Brothers launch film festival in Modesto to promote their artform, provide accessThe first Tenacious Dreams Film Festival will showcase short films from around the world Saturday at downtown Modesto's Building Imagination Center.
The first set of films, "Program One," lasts 61 minutes and will be shown at noon and 4 p.m. Films are: "Ted Kaczynski Takes a Day Off," "First Week," "Seed," "The Beginning," "All I Think of is You," "Turn On A Game of Seduction," "Screenshot" and "Method."
The final set of films, "Program Two," lasts 66 minutes and will be shown at 2 and 6 p.m. Films are: "The Shop," "Fieldwork," Suspicion" and "Cinco de Mayo."
The films contain adult content, so only mature audiences are asked to attend.
The festival is the brainchild of brothersMark and Greg Runnels, filmmakers who divide their time between Modesto, the Bay Area and Los Angeles, where they do free-lance work in film and television production. They recently served as design assistants on the HGTV series "Curb Appeal." Their animated short film "Breakfast with Bukowski," with music by Tom Waits, premièred at the Sonoma International Film Festival in 2011 and won the Slamdance Social Shorties Film Festival. In May, they completed the short film "Reunion" for the PlayGround Film Festival, co-presented by Berkeley Repertory Theatre. They are now developing the feature film "Bukowski: An Animated Life," which has been optioned by Forrest Whitaker's JuntoBox Films.
Mark Runnels, 44, and Greg Runnels, 41, were raised in Newark in the East Bay and moved to Modesto in the early 1990s after their parents moved here. "In between work, we stay in Modesto because it is inexpensive, which allows us to develop and pursue our creative projects full time," Mark Runnels said.
The brothers recently talked with The Bee about their reasons for starting the festival, why people should attend and what's in store for the event in future years.
Q: Why do you want to do this film festival?
MARK: You know, what really sparked it was when MJC lost their film program and a lot of young filmmakers lost an avenue to potentially pursue their dreams of working in the movie and television business, so we wanted to create an avenue where it would bring in filmmakers from out of town to meet local filmmakers. As film fans, we felt the town could use another film festival. Having been in several film festivals, we saw what we liked and didn't like about film festivals and we said, "You know, we want to try and do this ourselves."
GREG: In celebrating films, one of the festivals we went to was Sonoma International. That really inspired us how they treated filmmakers. You can go to a place like Sundance and you're going to get lost in the mix. Everyone's out there to sell their features. If you're a short-film maker, you're just one of many. But Sonoma, they brought in the filmmakers, they housed you, they celebrate film and they celebrate short films, feature films, documentaries and that's what we hope Tenacious Dreams becomes something as big as that.
Q: Why should people who aren't filmmakers come to the festival?
MARK: Because we have 12 amazing films that if they didn't come to this festival, they would never get a chance to see them.
GREG: One of the films there, which is called "Screen Shot," Mark and I were on the jury of a film festival last year and this movie was one of the films that was up for it. We fought hard to get it in there, but we were outnumbered and it didn't make the cut, and it was really unfortunate because it's a really powerful piece that is done all on Facebook. It was the best film at that program if it would have been there and so we decided to bring it here. This is a film that is going to be a bit controversial.
MARK: We're really interested to get the reaction on all 12 films. That's what great about being a festival director. We do get around and see a lot of short films and go to lot of film festivals, so we get to pick the ones that we think are the best.
Q: Are there any Modesto filmmakers involved in this?
MARK: There are two Central Valley natives and one New Yorker who lives out here now. And one film from Ireland, one film is from India, one film is from Portland and I believe the rest are from the Bay Area and Los Angeles. So it's international.
Q: Is this definitely going to be an annual event?
GREG: We're definitely already planning for next year and we kind of know what we have to do to make it bigger. There's a (website) called Withoutabox you have to pay to get your festival on there but going through Withoutabox, we'll probably get literally 100 times the amount of submissions.
MARK: We may have to have people start helping us as our careers take off, but it's something that we really want the Modesto community to have. Next year, we plan on having seminars, so we'll bring in filmmakers from out of town to teach cinematography, writing. Greg and I plan on teaching a class about independent filmmaking the nuts and bolts from conception to distribution.
GREG: Next year, we'll probably have feature-length films, as well.
WHAT: Tenacious Dreams Film Festival
WHEN: Saturday. "Program One" (eight short films): noon and 4 p.m. "Program Two" (four short films): 2 and 6 p.m.
WHERE: Building Imagination Center, 1009 J St., Modesto
TICKETS: $8 per program or $25 for both programs plus awards ceremony; mature audiences only
ONLINE: www.brownpaper tickets.com