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Filmmakers flock to Laughlin

October 3, 2018

LAUGHLIN — The finishing touches are just about complete for the indie movie event of the year in Laughlin.

The seventh annual Laughlin International Film Festival takes place Thursday through Sunday with more than 120 full-length and short movies to be shown over the four days.

Organizers of the festival have been putting together an exciting lineup of films and memorable additional events for both independent filmmakers, who will be coming from all over the country, and community members, who just love going to the movies.

This year’s lineup of films, both feature films and blocks of short films, will be showing at the Laughlin Stadium 9 theaters (Theaters 1, 2 and 3). The entire schedule can be found on the LIFF website at www.laughlinfilmfestival.com.

The event provides the community an opportunity to see a broad spectrum of creative filmmaking at its best.

“There is definitely a very entertaining and artistic lineup of independent films on our LIFF 2018 schedule,” said Mara Karsen, LIFF executive director and co-founder. “I think everyone who loves films will be able to find something that they will really enjoy.”

Categories include family-friendly films, drama, action-packed films (including sci-fi and crime), thrillers, comedies/romantic comedies, documentaries and more.

Each of the films will include a follow-up question-and-answer session with the filmmakers.

Along with the extensive film lineup, the event also includes several social events for networking opportunities for filmmakers and the public. Social events begin with the Red Carpet event at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, the Opening Night Film screening, “The Holy Fail” at 7:30 p.m., followed by a director/actor question-and-answer session. The Kick-Off After Party takes place in the Tropicana Trellis Bar at 10 p.m. Thursday with live music, hosted appetizers and a cash bar.

A Friday Oktoberfest after-party will be held at 10 p.m. at the Colorado Belle’s Pints Brewery and Sports Bar, with special drink and appetizer prices and an extended menu.

The LIFF Saturday Awards Ceremony will be held in the Tropicana Pavilion Theater with cocktails at 8 p.m. and the awards show at 9 p.m. The closing event is the Sunday morning champagne brunch/breakfast featuring a lineup of speakers discussing independent filmmaking and the film festival circuit.

Again this year, the film festival offers a special program for up-and-coming young filmmakers. A schedule of specially selected films is offered on Saturday beginning at 10:15 a.m. in Theater 3, and lunch is included and provided by Desert Dream Studios and local filmmaker Brian Brown.

Then on Sunday, the program will center around the film, “Murrder: Locke and Loaded,” directed by teenage filmmaker duo Canyon DiMare and Quincy Barham, who attend Mohave High School.

An interest in filmmaking began at an early age for Barham.

“For me, I started filmmaking with one of those old video cameras shooting videos of me and my family,” he said. “From there, my mom gave me a little point-and-shoot digital camera and I continued with that until I met Canyon.

“I met Canyon in second grade and we made our first movie together in sixth grade,” he added. “We made a zombie short, about eight minutes with this group of friends. We filmed it at Bullhead City Junior High, then he and I started to make more movies together.”

“For me, I got into making movies a lot later,” DiMare said. “In sixth grade I noticed his videos and that people were laughing at his videos, so I wanted them to laugh at my videos. From there I didn’t really take shooting movies very seriously, but I enjoyed doing it.

“It wasn’t until my sophomore year that I decided I wanted to do it as a job because I really liked the show ‘Lost,’ and the film ‘Interstellar,’ ” he added. “Then I guess I really enjoyed doing films and Quincy enjoyed doing films, so we decided to partner up and do this together.”

They’ve learned to work through minor creative differences while embracing each other’s talents for whatever the scene calls for.

“We have very different tastes, but when it came to different scenes in ‘Murrder,’ Canyon had more vision than I did. When we co-direct, you have to give up a little control so we don’t argue,” Barham said.

“We help each other with every movie — if he needs me to act or direct, I’ll do it for him or he’d do it for me. We help each other on each other’s films,” DiMare added.

Their full-length feature has been the most challenging endeavor to date.

“It was nine months from the time I wrote the script to when it was finished,” Barham said. “We came up with the idea that we wanted to do something fun, and this was the largest cast we’ve ever worked with because there was so much to do.”

“It was a challenge but also fun, comedic, and it embraced the cheesy and campy,” DiMare said. “So it something is off, it really doesn’t effect the film, story or comedy.”

Friends stepped in to be actors and were rewarded with food and water.

“It was a learning experience, especially how to do things on a budget of $100 including gas,” Barham said. “Most of the money went for pizza, chips and water for our friends who helped with the movie. Canyon already had the camera so that helped and it did help that we had made films with them before — only shorts — but this was a new experience because it took so long to make.”

In addition to co-directing the film, Barham and DiMare also took on the lead roles.

“We had to play the lead characters in the movie because we had a big problem with the filming schedule. We knew when we were available all the time, when our friends had work on the weekends, so we had to take turns holding the camera or we had to put it on a tripod,” Barham said.

Reviews so far have been positive.

“One friend said it was really funny and what it doesn’t have in story-making sense, it makes up for in heart, and we really put our hearts into this,” DiMare said. “My mom said it’s a combination of ‘Lethal Weapon’ and ‘Airplane.’ ”

“The most difficult thing for me was planning everything, especially when trying to schedule our friends who worked on weekends and we filmed on weekends,” Darham said.

“That’s why it took so long, but the fun part was actually just doing it, going over the scenes, and seeing the collaboration right there, and working with a low budget. We had a fun time, laughing and seeing the completed film. That was satisfying.”

“The most difficult part for me was the editing because it was so tedious and it takes so long,” DiMare said. “The fun part for me was working with everyone and seeing the completed project and seeing their reaction to it.”

A special session will be held after the film to provide insights into the making of their movie. Additional information about the two-day “Young Filmmaker Passport” can be found on the LIFF website.

LIFF All-Access passes and single-day screening passes are available on the website. Tickets for all single screenings will be available at the LIFF Sales Table in front of the Stadium 9 Theaters beginning on Thursday, from noon to 8 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; and Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. For more information, contact LIFF, at 702-755-8391 or email info@laughlinfilmfest.com.

The film festival also is looking for volunteers to help with this year’s event. Those interesting in helping out should contact Kathy Murphy, via Facebook or at KathyMurphy@laughlinfilmfestival.com.

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