Flagler Film Festival to showcase independent films

By Emily Hoover | ehoover@flagler.edu
Artwork courtesy of Gregory von Hausch

Gregory von Hausch, director of the Flagler Film Festival, said the goal of the festival is drawn simply from the Fort Lauderdale Film Festival’s slogan: “Vacation from ordinary films.”

The four-day event begins on Sept. 30 and concludes on Oct. 3, and all of the films are shown on Flagler campus. It is a spin-off of the Fort Lauderdale festival and will continue on a 3-year cycle.

Von Hausch, who moved to St. Augustine in 2006 after hurricane damage from Wilma, has worked with the Fort Lauderdale Film Festival for 22 years. He decided to relocate to St. Augustine, commute to Fort Lauderdale and continue most of his work online.

Von Hausch, who also does dinner and a movie at Gypsy Cab, has a degree in theater from the University of Florida.

“I am a founder of the Hippodrome [State] Theater in Gainesville… I worked with that for 15 years,” he said. “I heard about the job opening [with the Fort Lauderdale Film Festival] and I have been here ever since. I guess I’ve only had two jobs in my adult life, but this fest is my biggest effort for this city.”

The genesis of the Flagler Film Festival began with students and Flagler itself, von Hausch said.

Communication professor Dr. Matthew Wysocki contacted students and encouraged them to get involved.

Fort Lauderdale sponsors Arnie and Barbara Grevior, who have a home in St. Augustine and serve as patrons to the college, agreed to begin the project. Since then, the festival has grown, gaining a response from hotels, bars, environmental groups and real estate.

“We have a commitment to the college,” von Hausch said. “The first year is crucial for future success and individuals have been receptive. We have a modest start with 50-room nights, but it is something: new money for the community.”

The first event features independent and foreign cinema. Although it houses filmmakers who von Hausch invited, he plans to include an open call for local and student films next year. Future plans include monthly screenings and discussion groups leading up to each festival.

“I don’t know who is graduating, but I want to find someone, a student, who could take my role and make this the college fest,” he said.

Public relations, production and cinema studies interns now work for the festival, doing everything from poster and graphic design, to social networking, publicity and production coordinating.

Von Hausch is impressed by the resourcefulness and eagerness of his unpaid interns, who are “self-starters” and give him a youthful “jolt of adrenaline” at each meeting, he said.

Leadership and creativity are two key elements for a future intern at the fest and Wysocki, who will introduce the film “Don McKay” on Saturday, hopes that the first festival will spark student interests.

“This is a great opportunity for Flagler,” Wysocki said. “I am hoping that students will be encouraged to get involved in the film industry. If you have an idea, I encourage you to do it, rather than wait for someone else.”

Prices for the event are $3 for Flagler faculty, staff, students and alumni, as well as $12 for a fast pass to all shows. Von Hausch hopes to convey this unique opportunity in the oldest city.

“There is more to life than hanging in a bar or going to the beach, this is only three days” von Hausch said. “Instead of going to Seattle, New York or Sundance [Utah], we have it right here.”

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