead Awards of Excellence ceremony.

The festival, which started April 13, featured more than 100 entries in categories such as feature-length films, shorts, documentaries and animation.

The event’s organizer, ShIronbutterfly Ray, said this one was the largest in the festival’s 13 years.

“This year’s group were the most fantastic group of filmmakers,” Ray said. “The enthusiasm was just awesome. It's surreal seeing your dream come to life, even though it's a lot of hard work. It's never perfect enough for you, you know?”

The awards ceremony honored films in more than 80 categories.

Chad Hidinger, the master of ceremonies, said the spirit of BareBones is “just fantastic.”

“I've met people from L.A., New York, Canada, Texas and Oklahoma,” he said. “Everyone you shake hands with has a smile on their face.  It means so much to finally meet people like that.”

Hidinger applauded the hard work of all the filmmakers present.

“In order to be successful at anything that you do, you have to be willing to sacrifice,” he said. “You have to be willing to burn the midnight oil and make others want what you have to offer. With every single one of you, I've seen sacrifice, be it time, money, energy or thoughts. ...

“I want to applaud each and every one of you, and I want you to applaud yourselves.  It means so much.”

Ford Austin, a renowned actor, producer and filmmaker who nearly died last year in a car accident, made a special appearance.

Austin said the outpouring of positivity from filmmakers and others involved in the BareBones Film Festival was an inspiration to him last year as he was recovering from the accident.  

“I remember last year when I was laying in my hospital bed because I couldn’t move,” he said. “I was paralyzed and thinking about all of you, about how wonderful you are, what amazing friends you are, and how wonderful it was that you were out here celebrating film.”

Austin said thinking about the hard work and dedication of those filmmakers was the motivation he needed to get well.

While in his hospital bed, Austin produced an entire documentary – “The Right to Love: An American Family.” It won the award for Best Documentary for Social Issues, Humanitarian Rights.  

Filmmakers at the ceremony had nothing but positive comments.

Brian S. White, the writer of “The Gleaning,” which won the award for Best Thriller, said he appreciates everything the festival stands for.

“It's an independent filmmaker's independent film festival,” he said. “You're not competing against $20 million films that call themselves independent. We’re independent, we have an independent name.”

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