Film lighting

Film conference debuts with stellar group of industry pros

The Georgetown Film Conference, slated for October 7th at Southwestern University, promises professional insights into finding and creating work in film, television, and gaming. The day-long event offers two morning panel discussions, a keynote speaker, afternoon breakout sessions, and a pitch competition. “We’re aiming it at people considering a career in the moving image industry,” conference organizer Cindy Weigand says.

Cindy modeled the conference after the Austin Film Festival, although there are no plans to screen films at this time. “We are solely a conference now, but certainly we have room for growth,” she says. “It takes a lot to put on a festival, and we have two world-class festivals just 30 miles south”—South by Southwest and the Austin Film Festival.

In 2015, the Central Texas Film Conference drew more than 130 people to Southwestern University.

Following the positive reception, organizers decided to form a nonprofit organization and rebrand under the name Georgetown Film Conference. This year, the first panel features Georgetown’s own Chet Garner, creator and host of the award-winning PBS television series The Daytripper. He and his crew will discuss their experiences traversing the Lone Star state.

Tim T. Cunningham and Christina Martell with Austin-based animation and visual effects studio Mighty Coconut talk animation and computer-generated imagery with Moontower VFX co-owner Ray Pena during the second panel discussion.

Keynote speaker Nick Krause, a Georgetown native who portrayed the laid-back surfer Sid in the 2011 Oscar-winning film The Descendants, starring George Clooney, shares his journey from Central Texas to Hollywood. Nick, who now lives in Los Angeles, also played Charlie in Richard Linklater’s critically-acclaimed 2014 film Boyhood.

Attendees can choose from four topics for the afternoon breakout sessions:

  • Learn about set etiquette from local casting agent and Sun City resident Donise Hardy, a longtime member of the Casting Society of America.
  • Hear Francis Roman, Film Content Administrator at SXSW, discuss finding work, or learn more about creating your own from Erik H. Bernard, chief executive officer of Have Not Films.
  • Listen as a Texas Motion Picture Alliance representative discusses the state’s film incentives program and its importance not only to filmmakers but local economies.

Cindy Weigand

In addition to listening and learning from panelists, 20 competitors will have a 90-second opportunity to pitch their movie ideas to Nicholle Walton Durban with Edgen Films. Four finalists will move on to the pitch finale at the conference after party, set from 5 to 7 p.m. at a yet-to-be-named location.

Cindy advocated for the film industry during the 85th Texas Legislative Session as state lawmakers considered whether to continue funding the Texas Moving Image Industry Incentive program, which encourages filmmakers to film at Texas locales. “I think the industry is a little bit misunderstood,” Cindy says. “It’s a lot more than just entertainment. It’s an industry that employs people.”

Visit for the full schedule and registration information. “Like” Georgetown Film Conference on Facebook.

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