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WV FILMmakers Festival Goes International

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Now in its 14th season, the West Virginia FILMmakers Festival will have a new international approach this fall.

The festival will take place Oct. 4-6 at the Elk Theatre in Sutton. Organizers have accepted film submissions on a national and international basis. In previous years, submissions were only open to West Virginia movies.

Festival director Caitlin Renee Campbell said the change was an attempt to expand the event.

"The big news this year is that we have opened submissions for films worldwide," Campbell said. "We have a special interest in films shot in West Virginia, about West Virginia and made by West Virginians. This West Virginia focus was reflected in the first 13 years of the festival. In our 14th year, we are reaching out to include films and filmmakers worldwide. Opening the festival up, we are excited to grow and see what is submitted on this broader scale.

"We had gone as far as we could go with West Virginia," said Campbell, a Braxton County native who moved to Southern California to pursue her career in film after attending West Virginia University. "This is an ever-growing event, but only way to grow was to open the submissions nationally and internationally."

A previous winner of the event, Campbell says she assumed the leadership role as a favor to the former director and her brother. Kevin Carpenter, who was a high school classmate of Campbell, was the co-founder. Her brother, J.L. Campbell, wanted to see the event continue as the mayor of Sutton.

Competition categories are narrative feature, documentary feature, narrative short, documentary short, experimental/animation/music video and student films. Campbell says she has received a number of submissions from Canadian filmmakers.

Winners, as determined by a committee of previous winners, receive a $250 sponsored by Braxton County businesses. Student film winners are awarded a $100 cash prize. Audiences will be casting their votes for the "People Choice Award."

The "Filmmaker of the Year" award is presented to a filmmaker with recent or lifetime work "has had the utmost impact on the West Virginia film industry."

Campbell, who works as an actress and producer in film, theater and television, said the presentation of the award is a festival highlight. Previous winners include "Super Size Me" producer Morgan Spurlock and public television documentarian Mari-Lynn Evens.

The event takes place during the Sutton Fall Festival. Films will be shown at the Elk Theatre and seminars will be available at the Landmark Art Center. Admission is $10 for a film screening or $30 for a festival pass. For details, contact information@wvfilmakersfestival.org