Although the Interurban Film Festival may be young and just moved to a new location in downtown Denison, organizers say the festival is growing in the quantity and quality of films. The festival welcomed a number of Texas-related films this weekend, capturing the attention of filmmakers who are searching for communities that celebrate the art of film making.

Although the Interurban Film Festival may be young and just moved to a new location in downtown Denison, organizers say the festival is growing in the quantity and quality of films. The festival welcomed a number of Texas-related films this weekend, capturing the attention of filmmakers who are searching for communities that celebrate the art of film making.


With two venues in operation, the Interurban Film Festival was able to increase the number of accepted films and add a few more genres to its list this year. Between the Rialto Theater and Mary Karam Gallery, the festival featured 55 films and movie productions, ranging from two minutes to two hours.


One of the new additions to the festival was a trailer genre for filmmakers wanting to showcase their upcoming films for interest or funding. With the additional venue, the festival was able to show family-friendly films at the same time other films were being shown at a separate venue. The festival also saw an increase in documentary submissions.


"I hope people know about the great films because that’s what we’re all about," Sean Vanderveer, founder of the Interurban Film Festival, said. "From the get go, we weren’t about spending big bucks to get big names in. We wanted the festival to be about the filmmakers and their films so they know they will be recognized for its quality."


Filmmaker Ted Fisher submitted his six-minute documentary "The Texas Sun." Because his love for film making has taken him and his family around the country, he said the sun was noticeably different in Texas and thought it would be interesting to see what others thought about the fiery ball in the sky.


"When we came to Texas, we noticed that the sun itself was a little different than we were used to living in other states and that we had a different relationship with it. We would walk and it was more intense in some places so we started thinking of it as a person," Fisher said. "The documentary has a lot of people talking about their relationship with the Texas sun as if it’s a friend or maybe more than a friend and their loves and hates about the sun."


The documentary featured individuals describing how they’ve come from other places and how they learned to live with the Texas sun. They were also asked to bring objects that mean something to them in order to make a sun print, which uses a paper that undergoes a chemical change when exposed to sunlight.


"Documentaries have that great advantage because people decide if they relate to it or not," Fisher said. "It’s always almost something that people can connect to and everybody has the experience of going outside and being overwhelmed by the sun or very happy to be outside on a bright, hot day."


As for being a viewer, Fisher said he and his wife came in Friday to catch the first block of films at the Rialto. Despite them being mostly fiction, he said they were much more enjoyable compared to the typical Friday night movies from Netflix or Amazon Prime because you can’t find the festival films anywhere else.


"When we got here, we liked that local atmosphere where they were interested in what the filmmakers wanted to do and they wanted to take their community and tie it to the arts festival," Fisher said. "I noticed there’s so many interesting Texas films. We’re having a boom everywhere and when I first got to Texas, only a few people made documentaries. Today, everybody has more tools and more of an interest in making those kinds of films."


In the future, Vanderveer said he would like the festival to have a greater economic impact on the Texoma region, attracting 5,000-10,000 visitors. It may take some time but he said he would like to create a smaller version of Austin’s South by Southwest to "showcase great films, music, people in a fun environment."


"Film festivals are very alive," Fisher said. "They are something that a community really needs and that is often enriching experiences that you need and you don’t realize until you walk out of the theater. It’s nice to be involved and I would like to come back next year with something feature length and have the same people come out."