Doko Film Fest was successful, smaller

BLYTHEWOOD – While the second annual Doko Film Fest attendance took a hit from the coronavirus pandemic, organizer Ray Smith said it was still a wonderful event that produced the results he was looking for – lots of participation and enthusiasm and some really good high school film work.

First Night

“The jazz and the ambience made First Night (Friday night) at The Manor special, and our silent auction raised a lot of money for the festival,” Smith said. “James Jude Courtney was with us to discuss his role as Michael Myers in the Halloween movies. He signed posters, head shots and a knife that were all very popular.

“The red carpet evening was a really pleasant experience and a success with all those who attended, including Mayor Bryan Franklin who stayed through the evening,” Smith said.

The Movies

Three of the event’s principal people, including two-time Oscar winner Michelle Eisenreich and Hollywood stuntman/actor Alex Daniels, both from Blythewood, and two master-class instructors were not able to travel because of the virus, but managed to participate remotely.

“The screening event was a huge success on Saturday at the Westwood High School location,” Smith said. “Even though we had to rearrange the program a bit, bringing Wally Marzano-Lesnevich via Zoom teleconferencing. He presented his master-class called ‘From Script to Screen’. Audience members were able to see him, his slides and excerpts from his films and to understand the process of getting a story onto the screen and the structure that is needed to tell a good story. He answered questions from the audience,” Smith said. “It was great.”

The same happened with Eisenreich’s remote presentation in which she talked about how visual effects are created, and showed examples from her films.

“Jude Courtney was on stage with me talking about his career and his role in the Halloween movies. He plays such a challenging part,” Smith said.

Two students from South Carolina – Spencer Winburn of McBee and Honor Kerley of the S.C. Governor’s School of Arts and Humanities – won best film awards.

“Our attendance was down this year most likely because people in fear of the virus were reluctant to come to a big gathering. But our entries were up and so was the quality of work,” Smith said. “And we’re already gearing up for next year and are very much looking forward to it.”