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Festival series to bring indie films to Prescott

Courtesy photo<p>
A member of Reveille, a quartet followed in the documentary “American Harmony,” prepares for a performance.

Courtesy photo<p> A member of Reveille, a quartet followed in the documentary “American Harmony,” prepares for a performance.

A historic tradition in film, an accommodating cineplex, and plenty of parking are a few elements organizers say provide a strong base for local film festival.

The Prescott Film Festival & Series launches next Wednesday, May 13, with an Arizona premier of the independent documentary feature "American Harmony," preceded by the comedic short "The Day My Parents Became Cool," beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Frontier Village 10 Cine in Prescott.

Zach Paul, the producer of "The Day My Parents Became Cool," is scheduled to speak about his experience making the film and answer questions following the screening.

Much in the style of the Sedona Film Festival that shows new indie films year-round, the festival organizers are planning to schedule a new movie the second Wednesday of each month along with an appearance of a filmmaker, and possibly build the program up to a three-day event.

Festival director Helen Stephenson said the broader picture would ideally bring filmmakers to the area for location work.

"The basic idea was, what can we do besides have a film festival where we have a lot of fun and then everybody goes home," Stephenson said.

Stephenson said by capitalizing on the variety of settings for shooting outdoor scenes, building a festival in Prescott is a great way to expose filmmakers to the area who might return at some point to set up production.

"In 1912, we had film production. We had a studio over near Prescott College. This is a fabulous location. We've got everything here, mountains, you name it - everything except for the big city," she said.

"Filmmakers all network. It's a relatively small community. Maybe the producer of a short is the editor on the next big film."

Part of developing the festival will be identifying the local audience for independent films, Stephenson said, adding that for now, screenings will lean toward films that are family-friendly.

Assuming the festival could one day gain the momentum to become a three-day event similar to the Sedona festival, the city's two convention centers and cultural amenities could provide a prime location for a technology convention and networking event geared toward the independent filmmaker, Stephenson added. "We're going to be researching how to make it a unique distribution paradigm for filmmakers."