Film festival going global

Published 9:38 pm Saturday, April 25, 2009

The TroyFest First Film Festival may have got its start Saturday, but it is nowhere close to reaching its end.

In fact, an announcement at the film festival’s opening could swing open the doors for great film opportunities, economic impact and entertainment in the city.

“Next year, we’re going to change this year’s Troy First Film Festival to the Alabama International Film Festival,” said James Chambliss, who serves on the board of directors for the film festival.

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The idea is something Chambliss said he has been developing for some time, and in conjunction with Troy University, he hopes it can truly become an international event.

“We know there’s a huge industry that’s waiting for Troy, Pike County and Alabama,” Chambliss said. “I think Troy could become the film school of Alabama.”

The university’s international ties could make Troy perfect for attracting films from all over the world, Chambliss said.

Even though the city is small, Chambliss said even some of the greatest film festivals take place in even smaller places.

“Sundance is a hole in the wall, but for a week, the whole world comes there,” Chambliss said. “What’s wrong with the whole world coming to Troy? If we build it, they will come.”

The festival will continue to be held in conjunction with TroyFest weekend each year, increasing the chances of bringing newcomers to the event.

“I think it will bring an entirely different group of people to Troy,” said

Troy Mayor Jimmy Lunsford. “I’m very excited about it.”

John Jinright, who has spearheaded the film festival this year, said he was pleased with the turnout and has big hopes for its future.

“The feedback I’ve gotten is encouraging, and we still plan to make it bigger and better next year,” Jinright said. “It’s going to be the signature festival of the Southeast. With the university’s connections and the Confucius Institute, the possibilities for expansion could make it one of the best in the nation.”

Next year, Jinright said the festival will be expanded to three days and have shows on three different screenings.