The Film Slam began as an opportunity to gather the region’s under-exposed stories and storytellers in a special event designed for maximum participation.
The formula works for creatives:
Tight deadline + Minimum time commitment (one weekend) + Hollywood judges + Public screening + Trophies and financial awards = One eight-minute film.
We wanted to level the playing field among pros and amateurs in order to find the best stories and storytellers in the region.
Success! In 2010, we hosted the 1st 48-Hour Film Slam at the Percolator coffee house on Stanton St. to a standing room only crowd (estimated at 100+ attendees). Twenty-two teams entered and 13 teams completed the project. The event has always included a fee for entry, premiums for the winners and a charitable organization beneficiary. In each Film Slam, we’ve had teams from El Paso, Las Cruces and Cd. Juarez, with professional, student and novice participants, judged by film industry professionals from outside the region. One three-time team has yet to graduate from high school! The public screening shifted to a larger venue in Tricky Falls, and again maxed capacity at 230 seats plus standing room. After two more Film Slams, we moved the event to the Foundation Room with an upgraded A/V system and more comfortable setting. The results were the same; we reached the 250-seat capacity with a standing audience.
In the summer of 2016, we fielded emails and phone calls from interested film teams. However, we came to a crossroads–either pump the same amount of effort (significant for our small firm) into the event only to plateau at 25 teams and a screening audience of 250, or expand the event to have a greater influence in our region.
A New Direction
First, the Film Slam’s format is unique to the area, and with some adjustments we believe it can attract a greater cohort of the region’s most talented film teams. Secondly, a redesigned event needs a larger venue to accommodate larger audiences. Thirdly, our team is intent on making a positive difference in our community, and partnerships with certain nonprofits can both fill a need to tell their stories and boost interest at the same time. The new Ghostlight Film Festival can become a signature arts event that the general public in the Paso del Norte area can claim as its own. This new direction is grounded in two of Ghostlight’s core values.
1. The Creative Arts are indispensable to influencing audiences, and
2. An equal partnership between the Creative Arts and other industries can result in unprecedented change.