Lights, camera, action

Celebrating the 15th annual Omaha Film Festival


Haden Batchelder

During Off Academy, Kevin Keplar (right) is teaching a student to work a boom mic during the “Foley, Can you guess that sound” panel.

Haden Batchelder, Staff Reporter

Every year, the Aksarben Cinema welcomes filmmakers, writers, students and actors to a film festival. On March 3-8, Omaha celebrated the 15th year of this film festival, celebrated the artistic history of motion pictures throughout the weekend for any age to enjoy. Featured 101 films nationwide this is a chance for artists to display their work and learn from others creating a weekend of fun-filled filming weekend.

From narrative features film, documentaries, animated films, screenplays, teleplays short and feature films, the festival has a range for any audience. With parties after the showing, there is a chance to talk to the directors and producers of your favorite films. Kicking off the week, the festival had a special showing of Military Wives which is coming to theatres on March 27, 2020.

Omaha Film Festival offers an interactive two-day academy for young filmmakers. Off Academy students from all over the midwest ranging from 7th-12th grade had a chance to be educated about highly regarded industry professionals. Students had the opportunity to learn how to network, acting and behind the scenes of filming. This academy offers anywhere from story development to act to be young filmmakers.  

“We did a ton at the OFF academy.junior Caleb Eshliman said. “However, the most notable parts were listening to people who made it into the industry talk about how they did so. That gave me hope as a filmmaker that I can make it too. It was an unbelievable week of film with amazing opportunities.”

  Drama Director Brooke Phillps went to the festival to support local artists and students of her own too.“I had a great time at the Omaha Film Festival.” “I love being surrounded by people who are passionate about storytelling and the arts. You can just feel the creativity in every room,” Philips said. “It brings business to our city and any big arts festival brings a better understanding of the human condition for the people who observe it and participate in it. I am proud that our city is known for hosting this.”

The festival also brings theatre into this weekend experience. Omaha Film Festival Writers Theatre provided, writers had a chance to submit screenplays that could be read out and acted on stage. Ten screenplays were performed on Saturday, March 7, at the College of Saint Mary. 

“I attended one of the screenings for the short films featuring Millard west drama kids and I got to see tons of cool films from Omaha locals,” junior Carlie Kottich said.

Photo Credits Haden Batchelder
Actor Bryan Mclure is interviewing by Jason Levring ( right) during “How to break into the Business” a panel during the Off Academy.

One of the Short films was Session that had students from Nebraska Thespian Filmworks had a chance to see their faces on the big screen. 

My favorite part was seeing how the students from the Nebraska Thespians Filmworks program were showcased,” Phillps said. “I love that there are multiple organizations working in the state to help educate students and provide opportunities for all artists to network and show off their work.” 

Omaha Film Festival offers a week of filming, teaching and opportunities for anyone. This weekend brings together artists to show off their work and inspire people.