JP Graham | Reporter
The “Deep in the Heart Film Festival” concluded Sunday afternoon with a “short and sweet” Encore viewing of selected short films shown throughout the week.
Festival co-director Samuel Thomas said there was so much talent at this year’s festival that they wanted to make sure as many people were able to see the favorites as possible.
“We wanted it to be a highlight of the festival for people who maybe didn’t get a chance to come out,” Thomas said. “Or for people who did get a chance to come out, but because we had two screens, they couldn’t see everything. It gave them a chance to get a flavor of stuff that maybe they might have missed.”
Thomas said he thinks directors felt more welcomed this year, and that the festival seemed like a “seasoned” event.
“Last year, the compliment was that it didn’t feel like a first-year festival, like we’ve been doing it for a couple of years,” Thomas said. “This time around, the biggest compliment was that they just, as filmmakers, felt so loved and taken care of. They felt like our hearts were in the right place, which is true because we’re filmmakers ourselves.”
Thomas said that he, festival co-director Louis Hunter and festival programmer Maverick Moore selected the films for the final showing on Sunday based on the reaction the film received from the audience, and whether or not it spoke to them personally. Thomas said the selected films had to be shorter than 15 minutes, in order to squeeze as many films as they could into the two-hour screening.
Deep in the Heart selected twelve short films for this Sunday matinee, ranging from comedies to tragedies, each contrasting the previous.
The film “Alternative Math” was the first film presented on Sunday afternoon, a film in which a math teacher loses her job for telling a student that there is only one answer to the problem “two plus two.” She became the focus of a national debate over teachers having “alternative” answers; she ultimately uses the school’s logic against them, receiving a final paycheck of $22,000 instead of $4,000.
The featured film, “Lawman,” tells the story of Bass Reeves, the first African American to be deputized by the US Marshall service in 1875. Between his wife’s concerns for his safety, and questions from a captured criminal with a bounty on his head, Reeves begins to question his loyalties and is forced to make a tough decision regarding the criminal’s fate and his own.
David Maddox, director of “Alternative Math,” said talk shows debating “alternative facts,” along with family ties to education helped shape the film and complete the ending.
“It used to be where everyone was entitled to their own opinion,” Maddox said. “Now they’re all entitled to their own facts, too, which makes it hard to have basic conversations sometimes.”
Thomas said the Deep in the Heart Film Festival intends to expand their number of events per year, adding that he wanted to see how the second year of the festival unfolded before expanding.
“We wanted to make sure our flagship event, the Deep in the Heart Film Festival, sung,” Thomas said. “And now we’re going to start doing things on a quarterly basis starting in June.”
Thomas said quarterly showings will provide more opportunities to view the films. Those who are interested can keep up with the Deep in the Heart Film Festival through Facebook and Instagram to know where and when events are happening.