Canton Film Fest

72 short films / 20 filmmakers / April 26-28

Canton Film strives to recognize and support the often-overlooked creative community of Northeast Ohio by providing educational resources, networking, and opportunities to showcase the work of independent artists and filmmakers.

Canton Film Fest is ON

The Canton Film Festival 2014 kicked off last night, and if Facebook and Twitter are any indication, it was a huge success! Don't forget that we've go a lot in store tonight, including a chat with filmmaker Erin Brown, a presentation by because I said I would. founder Alex Sheen, an anti-bullying rally with a screening of the film Bully, and a drum circle with Stomp cast member Elec Simon.

And don't forget that tomorrow's a big day, with meet & greets with Brannon Braga and Bruno Gunn, as well as many, many film shorts by independent directors! 

Tonight's events are free, so get out here and have fun! (And don't forget to get your tickets for tomorrow's events!)

Sponsor Shout-Out: The Herbert W. Hoover Foundation

Well, there only one day to go before Canton Film Festival 2014 is upon us, and I think we've got one last major sponsor to thank: The Herbert W. Hoover Foundation.

The Herbert W. Hoover Foundation began its mission of conservation by giving out its first grants in the 1990s, but its legacy goes back much further. The story starts in the late 1800s, when businessman William H Hoover moved his tannery business to Maple Street in New Berlin, now known as North Canton. As that business grew, Hoover adapted that business to meet the needs of the changing population, and began building Hoover Suction Sweepers.

Fast forward through Herbert W. Hoover Sr.'s tenure as Chairman of the Board of the Hoover Company to his son's time as Chairman. Herbert W. Hoover Jr. devoted his time not only to the Company, but to various conversationalist causes, including the establishment of Biscayne National Park in Florida to protect the environment there. He, along with the Herbert W. Hoover Foundation, have worked to prevent offshore drilling, fund scientific research on issues that may affect the environment, and create public awareness of environmental issues.

The Canton Film Fest is proud to be sponsored by the Herbert W. Hoover Foundation.

Visit Herbert W. Hoover Foundation online


Sponsor Shout-Out: Monster Energy

Only a few days before Canton Film Fest 2014 takes off! As such, we'd like to thank another of sponsors that helped get this thing moving: Monster Energy.

Monster Energy Drinks come in a variety of flavors, each packed with vitamins, minerals, and the caffeine you need to get you though your day, your night, and possibly even the next day! There are Monster products to just give you energy, and there are products to help you recover from "the night before." When you don't think the standard Monster can is enough to get you going, grab a can of Monster Extra Strength with Nitrous Technology! 

I'd be wiling to bet a few of the films at Canton Film Fest were fueled by Monster...

Visit Monster Energy's website, or go to the store and unleash the beast!

Sponsor Shout Out: Malone University

One again, the Canton Film Festival would like to take some time to thank its sponsors, without whom the Canton Film Festival could not happen. Today, we thank Malone University.

In 1957, Malone University, then known as Malone College, moved to  Canton, Ohio. Formerly a Bible college in Cleveland known as the Cleveland Bible College, the school redefined itself as a liberal arts college with a Christian focus, preparing students for all areas of life, both secular and spiritual.

In 2008, Malone College became Malone University. With a student to faculty ratio of 13:1, Malone University is dedicated to giving students the attention they deserve, the education they need, and the spiritual guidance to help them go out into the world to serve Christ.  

Visit Malone University's website to learn more.

Sponsor Shout Out: Cultured Coffee Co.

Once again, we'd like to remind everyone that the Canton Film Festival couldn't happen without our sponsors. They are what keep the festival going, and also what keeps the ticket prices so affordable! With that in mind, we'd like to take the time to thank Cultured Coffee Co. for sponsoring the Canton Film Festival!

Since December 2013, Cultured Coffee Co. has been serving up their single-origin coffee, as well as other coffee drinks to start your morning, get you through the day, or help you stay up late! The staff is friendly and knowledgeable, the atmosphere is great, and the location, at 309 Cleveland Avenue Northwest, is convenient!

Cultured Coffee open daily from 7AM to 11PM, so stop in, have a seat, grab a drink, and enjoy!

Visit Cultured Coffee Co. on the web

One Week 'Til SHOWTIME

The wait is almost over! We are 1 week away from Canton Film Fest 2014!

Here's the lineup:

Thursday, October 2
6:30 pm Doors open
7:30 pm Collecting Sgt. Dan
9:30 pm Q&A with filmmaker Matt Patron
Tickets $10 per person with $5 going to the Solid Rock Therapeutic Riding Center

Friday, October 3

3:00 pm Doors Open
3:30 pm Afternoon Chat with Erin Brown, California based Filmmaker
5:30 pm Alex Sheen, founder of Because I said I would.
6:30 pm Elec Simon Anti-Bully Rally with Drum Circle Performance
7:30 pm First Friday Family Movie Bully
Admission to Day Two is FREE

Saturday, October 4
11:30 am                         Doors Open
12:00 pm                        Category Submission Films
2:00 pm                         Contract Redemption
2:30 pm -3:30 pm         Q & A with crew of Contract Redemption
3:30 pm - 5:00 pm        Category Submission Films
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm        Episode of Cosmos
Tickets for Block 1 are $5 per person

04:30 pm – 06:30 pm Meet & Greet Brannon Braga and Bruno Gunn at Basil Asian Bistro
Tickets for the Brannon Braga and Bruno Gunn Meet & Greet are $25 per person

6:00 pm - 7:00 pm        Brannon Braga Q & A
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm        Bruno Gunn Q & A                          
8:15 pm                          The Sax Man
10:00 pm                        Category Winner Announcement
Tickets for Block 2 are $5 per person

You can get your tickets online at, or yo can call the box office at 330.454.8172 Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm.

We hope to see you there!  


Canton Film Festival Guest: Erin Brown

Something the Canton Film Festival is starting this year is something we like to call the Up-and-Comer Series. For this series, we choose a filmmaker who is gaining national recognition and have him or her speak about the journey from humble beginnings to finally "making it." 

This year, Canton Film welcomes Erin Brown as our Up-and-Coming guest. Brown has worked as a writer, editor, producer, director, actress, art director, set decorator, and many other things in her eight-year career, so she knows filmmaking inside and out. She has worked with Sarah Silverman, Eminem, Zach Galifianakis, Reggie Watts,  and many other big names, and has done work for MTV, VH1, and ABC Family.

On Friday, October 3rd, at 3:30, Brown will join us at the Palace Theater to talk about her experiences in filmmaking and show a few of her shorts. This is a wonderful opportunity for aspiring filmmakers, as well as established regional filmmakers who want to know how to expand into the national market, to learn from someone who's been there.

Join us and learn from a pro!

Follow Erin Brown on Twitter

Canton Film Festival Guest: Elec Simon

Anyone who watches the news, keeps abreast of current events, or has children knows that the problem of bullying seems to have gotten worse over the past 20 years, and its consequences have escalated as well. For many children, it can feel like no one is on their side,

Elec Simon is on their side. Using the same percussion skills he brought to the Broadway production of STOMP, he encourages kids to find their voice and how to work together to stop bullying by hosting anti-bully rallies and drum circles for at-risk youth throughout Stark County.

The Canton Film Festival. working with Canton's First Friday, is proud to have Elec Simon lead an Anti-Bullying rally and Drum circle as part of the Anti-bullying themed night. The rally begins at 6:30, and will be followed by a screening of the 2012 Documentary Bully, the award-winning film about the effects of bullying in schools across America, at 7:30 at the Palace Theater.

Please join us for Elec Simon's energetic performance, as well as for this powerful film.

Visit Elec Simon's website

Visit The Bully Broject

Canton Film 2014 Guest: Alex Sheen

In 2012, Alex Sheen had a simple idea: to encourage people to write promises they meant to keep on note cards in order to make these promises concrete. He started a Facebook page, hoping the idea would catch on and a few people might follow his lead. This idea became the because I said I would.movement, inspiring over a million promises in 105 countries.

Realizing that the movement had become an important part in changing people's lives (and, in some cases, saving them) Sheen eventually quit his job as Corporate Strategy Lead at Hyland Software in Cleveland to devote more time on because I said I would. full time, speaking about the movement, fulfilling his own promises, and inspiring others to make the world better, one note card at a time. He continues to help others find the strength that they didn't even know they had to keep true to their words and to their commitments to themselves and others.

On Friday, October 3rd, at 5:30PM, Alex Sheen will speak as a guest speaker at the Canton Film Festival 2014. It's a free event, as are all of Friday's events, so come on out and be inspired!

Follow Alex on Twitter

Like because I said I would. on Facebook

Sponsor Shout-Out: Akron Canton Airport

Since 1948, the Akron-Canton Airport has offered flights across the country. Its convenient location, in North Canton, plus the fact that it has the lowest average fare in Ohio, have brought almost 1.8 million passengers each year to their favorite destinations.  As part of the airport's CAK 2018 plan, it will be expanded to include fights to the Caribbean, Mexico, and Canada.

Canton Film is proud to have the Akron-Canton Airport as a sponsor. The Akron-Canton Airport has offered up 4 $100 vouchers for Southwest Airlines, to be given to lucky members of our audience at this year's Canton Film Festival! Watch this space for more details!

Visit the Akron-Canton Airport's website

Sponsor Shout-Out: VGKids

Canton Film continues its week of thanking its sponsors by thanking VGKids.

The story of VGKids is pretty fascinating, You can read more about them on their website but basically, in 1997, at 17 years of age, James Marks started a vegetarian grocery store in Pontiac, Michigan called, well, The Vegetarian Grocer. There, he sold food and hosted punk rock shows in the basement. The store also sold records and zines, which further aligned the store with the local music scene. 

Though the store went under, he parlayed his reputation into a successful screen printing business that, at first, catered to that music scene but eventually branched out. His screen printing studio, VGKids (named for the Vegetarian Grocer Kids), maintained their DIY ethos while growing into a full-service screen printer. This means that they handle each order as if it were a personal project, with the same care that they would if they were working with their friends back in those DIY days.

VGKids prints posters, stickers, clothing, record jackets, stationary, and many other things to suit your needs.

Canton film thanks VGKids for their sponsorship!

Visit the VGKids website

Sponsor Shout-out: Kent State University

As you may know, an event like the Canton Film Festival takes a lot of hard work to put together, and not just the work of Canton Film and the guests & filmmakers featured in the Festival. The Festival couldn't happen without its sponsors. This week, we'd like to take a little time to talk a little but about each of our sponsors (in no particular order).

One of Canton Film Festival's long-time sponsors has been Kent State University. Kent State University has been an important part of North East Ohio since 1910. Through the years, many of the artists, writers, and musicians who have shaped American culture have studied at Kent State, including Devo's Mark Mothersbaugh, actor/talk show host Arsenio Hall, writer David Sedaris, and Canton Film Festival Guest Brannon Braga. 

In 1946, Kent State opened its satellite Stark Campus, serving the needs of the greater Canton area. According to its website, this campus "offers 18 bachelor’s, four master’s, three associate degrees and several minors, as well as the opportunity to begin coursework in the more than 250 bachelor’s degrees at Kent State University." Kent State, as well as its Stark Campus, is a huge part of North East Ohio's educational landscape.

The Canton Film Festival is proud to have Kent State as a Sponsor!

Visit Kent State University's website

Visit Kent State's Stark Campus website

Canton Film Festival 2014 Guest: Bruno Gunn

The Canton Film Festival is proud to announce that Canton native Bruno Gunn will be joining us! You may have seen Gunn is such films as The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Bad Teacher, as well as his appearances in television shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Sons of Anarchy, and True Blood

Canton Film is hosting a Meet & Greet with Bruno Gunn (and Brannon Braga) at Basil Asian Bistro on Saturday, October 4th, at 4:30PM. Later, at the Festival proper, we'll be screening Bruno's latest film, After, about a secret that threatens to disrupt the lives of the Valentino family. The movie starts on Saturday, October 4th, at 7:30, and will be followed by a Q & A session with Gunn at 9:15. 

Don't miss this chance to meet with (and speak with!) one of Canton's most prolific actors!

Follow Bruno Gunn on Twitter

Canton Film Festival Guest: Jeremy Andrew Davis

If you haven't noticed, popular culture and what often gets lumped together as geek culture (You know: Comics, Video Games, Sci-Fi, etc., )have merged in ways that were almost unthinkable even 25 years ago. Sure, everyone loved Tim Burton's Batman, but it's hard to watch today without recognizing just how campy, how ironic the whole thing was. And video game movies were right out. Just look at Super Mario Brothers or Double Dragon, and you'll remember a time where comics, video games, and the like were forced to sit at the kids' table.

Of course, we take these things much more seriously now, which is why Canton Film Fest is excited to show highlights of Writer/Director/Producer Jeremy Andrew Davis' upcoming fan-film, Contract: Redemption, inspired by the Hitman series of video games.  Davis' company, Wildfire Media Studios LTD, along with Ryan Galbraith and Jacob Keeton of Arc Film Initiative, have taken great care ensure that they aren't stepping on any copyright or trademark toes, but also that they don't compromise the story. The result is an action-packed tale of, well, redemption!

Partially filmed in Canton, Contract: Redemption tells the tale of an assassin who tries to save a young woman from the same life he lived. Hot on his tail is another assassin: a younger, genetically enhanced clone of himself! We won't spoil any more of it than that. Join us on Saturday, October 4th, when Jeremy Andrew Davis, Ryan Galbraith, and Jacob Keeton will discuss how they made an epic action movie locally for under $5,000. It should be a very informative and inspirational for filmmakers and fans alike!

Follow Jeremy Andrew Davis on Twitter

Canton Film Festival 2014 Guest: Matthew D. Patron

On August 6, 2011, Sgt. Daniel James Patron, USMC, was killed while disarming an IED. His brother, Canton filmmaker Matthew D. Patron, needed to understand his brother's sacrifice and what it meant both to his family and to his brothers fellow soldiers.

The result of this search for meaning is Collecting Sgt. Dan, a documentary  three years in the making. Collecting Sgt. Dan follows the Patron family as they try to cope with the loss of Daniel, as well Sgt. Patron's fellow Marines as they remember their fallen brother-in-arms.

The Canton Film Festival is proud to present Collecting Sgt. Dan, along with guest speaker Matthew D. Patron, who will share his journey to create a fitting memorial to his brother. Patron will join us on Thursday, Oct. 2nd for the screening of his film.

Visit the film's official website


Canton Film Festival 2014 Guest: Brannon Braga

One of the great things about the Canton Film Festival is that it manages to bring in some pretty terrific guest speakers. This year, Brannon Braga will be joining us!

Brannon's had a pretty big year, both as Producer/Director of the series Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey (Starring Neil deGrasse Tyson) and as Producer/Writer of WGN's original series SalemBraga is perhaps better known, however, as one of the more prolific writers of the Star Trek series, writing episodes of The Next GenerationVoyager, and Enterprise, as well as the films Star Trek: Generations and Star Trek: First Contact.

Though Braga was born in Montana, he spent some of his youth in Canton, graduating from Canton McKinley High School before attending Kent State University. At the Festival, he'll be screening a reel of his work, followed by a discussion of his life and career, from his humble beginnings in Montana to his adventures through the final frontier! 

Brannon Braga will appear on Saturday, October 4th. More details as we get the schedule locked down!

Follow Brannon Braga on Twitter!

Looking for Inspiration?

If you're a filmmaker, you probably spend a lot of time studying the work of those who have come before you, analyzing their themes, marveling at their careful use of framing and composition, and observing what makes their visual styles unique. Besides this, you probably just love to watch movies, or you'd probably be doing something else with your time. 

The internet has made it easier and easier to track down films that, in the past, you might have had to spend hours combing libraries to find. One site that makes this even easier is Open Culture.

Open Culture is a site that collects links to educational and cultural materials in various fields. There's a lot of great stuff on the site, but of special interest to us is their links to movies. They have links to a lot of older, public domain films, (Check out Fritz Lang's M) as well as other films that have been made free online. There are a lot of short works by directors such as David Lynch, Gus Van Sant, Wes Anderson, Christopher Nolan, Guillermo del Toro, Quentin Tarantino, and others, many of which were made as these filmmakers were just discovering their styles. 

There's also a decent collection of documentaries, as well as other genre specific films, and it's all free.

Here's a link to all the films.

Here's the site's Home Page.

Attention Filmmakers

So, you've work hard, put in long hours writing, filming, and editing your short film. Now, you're masterpiece is in your hands (or on your hard drive), just waiting for an audience. Where do you go from there?

That's where we come in: Canton Film is accepting submissions for the Canton Film Festival 2014! To enter, you can click on the link to the left that says "contest," or just go here: Canton Film Submissions. The early bird deadline is September 1, 2014, so click the link, follow the instructions, and get your films to us!

Good luck!

Jim Fogarty at TEDxYoungstown

Earlier this year, local filmmaker and friend to Canton Film Jim Fogarty gave an inspiring talk about starting small and finding success by following your dreams.  It'll probably be the most inspiring 9 minutes of your day!

Fogarty was born in Warren, Ohio, where his first film, Waxing Gibbous was made. His most recent film is the documentary short A Legacy Reborn: The Rebirth of the W. D. Packard Music Hall.

Welcome to the Canton Film Fest 2014 blog!

Hello and welcome to the official Canton Film Fest 2014 blog! Watch this space for news about the Canton Film Fest, its contributors and guests, and anything else we find interesting.

You can follow us on Facebook. Make sure you also check out our Facebook group, where you can read up on events related to the Canton Film fest as well as learn about other projects by local film makers. Working on a project yourself? Let us know about it on the Facebook group page or enter it in one of the Canton Film Fest contests for a chance to have it screened at the festival!

Don't forget to check us out on Twitter, as well!