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Issue Date: April 2008

Lights,Camera, AKRON

Rachel Szuch
Rob Lucas never expected the Akron Independent Film Festival to go beyond the University of Akron student union. But the festival is evolving and expanding more than ever. “We have defined who our audience is a little more, and we have also picked a really cool venue that’s really easy to get to,” says Lucas of the move to The Bang and the Clatter Theatre Company’s downtown Akron venue. Several new events have been added to the festival, April 3 through 6, including three workshops and a 48-hour film challenge. “Before it was just people sitting in a room watching movies,” says Lucas. “But now people can get together and interact.”

Why is Akron a good city for film?

It’s a nifty place, there’s a lot to do here — a lot more than people would think. There are a lot of great places to shoot, and I think that there are really a lot of artistic people from Akron. There’s a thriving arts community here. It’s easy to get around, it’s cheap. Akron is a great place to make movies. I’ve made most of my movies here, and

I’ve worked on a lot of commercials here. It’s an easy, inexpensive place to shoot that has a lot of great locations.

The Screenwriting Workshop teaches how to deal with writer’s block. What do you do when you have it?

I find that exercise really helps. When I run and when I swim, it helps me to think about the ideas that I have and where I can take them next. At the same time, I think that just breathing and moving really helps get your creative juices going. I like to hang out with friends too and pitch ideas to them. But whenever I feel stuck, I just go and swim and it gets me going again.

If you were in this year’s 48-hour video challenge, what would you film?

I have participated in a 48-hour video challenge — actually it was more of a 24-hour video challenge. I was given a street corner in Cleveland as my focus — it was St. Clair and West Sixth Street. I could only shoot on that street corner. And to sort of make it easier on myself, I decided to make it a silent movie — a Charlie Chaplin-type film. That way I wouldn’t have people yelling at the camera or the sounds of cars going by. I put a bit of piano music behind it, and I tried to make it short, cute and fun. I recommend that people keep their concepts simple.

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