Friday night flicks

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— In hopes of hosting a future film festival in Steamboat Springs, the Yampa Valley Film Board will start small with a fall film series to get community feedback.

Starting today, the Steamboat Springs Arts Council, in collaboration with the film board, will present "foreign film around the world" for the first 75 people at the door of the Depot Art Center.

Every other Friday through November, Centennial Hall will feature a film from Britain, Italy, Iran, France and China for people in Steamboat to attain a better appreciation for film and culture.

"We want to further the arts; this gives us another vehicle," said Greg Hughey, volunteer film board member and owner of High Drama Productions.

Hughey said a film series will test the waters for a winter film series followed by a film festival of high caliber.

With various other resort towns throughout the country following the lead of, say, the Sundance Film Festival or Cannes Film Festival, film lovers in Steamboat also would like to see the niche for film appreciation here.

"We're looking for a niche market for a festival," Hughey said. "There's been talk for a long time, but we never could find a niche or producer."

Film enthusiast Bill Hamilton said he also hopes for a future film festival, but one directed toward teen filmmakers.

"We're trying to get that off the ground. If (the fall film series) goes well, we'll do it in the spring so people can see what young people are doing," Hamilton said.

Hamilton chose "Little Voice," the film series' first film tonight and has chosen the various English cheeses that will accompany wine after the showing.

"We're trying to get people interested in foreign film and I chose 'Little Voice' because it's in English and people may think, 'Hey, this isn't so bad,'" Hamilton said.

Hughey and the arts council hope to get community input immediately after the film, instead of everyone walking out like a typical theater.

"We're hoping to generate communication and conversation on what they would like to see," Hughey said of a possible future series.

In larger metropolitan areas, art houses provide foreign, independent or B films; however, Steamboat rarely has the opportunity to view video art because of the lack of accommodating venues.

However, since Centennial Hall was built, Hughey said they now have a multimedia room to show films with quality technology. All films shown at the film series will be on DVD.

Hughey and the arts council hope people might be interested a decade later. The last film series took place at Bud Werner Memorial Library in 1989.

Hughey said Nancy Kramer, arts council executive director, wanted to reinstate the film series and see how much the community supports it.

The film board falls under the Northwest Colorado Film Commission because of the nonprofit organization representing four counties in northwestern Colorado: Routt, Moffat, Rio Blanco and Garfield.

Hughey said the film board works closely with the Colorado Film Commission in Denver to get contacts for film productions in the represented areas.

"We have the location as well as the crew" for people wanting to produce commercials, documentaries, feature films or student films, Hughey said.

The organization's primary goal is to "attract and facilitate media production." The film board also "serves as a resource to enhance economic, cultural and educational opportunities."

The film board is made up of Hughey, Susan Ghysels of the Steamboat Chamber Resort Association, Tom Baer of Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp., Wendy Du Bord of the city of Steamboat Springs and Ed Patalick of the U.S. Forest Service.

Hughey said the board members picked some of their favorite films, put them in a hat and drew. After the draw, the members discussed the films and chose the ones they could obtain, as well as provide something tasteful for the community and generate film and cinematographic appreciation.

"The film production business brings a lot of money to locations depending on the how much they budget," Hughey said.

If the film series were to ever turn into a film festival in the future, Hughey said they would look to out-of-the-ordinary ideas to get producers to Steamboat.

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