Celebrating Independent Film in Erie

By Cindy Hemper

In the early 80’s, Seattle Washington became America’s breading ground for cutting edge, innovative Alternative music that changed not only the way we think of Seattle and the talented people who make life’s soundtrack, but the way our country thinks of music and all of it possibilities as well.

Much like the musical revolution that swept Seattle, a similar groundbreaking transformation took Erie by storm more than a decade ago with the birth of Independent Film in Erie.

As the leader of indie film in Erie, the Great Lakes International Film Festival held its inaugural festival in the fall of 2002, welcoming internationally acclaimed celebrities like Dirk Benedict, best known for his work on Battlestar Galactica and A-Team, Hollywood script guru Harri James who worked as script supervisor for blockbuster films and TV Shows as ER, Alias, Tremors II: Aftershocks, and Tremors 4: The Legend Begins, to name only a few.

That same year, B.J. and the Bear & Up in Smoke producer, Otto Felix visited the festival along with the renowned Keith Carradine being presented with a lifetime achievement award for his dedication and contributions to indie film.

Since that time, the Great Lakes International Film Festival has had many films go on to greatness like “The Derby Stallion” that was released with Echo Bridge Home Entertainment, a subsidiary of Disney, and Director Joel Miller’s film “The Still Life” that received distribution through Warner Home Video after having been screened at the festival.

Over the past ten years, the Great Lakes International Film Festival has showcased more than one thousand films, has had innumerable films that have been aired on HBO, PBS, and the Sundance channel, and has played host to countless celebrities such as actor, writer, producer Bill Hinzman of Flesheaters and Night of the Living Dead; director Lloyd Kaufman of the Toxic Avenger films, Pot Zombies, and President of Troma Films; actor Gunnar Hansen of Texas Chainsaw Massacre; actor and director Mark Borchardt of American Movie and Coven, along with so many more.

In 2004, the Great Lakes International Film Festival had the proud pleasure to present the North East United States Premiere of “SAW”, Lions Gate Films’ gripping psychological thriller starring Cary Elwes, Danny Glover, Monica Potter and Leigh Whannel

Opening the door for other organizations, festivals and filmmakers to show the world what amazing contributions Erie people had to make to the Indie Film Community, the Great Lakes International Film Festival is celebrating not only its 12th anniversary, but Erie film and those who make the magic that we see on the screen.

Every year Moviemaker Magazine publishes a list of the top 25 Coolest Film Festivals world wide in their spring issue. To help celebrate not only the Great Lakes International Film Festival’s 12th anniversary, but Erie film and filmmakers as well, whether you are a filmmaker, or simply a member of the movie loving public, you can give Erie the film recognition it deserves by voting in Moviemaker Magazine’s Competition for the Great Lakes International Film Festival to be among the top 25 Coolest Film Festivals.

To vote for film in Erie and the Great Lakes International Film Festival, simply visit (Moviemaker Magazine’s website) and fill out the short voting ballot to make Erie and the Great Lakes International Film Festival one of the top coolest things about indie film in the world.

Select “General Film Festivals,” after clicking continue fill in for “Great Lakes International Film Festival” andwww.greatlakesfilmfest.com, on the next page include your name and email address, concluding the voting. Ask your family and friends to vote as well.

For more information on the Great Lakes International Film Festival and its upcoming events and presentations, please visitwww.greatlakesfilmfest.com