The Naperville Independent Film Festival starts its fourth successful year Sept. 17-24, screening 79 features, documentaries, shorts and music videos at two venues in the western suburb.
Festival founder and executive director Edmond Coisson says 4,000 guests are expected this year for the weeklong event.
As part of the opening ceremonies, the festival will honor U.S. servicemen by screening the documentary, The Triangle of Death, directed by Marine Sgt. Folleh Tamba, a Chicago native, who returns to Iraq duty in December.
Also screening opening night is the 12-minute doc Memorial Day 2011, produced by Our Path Productions and directed by Coisson and edited by Lou Ruiz, a Naperville filmmaker.
Special guests scheduled to attend the Closing Night Awards are Dan Aykroyd (Ghost Busters), Hinsdale native and horror star Robert Z’Dar (The Night Stalker) and TV and film and Larry Thomas (Arrested Development).
Among the 79 hours of films are several by local filmmakers. They include six documentaries: Chasing Hollywood, by Bartolomeo Tumbarello; Behind the Ribfest, by Stuart Meyer; On the Edge, by Laura Vezquez; bigTIME, by Kara Kurcz; Special O’Laughics, by Ken Son and The Triangle of Death.
Awards will be presented to 10 winners for best feature, short, director, screenplay, actor, actress, animation, documentary, music video and student produced film. A dozen docs in all will be showcased.
Coisson says he and the festival jurors agree that film quality in all entry levels have improved since the festival bowed in 2007. “I believe that with access to the HD and the DSLR technology and the inexpensive camcorders many filmmakers are venturing out and creating fantastic work.”
NIFF received 125 entries this year from 13 countries and a dozen U.S. cities.
Screening venues are the Classic Cinemas Ogden 6 Theatres and Wentz Concert Hall Madden Theatre. Opening Night party takes place at Center Stage Theatre and features a performance by international rock band AVM. Tickets are $15.
Tickets prices range from $5 for the bigTime premiere, including live entertainment, food and drinks, to $50 for the gala Awards Ceremony Dinner at Hollywood Palms.
This year’s festival sponsors are the City of Naperville, County Inn and Suites Naperville, Classic Cinemas, Center Stage Theatre, Hollywood Palms, Naperville Magazine, Jilly’s Too, Arthur Ray Foundation, Anderson’s Bookshops, Our Path Productions, Iroquois Club, Sprocket Websites, Players Choice and Songwerks.