With the help of the Alaska Film Forum and Bear Tooth Theatrepub, filmmakers of all skill levels have the opportunity to see their work aired on the big screen during an event called Open Projector Night. Since the first projector night in 2010, Bear Tooth has allowed the Alaska Film Forum to use their theatre to host a night featuring short films from filmmakers around Anchorage. There is no specific theme the films must meet, with the only requirement being that the film is under three minutes.
Joshua Lowman works for the Alaska Film Forum, and currently runs open projector nights. Since the total run time for open projector night is 90 minutes, there is a first come, first serve system in order of choosing which films make it. Lowman and other members of the forum receive films and accept them until the time allotment is filled up, which usually happens fairly quickly.
“We get all kinds of applicants, students just getting into filmmaking and professionals who have been doing this for years. It’s always a variety of films, but that keeps the night interesting and serves as a good learning experience for anyone who attends,” Lowman said.
While there are other opportunities in Anchorage to get a film on the big screen, the difference with open projector nights is that there is no feel of competition. The films are shown here to be viewed along with other fimmakers’ products and nothing else, which makes the event much more relaxed and easy going.
“I like that OPN gives someone who wouldn’t normally get the opportunity to see their work displayed on the big screen the chance to do so, and get that reward. It’s a really cool way to give back to the community as well, anywhere from 200-400 people always show up and support the films that are shown,” Lowman said.
Open projector night is beneficial to all filmmakers, but for students who are still learning the ropes of filmmaking, this is a very worthwhile event. Dikeos Foudeas is a journalism student and member of film club at UAA, hoping to get into documentary filmmaking once graduated.
“I like how OPN serves as a hub for local filmmakers, and lets us show our latest works while being able to network too. I meet different filmmakers every time I go, and am always introduced to new ideas that help me improve my filmmaking,” Foudeas said.
The next open projector night is happening on Saturday, April 1, at Bear Tooth beginning at 10 p.m. The event is all ages, and films of all skill levels and themes will be shown.