News and Tribune

February 20, 2014

Bringing moving pictures to life

24 local filmmakers on display at all-day festival in New Albany


NEW ALBANY — Film junkies, arts supporters and other curious spectators streamed in and out of The Grand in New Albany last week during the first Grand Film Festival, part of the Performing Arts Series sponsored by the Arts Council of Southern Indiana.

For $5, filmgoers were treated to a diverse showcase of 24 films made by more than 25 local filmmakers, which ran the gamut from high school students to Cynthia Torp, a Clarksville native and president of Solid Light, a local media production company.

The event was the brainchild of Julie Schweitzer, executive director of the Arts Council of Southern Indiana, and Brent Humes, a local independent filmmaker. Schweitzer said they had a common vision — to find and give exposure to local talent.

“If you don’t give a place for your artists to show their work and sell their work and create their work, they leave,” Schweitzer said.

She said she worked with other members of the Arts Council board of directors at putting the word out to local talent and organizing the many volunteers and donors, while Humes spread the word through fliers and Facebook and worked at securing the spot at The Grand.

 “I was hell-bent on getting The Grand,” Humes said. “I can’t picture any place else for all these filmmakers.”

Humes said he is a self-taught filmmaker who finds satisfaction in the process of making his films, as well as the finished product.

“I just love it. I get excited to take something and just put it together, you know, as like this cool project,” Humes said.

His artistic contribution to the festival was a short film called “L’Artiste,” which featured Louis Retailleau, owner and chef at Louis Le Francais, located at 133 E. Market St. in New Albany.

Since he is self-taught, Humes does not have any formal training in lighting or “perfect” camera angles. He said relies on his instincts to decide how to shoot his films.

“If it looks good to my eye, that’s where I want it,” Humes said.

Humes said he is working on an online series called “Freak of Nature,” about a female serial killer.  He is planning for 10 episodes.

“It’s like a female ‘Dexter,’” he said.

Humes’ other works include a K.E.T. historical feature called “Old Soldiers” and contributions to an HBO documentary on addiction. “L’Artiste,” and other films are available to view on YouTube and can be found by visiting

“I just do it out of here,” Humes said, pointing to his heart.

Schweitzer said she believes the Southern Indiana community is rich with talented artists that deserve a chance to thrive. She said the Arts Council strives to give local artists — from filmmakers to painters to writers — a platform to grow, showcase their works and connect with other artists and sponsors in the area. At the Arts Council office, there is a gift shop, gallery space and a carriage house renovated to hold classrooms.

“We have really talented people here, doing really great work,” Schweitzer said. “You do not have to go out of this region to get something at the top of the game. Anything that you do to as art form, we want to provide you a venue to do that in.”

Bellarmine University, Hanover College, Indiana University Southeast and Purdue College of Technology were all represented by filmmakers at the festival. There also were two filmmakers from Providence High School and Schweitzer said next year, she plans to add a category for high school students.

“We need to promote education programs so that people know we have these programs where you can come and learn to make film, to be a filmmaker here,” Schweitzer said. “We want you be able to produce a film and show it in your own hometown.”

Schweitzer said she believes everyone has creative ability, and that society suffers when people are grouped into being “artists” and “nonartists.”

“When I grew up in the country with my grandparents, everybody was expected to have something that you did well — whether you made the best pie or carved the best chair, played the fiddle the best or whatever — you were expected to have an art form,” Schweitzer said.      “Everybody has that creative ability in them, it’s just finding something to challenge you. Whether you’re a musician, a painter, a sculptor, a filmmaker or a writer, we have something for you.”



• For more information of the Arts Council of Southern Indiana, visit or call 812-949-4238.