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BareBones International Independent Film and Music Festival is set to hit an historical milestone


By Parker Anderson


The Eleventh Annual BareBones International Independent Film and Music Festival is set to hit an historical milestone when it opens on April 15, 2010 in Muskogee Oklahoma. The eleven day event will have the distinction of welcoming it's one thousandth independent film producer to Oklahoma. No other film festival in Oklahoma even comes close to that record, and most are years away from making that happen.


The grassroots cultural festival which had it's inaugauration in 1999 has seen steady growth in both attendance and quality of films in spite of it's aversion to court major studios and celebrities. "We have nothing against Hollywood stars or movies, we have just chosen to focus our attention on the next generation of stars and starmakers" says ShIronbutterflly, Executive Director and Founder of the film festival "and on helping to grow independent film makers in the state as we help to grow the industry here."


While the festival is well attended by working actors, directors, cinematographers and screenwriters from both coasts, it typically hosts film makers from all over the world who are making their first foray into moviemaking. "Some of the film makers have been in the industry for years as actors, or screenwriters, or stunt people, or cinematographers who decided they wanted to take their engagement in the industry to the next level and then others are novices or students who had an idea for a movie and decided they would make it, pretty much by any means necessary," says Oscar Ray, festival Marketing Director and independent film producer. 


"By any means necessary", is the mantra, battle cry, and core principle of the BareBones Film Festival according to ShIronbutterfly. "Moviemaking is an inherently expensive process, but with the cost of quality camera and sound equipment at less than the price of a used car, just about anyone who is tenacious enough can make a movie, if they are willing to take their lumps learning the process. ".


That process was chronicled in the book "How To Make Movies At Used Car Prices" by film maker and author, Rick Schmidt, one of the first independent film producers to attend the festival and who conducted a workshop on making high quality low budget motion pictures. "When Rick came to Oklahoma and talked about his book and methods there were maybe only one or two books on independent motion picture production. His book was pretty revolutionary and is still one of the best publications you can purchase on the process", says ShIronbutterfly.


Even without courting celebrities, quite a number have quietly attended the event and have shared, in impromptu settings, their wisdom and knowledge about the industry and moviemaking. Oklahoman, Ryan Merriman (Final Destination II, Lonseome Dove, Commanche Moon), film producer and movie distributor, Tonya York of York International, along with a host of television producers, soap stars, and successful screenwriters have made a stop and given a nod to this one of a kind film showcasing event. 

So much so, that the festival dubbed "the world's friendliest film festival" has been twice named by Movie Maker magazine one of the "top twenty film festivals in the U.S. to attend".


The grass roots festival event is unique as well, for it's high energy, upscale Awards Ceremony, With a  Red Carpet Walk, and live performances in between awards, it resembles a 'mini Academy Award ceremony. Suits,Tuxedos and long, dazzling evening gowns also help to make the evening memorable. It is the type of awards show very few independent film festivals ,without a major budget or donors attempt.


But for Oscar that is not what makes the night special. "We have been blessed over the years to recognize the talent of some gifted and incredibly giving indidviduals. That is what makes it such a special event. But there are two awards given that evening that truly make  Barebones one of a kind."


It is the only film festival in the world that recognizes the film Auteur. An individual who has tackled more than one job responsibility(Typically five or more) to get their movie completed. The Auteur of the Year Award is the highest honor the film festival bestows. It is even higher, by BareBones standards, than best director.


The Trailblazer Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes an individual who has made the arts, community involvement, or the movie industry their lifes' work. Recipients in the past have been arts supporters, scholars, authors, film industry professionals and even politicians. The 2010 recipient  is Aki Aleong, an actor, singer, writer and movie producer whose career has spanned nearly sixty years, fifty motion pictures and more than two hundred television appearances. "This industry is not easy, and to make it your lifetimes work is a challenge in the best of times. Those who do so, and leave an indelible imprint, professionally and socially are very special people. Aki Aleong is that kind of special person." says ShIronbutterfly.


The festival will exhibit over one hundred and seventy movies from 35 cities and 13 foreign countries, conduct workshops on acting, screenwriting and independent motion picture production while welcoming to Oklahoma and Muskogee over two hundred actors, screenwriters, directors and producers. The event is open to the public and advanced tickets can be purchased online.


The other history making part of the film festival is something ShIronbutterfly doesn't think twice about, but is a unique industry accomplishment. She is the only film festival Executuve Director in the U.S. to head two multi-day film festivals. A virtually unheard of feat. "I don't know how she does it. She teaches film at a college and a university, she joins me on production shoots, serves on several community, art and industry boards and runs two film festivals." says Oscar her husband and partner. Her energy and drive are no doubt two of the reasons "the worlds' friendliest film festival" is on track to make history.


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