Arcadia has won the Best Feature—Drama award at the 2017 Cosmic Film Festival in Orlando, FL. The film was screened at Universal Studios’ AMC Theater. Director Andy Hall attended the fest to network, learn from filmmaking workshops and was able to accept the award in person at the wrap party/masquerade ball event.
More on the Cosmic Film Fest:
Cosmic Film Festival was founded by Ranelle Golden. Her vision is to bring passionate filmmakers of all backgrounds together with audiences eager to experience film beyond mainstream movies. Launching this year, its our hope to share success stories of an enduring and ever growing festival for many years to come. Be sure to check out our Staff and this year’s Jury/Judges, along with Celebrity Guests.
Arcadia wins Best Music at the TOP Indie Film Awards, a bi-monthly, non-screened festival. Arcadia was also nominated for Best Feature, Best Original Idea and Best Cinematography. See all the winners and nominees here: http://www.topindiefilmawards.com/
“Arcadia” is a refreshing venture into what good first time full length feature filmmaking can be. Learning the process of making this film made the actual film all the more enjoyable. Writer and director Andy J Hall comprised the film of mostly theatre and non film actors who have a passion for the arts keeping the vibe and feel organic and at times surreal. The cinematography is quite lovely with every frame shot and edited with purpose.
The story itself is a “find yourself” journey built around leaving the conventional world behind, diving head first into a hidden world suspended in time and making the choice to stay or go back to where you came from.
There is a lot to be said for the overall concept and direction this film goes. There are pleasant twists and turns that seem to lead to a conclusion but then shifts to another, keeping the audience on its toes. A journalist (Yang) stumbles upon a map that leads to an undiscovered society. His agency then proposes to post a story about it and wants him to find where the map leads. Watching his reactions as he stumbles through dark tunnels of water is a comedic highlight of the film and his natural sense of wonderment throughout is the main standout here as are some great performances throughout. Everyone in this production is sincere in every scene. An interesting thing to note is that the society the main character finds is like stepping into an art house frenzy full of acrobatics and a bohemian atmosphere. They delve into card readings and a kind of natural mysticism as their school and, at times, seem as if they are on acid or mind altering drugs, but in reality they are just high on life. I did notice that these cellar dwellers do not favor sunshine and stay reclusive within underground caves and even a theater. They do have a sense of mild evilness to how they decorate yet still stay in fashion.
One could say this is an art house film. The premise that true art culture has been lost and, to find it, one has to leave what they know to search deeper is the underlining theme. Our main character’s choice by films end leaves the question once again of one’s own decision to remain in what one knows or begin a new life. Without revealing his decision, lets just say that there is a beautiful muse type that gets his attention (Love Lass).
The majority of actors chosen here have great intent and the director does his best to make them look their best, even if its clear some have not had much experience with how to phrase lines or pacing for film. That said, the entire production still feels organic and natural which is welcomed. I could see this film as a big budget epic and the writer and director have enormous potential to make this a classic indie film. On its own, this is one of the better kind of mystery/sci – fi indie films we have reviewed. The overall style and pace of “Arcadia” is almost in a kind of “Kubrick” direction with odd stares, dramatic pauses and use of light and dark tones. The actual camera work and editing is spot on and compliments the tone well, giving the message and spirit of the film the punch it requires. It is worth seeing, even if some scenes carry a bit past their usefulness. This is a true director’s cut of ones full vision and no stone is left unturned. It is also worthy to note that no nudity or gross deaths were used though, at moments, you were expecting it to go there. Instead, this could be a film all ages could learn from as the main point was to showcase artistic and inner freedom in a world that does not accept this as normal.
Marshall University Film Studies invited director Andy Hall to screen Arcadia in September in Huntington, WV. The film was followed by a Q&A. Film Studies Director Dr. Walter Squire hosted the event.
The Marshall University Film Studies Program provides students opportunities to discover how a variety of film-based texts are created, communicate, and interact with almost all human endeavors. The Film Studies Program currently offers an intercollegiate and interdisciplinary minor that educates students in the analysis, evaluation, and production of dynamic visual texts.
I wanted to let you know that Arcadia was a huge success here. Almost all faculty, staff, and students really enjoyed your film and were grateful to get a chance to see something other than what’s available at multiplexes. Thank you for visiting and sharing your work. Dr. Walter Squire
We are very proud of our three actors who have been nominated in the Endless Mountain Film Festival in PA. Nominations include Yang Miller for Best Lead Actor, Malefor the role of Jared; Actress Christy Love Lass for Best Supporting Actress in the role of Fiona; and for Andy Felt for Best Supporting Actorin the role of the Barker. Christy’s performance is especially intriguing in that it contains no dialogue.
Arcadia will screen at the festival on Saturday, August 22nd at 11:15 am at the Arcadia Theater in Wellsboro, PA. The awards ceremony will be on Sunday evening.
Yang Miller was born in a barn in West Virgina and spent his formative years gathering wood and experience in the foothills of Appalachia. As a youngster Yang was bitten by a copperhead snake and almost died, later he was bitten by improv comedy and started living. He is a ten year improv comedian with credits in films and commercials. An accomplished filmmaker with a B.S. in Visual Art from CUNY, Yang has won awards at the New York Television Festival (NYTVF) for the series “Video Shmideo,” and at the Colony Film Festival for his documentary “A Midwestern Morning.” Yang continues to act in films and teach improv comedy in South Eastern Ohio while working as the Technical Director and Audience Experience Coordinator at The Athena Cinema in Athens.
Andy Felt hails from sunny southern California where he received his BA in Acting from CSU San Bernardino, was the founding Artistic Director of Shakespeare in the Garden, and served as the Resident Managing Director of The Imagination Company (00/01). His love for Shakespeare has taken him to London where he studied acting with Brigid Panet (RADA), Orlando Shakes (Assistant Director for Much Ado About Nothing 09), and to Canada (2011) where he appeared as Claudius/Ghost in Hothouse Theatre’s Hamlet. Andy received his MFA in Directing from Ohio University in 2009. Favorite acting credits include Geronte in Scapino (Monomoy Theater 2008), Topper in An Appalachian Christmas Carol (Stuart’s Opera House 2012), and Jeff Zarillo in “8” (Brick Monkey Theater Ensemble 2013). Andy is an Associate Professor and the current Artistic Director of the Theatre at Marietta College.
Raised in the Mid Ohio Valley, Christy Love Lass was a member of Boxcar Burlesque from 2011 until 2015. She performed as Cici Victoria in Athens, Columbus and Marietta Ohio. In 2014 she graduated with a BA in history, focusing on museum studies. Christy currently resides in Charleston, SC where she takes long walks on the beach with her dog Duke.
From the EMFF Website:
The Endless Mountains Film Festival is dedicated to the discovery of new voices in Filmmaking. We also provide panels with various industry professionals, parties and networking events to connect with other filmmakers, and a professional environment where you can exhibit your film and get the most out of your festival experience. Each film submitted to EMFF is screened by our staff and watched all the way through. We love film and we know how hard it is to get your film from page to screen.
Arcadia has taken awards at the August edition of the Mindfield Film Festival in Los Angles. Best Feature Film and Best Cinematography were awarded to Andy Hall’s first feature film.
From the Mindfield Festivals’s site:
“Mindfield showcases features, shorts and music videos by filmmakers from around the world, celebrating and supporting independent, new and alternative filmmakers not just during our annual Film Festival but throughout the year with our monthly competitions.
Winners of our monthly online competition will automatically be in the official selection of our annual festival.
Mindfield aims to show the very best in new independent cinema and to give filmmakers a place to show their work to people who appreciate it.”
In addition, Arcadia won the Platinum Award for Best Score (Luis Obregon, additional music by Bill Stankay, additional music by Bernie Nau,) the Silver Award for Best Feature, and the Bronze Award for Best Lead Male Actor (Yang Miller.)
The NYC Indie Film Awards is in its first year and has been awarding films for several months. There are no public screenings associated with the awards. The fest has is included in the Top 100 Fests of Film Freeway.
“I was involved in fundraising for the opening of the People’s Bank Theatre, so I had some access to it before it was re-opened,” said Hall. “The person who was heading up the fundraising made a comment about how someone should make a film in the old theater building before the restoration was complete. I thought ‘that’s a good idea,’ and I decided to do it myself.”
What Hall had anticipated to be a short film grew, over the spans of the year or so of filming, into a full-length, 85-minute feature.
The movie details the adventures of a curious journalist (played by Athens’ own Yang Miller) who decides to investigate the directions he finds in a map that he happens upon in a bookseller’s booth. What results is a surreal, action-packed exploration of the nature of identity and what role art plays in the formation of the self; all against a gorgeous backdrop of a whole lot of Brothers Quay-inspired spooky eye-candy.
“One thing I kept in mind from the beginning was the old adage ‘show, don’t tell’,” said Hall. “I took that general tactic and started to think about how much I like to see strange things in film. I thought about how I wanted to show things with a sort of vintage quality, things that weren’t invented in the past 70 years or so and that are fascinating to look at. I kept on thinking of things that would be fascinating visually and sort of wrote dialogue as it was needed. It all evolved into a unique and powerful story.”
Hall, who described himself as a mostly self-taught filmmaker, said that the making of Arcadia was truly a learning experience for everyone involved.
“I had to learn lots and lots of things on set and off, and I was constantly studying and storyboarding,” said Hall. “Marietta is a small town, and right now they don’t really have a film community. So the crew I was able to put together was entirely volunteer, and not too many people had a lot of experience. So the people running sound for the movie were running sound for the first time; the cameramen were filming like this for the first time. We were all really learning at the same time and trying to keep an eye on one another.”
Hall put together his crew with the help of a Facebook page, which recruited everyone from actors to extras to sound technicians. Since he had a hodgepodge of a willing crew, he started to form the movie as to play to the strengths of the people who stepped forward to take part in the filming.
“I started casting people because maybe I liked their look. If someone was exotic I would cast them in a exotic part, and if I knew they could improvise, I would write an improvised scene for them,” said Hall.
Marietta College’s theater department was also instrumental in the making of the film, with several students stepping forward for roles in the film and one professor, Andy Felt, taking on one of the leading roles. The theater department at the college also helped out Hall’s crew with some of their costume needs.
The funds for the movie came from all over, including two Indiegogo crowdsourcing campaigns, a personal loan that Hall took out, a grant from the Ohio Arts Council and a generous $5,000 contribution from Zane and Margaret Lazer.
Hall said that he has entered Arcadia into about 25 film festivals that he will continually hear back from until around January of next year. At some point he hopes to secure some type of distribution for the film.
“I think people will enjoy the film a lot,” said Hall. “It does not look like a micro budget film, it looks a little more special than that, and I think people will be pleased with it.”
Athens area film fanatics can catch a viewing of the film on July 31 at the Athena Cinema. That presentation of the film will also feature a Q&A session with Hall and the opportunity to pick up various Arcadia promotional materials.
The process has begun and Arcadia has paid entry fees for several festivals this week (2 dozen and climbing!) The fests are researched and entered through the great websites FilmFreeway and Withoutabox. Now the wait begins! Will any of these festivals give us the thumbs up? Tune in and find out!
Perks from the $55 level and above have shipped, which included the Just-A-Jar letterpress poster, postcard and some extra goodies.
Postcards should go out the week of June 1-5. Soundtracks will end up being a digital download, and will be ready the 1st 2 weeks of June. Private links to the film (still in color correction mode) should go out this week.