For the first time in 60 years, Abilene’s very own Tribute Film Festival was held at Frontier Texas last weekend.
The festival has been known in the past primarily for screening potential award winning short films, but there’s more than meets the eye in this year’s extravaganza.
According to frontiertexas.com, the festival is “a three-day three-night film festival. Events include screenings of selected films in the Frontier Texas Theater, a three-day filmmaking seminar, social/networking events throughout downtown Abilene, and a festival gala at the historic Paramount Theater to screen the award winning films on March 5.”
The event was hosted by Frontier Texas and co-sponsored by the Texas Association of Museums and the Texas Forts Trail Heritage Association.
The purpose of the festival is “to encourage the growth of independent ‘heritage filmmaking’ and to promote excellence in the filmmaking craft,” according to the Frontier Texas website.
Frontier Texas is very dedicated to supporting the mission of the museum by holding events while spreading love, knowledge and awareness of heritage for museums through short film.
The museum held true to their mission statement with the diverse cultural submissions of short films, such as The 1966 Starr County Farm Workers’ Strike and Fall Seven Times Get Up Eight: The Japanese War Brides.
Multiple film competition awards are up for grabs each year and competitors have various categories in which their film can be submitted. Prize money for each category ranges from $50-$250 grand prize.
This year’s grand-prize winning film was Lutah A Passion for Architecture: A Life in Design, directed by Kum-Kum Bhavnani and produced by Gretchen Lieff and Leslie Sweem Bhutani.
“For it being the first year, I was really impressed with everything,” said Brittany Coons, account director of Frontier Texas. “However, I do think it would be cool to get more student involvement next year, as far as submitting films and then having more students in attendance.”
There were roughly 100 attendees to this year’s event, including the contestants, but an increase in attendance is expected in the years to come. Frontier Texas is very adamant about increasing the growth of heritage filmmaking and making sure the full potential of this festival is realized.
“I think this is a great event for Frontier Texas to gain exposure in the film world, and also among other innovative museums,” Coons said.