The Eighth Annual Beaufort International Film Festival is spreading its reach this year, with finalists hailing from six countries and across the United States.
Organizers released the list of finalists Friday for the festival, which runs from Feb. 12 to 16 at the University of South Carolina Beaufort Center for the Arts.
Beaufort Film Society president Ron Tucker said more countries will be represented at the coming festival than ever before. Filmmakers from Germany, the Russian Federation, Australia, China and Canada were selected as finalists.
"That tells me that the marketing that we use to get the word out is working," Tucker said. "Every year there's more and more festivals, and all the festivals are competing with each other. ... So we try to make our festival more and more attractive each year, so that word will travel through the filmmakers that this one is good."
In November, the festival made the 2013 list of the Top 25 Coolest General Film Festivals in the World, published by MovieMaker Magazine. Tucker said that's another sign the festival is growing in popularity.
About 8,000 people attended last year.
Of the 150 entries submitted for the 2014 festival, 34 films and screenplays were selected in such categories as animation, documentary, short film, student film and features. From those, six actors and five directors were selected as finalists for individual awards.
Many of the entries are from repeat finalists or winners, and Tucker said he has spoken with a number of them who are excited to return to Beaufort.
"I just called Mark Albertin (Augusta, Ga.), and he was beside himself excited about getting to come back," Tucker said.
Of note among the finalists is the clean sweep of the student film category by the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, N.C.
Savannah College of Art and Design student Michael Hogan had submitted an entry for the category, but judges moved his "Moment of Tooth" entry to the animation category.
This year, the festival will honor the 20th anniversary of the filming of "Forrest Gump," much of which took place in and around Beaufort.
Two-time Oscar Award-winning film editor Arthur Schmidt will receive the Jean Ribaut Award for Excellence in Film Editing during the festival. He won Oscars for his work on "Forrest Gump" and "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?"
Festival organizers are seeking locals who participated in the movie for special events during the film festival. A "Behind the Magic" documentary about the making of the film will be shown Feb. 14, followed by a screening of the movie.
Residents who participated in the film are asked to contact festival organizers at 843-522-3196 or at www.beaufortfilmfestival.com.
Finalists are (trailers, clips or other related video accompanies film titles where available):
- "Death & the Robot," Austin Taylor, Winston-Salem, N.C.
- "Double Occupancy," Fabian Giessler, Weimar, Germany
- "Moment of Tooth," Michael Hogan, Savannah
Moment of Tooth from stephan ehl on Vimeo.
- "Sleight of Hand," Michael Cusak, Kent Town, Australia
A LASTING SORROW | Full Film from Michael Alden Lloyd on Vimeo.
Clown Nose Theory from RedRoadStudios on Vimeo.
All finalists in the student category are from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Winston-Salem, N.C.
Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/IPBG_Erin.