Few tickets remain for Saturday's digital film festival

Friday, March 23, 2007

The third annual Show Me Digital Film Festival takes place Saturday night at Port Cape Girardeau's River City Yacht Club, but if you don't already have a ticket, you may not be able to attend the event.

Festival co-organizer Pat Bond said Tuesday that all of the 150 tickets available for the festival have been sold. Another festival organizer, Michael Huntington, said a few tickets may be available for people who get to the festival early, but supply is small.

"I even had a guy who was going to put up posters around town, but then I started getting e-mails and phone calls for tickets, and they were gone," Bond said. "I can't advertise now."

Bond said he has somewhat mixed feelings about selling out the event. Bond said he hates having to turn people away who might be interested in attending, but he's also glad the festival sold out in its third year, rebounding from a less-than-stellar second year.

Bond and fellow organizer Huntington have been optimistic about the festival since they began organizing the event months ago. Before the last festival in November 2005 a disagreement between the two left Bond on his own to organize the festival -- a two-day event -- that he co-founded with Huntington in 2004. That festival, with a slate of feature-length and short films -- was sparsely attended.

This year Bond and Huntington changed their approach. They moved the SMDFF off the Southeast Missouri State University campus, choosing a downtown location. And they kept the focus on local filmmakers, accepting short films only from people living in the area.

"We're trying to show the city and the region some of the talent we have here," Huntington said in January. "We think we have a good slate of films. A lot of people have said they're going to come out ... and that's what we're looking at doing, just get the people out, entertain them with some films and get them involved in Southeast Missouri."

At first the festival was slated for Feb. 24, but a scheduling conflict with the River City Players pushed the date back to this Saturday. Despite the date change organizers had no trouble selling tickets, running out days in advance of the event.

The sell-out could partially be attributed to having room for fewer people at Port Cape than at the university. Three hundred people could pack into the event's on-campus venue inside the University Center, but the Yacht Club's capacity for the event is only half that number.

Bond said he thinks more tickets could have been sold, though, if the venue was bigger. But the situation is a trade-off. Port Cape, Bond said, is a much more suitable environment for the festival.

"I think it's going to be much better here," Bond said. "It's more relaxed, people can have something to drink or some food. I'd rather people be comfortable than sell an extra 150 tickets."

With the positive response this year's festival is receiving Bond said next year might see the festival expanded into a two-day event again.

msanders@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 182

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