Akron Film & Pixel Fest

By: Cydney Woodyard

This Thursday through Sunday, numerous guests will be flocking to the Akron Art Museum for the 2011 Akron Film and Pixel Festival.

This will be the first time that the festival will bring in writers, actors and filmmakers for question and answer sessions after the viewings.

“I feel like having professional directors, writers, producers and more gives film fans the opportunity to connect with professional filmmakers, learn more about their craft and have greater appreciation for film,” co-director Rob Lucas said.Photo courtesy of Marc Smolowitz

Dave Cranston, a Media Production major, agrees that people need to gain a great appreciation for film. He described film as “a window [that] allows the filmmaker to show everyone else what you couldn’t tell him or her or capture in one picture.”

Now that Akron has the resources to make the festival into a larger community event than it has been in past years, Lucas wanted to bring the professionals here in the hope that the artistic medium will be embraced more fully.

Guests at the Akron Art Museum will be able to meet Patty Schemel, former drummer for the rock band Hole and the subject of the documentary “Hit So Hard.” Director P. David Ebersole and producer Todd Hughes will also be on site for the Ohio premier on Friday at 7:15 p.m. A grant from The Gay Community Endowment Fund of Akron Community Foundation will be supporting the event.

On Saturday at 7:40 p.m., David Meiklejohn will make an appearance to discuss his documentary “My Heart is an Idiot” detailing the events of his travels with filmmaker, NPR contributor and Found Magazine creator Davy Rothbart.

Oscar-nominated director, Marc Smolowitz and co-producer and Akron native Dan Roth will also be at the festival on Saturday to present their documentary “The Power of Two.” This showing is sponsored by the Cleveland Clinic Transplant Center and will take place at 5:30 p.m.

Co-stars and co-writers Alex Ross Perry and Carlen Altman will present their film, entitled “The Color Wheel,” on Sunday at 1 p.m. The adult comedy, which was also directed by Ross Perry, has been described as “hilariously droll.” Altman, dubbed one of Filmmaker Magazine’s 2011 New Faces of Independent Film, will be on hand for the entire festival.

The producer of “Dragonslayer,” John Baker, will be present on Thursday at 7 p.m.

Of course, there are many more ways for an artist to tell his or her story, including interactive video games. Akron Film+Pixel has hosted several game development workshops since 2010 and this year’s festival will feature forward-thinking games that will be available for guests to play. Some of the developers will be available for discussion during the festival.

“Yeah, it sounds great. It’s a blending of the two forms of media and reflects a progression of the two different genres into one medium,” UA English major Abe Keeton said.

“Video games are becoming one of the most popular forms of storytelling,” Lucas said. The video games that will be featured are not blockbusters like “Call of Duty,” but rather will be focusing on telling a story through gameplay.

Some of the games that visitors will be able to sample in the museum lobby are “The Diamond Trust of London,” developed by Jason Rohrer, “Every Day the Same Dream” by Paolo Pedercini and “Way” by Christ Bell.

Sponsors of the festival include the Akron Art Museum and the City of Akron, with additional support provided by OMNOVA Solutions Foundation and the Gay Community Endowment Fund.

Registration is $28 and will provide access to all films, parties and panels. Tickets for individual films will be $8 each. The full list of films, panels and parties can be viewed on www.akronfilm.com and full festival passes are on sale now.