Fans of the silver screen and talking pictures, dim the lights and pass the hot, buttered popcorn!
The 15th annual International Windsong Film Festival will take place Saturday and Sunday at IPFW.
“Our major new film is 'Street Symphony,'” said Michael Floyd, executive producer of Windsong Pictures and a longtime local educator.
“This feature-length, original motion picture clearly demonstrates the impact of poverty on children during their formative years and how the arts can be a significant redeeming factor in their lives,” Floyd said. “The cast is culturally and internationally diversified, and the screenplay combines several artistic forms of expression, including writing, acting, dancing, artistic designing, musical composition, cinematography, photography, post-production editing and more.
“The film also reflects many of the challenges that a good number of Windsong Pictures students have faced in their own lives, including abuse, violence, racial profiling, dysfunctional family structures and poverty,” Floyd said.
“Street Symphony” features dancers competing for a National Dance Championship and highlights the diverse underdog Street Symphony Dance Team, which struggles to overcome difficult odds to make it to the National Dance Championship final round.
“The girls, with the help of their new coach, the famous African-American dancer Alvin Ailey, work hard learning their dances,” Floyd said. “Alvin introduces them to Jane, a dance historian, who shares inspiring stories from other famous women dancers, who overcame seemingly insurmountable odds to be very successful, including Maria Tallchief, Janet Collins, Alicia Alanzo and Josephine Baker.
“The Street Symphony dancers face an uphill battle against accomplished dancers, and especially the highly favored elite team, Chicago Rocks, that has all the advantages economically with superior training and support,” Floyd said.
“The Street Symphony team's three-phase dance choreography is intrinsically different from any of the competitors on the stages where they will perform,” he continued. “The students choreographed their dance. Making the most of their diversified cultural presence, they dance in indigenous costumes.
“Nkiruka begins with a 30-second West African dance, followed by Yuri with a Burmese dance, followed by Stella and Nina with an eclectic American dance, followed by Indyra with an East Indian dance and, finally, Elena, Mirabel and Alemar perform a Mexican dance,” Floyd said.
“The Street Symphony team is totally devastated when an unexpected tragedy strikes. One of the dancers, Alemar, was in the wrong place at the wrong time and was fatally wounded by a stray bullet in a drive-by shooting,” he said. “Added to their challenges, a competitor sympathizer destroys some of their costumes and injures Yuri just before the final performance.”
The festival will also feature some short films, including “Magic Books,” which is a trilogy of brief films about children and their explorations in “Alice's Wonderland,” “Snow White” and “Narnia,” where each story has an evil queen.
“When children visit a library at the University of Saint Francis, they are drawn to a special display of books that are packaged in paper bags,” Floyd said. “It is a special program orchestrated by Miss Peabody, the head librarian. The children pick up a mystery bag and proceed to the library check out.
“When they return to their homes, open the bag and begin to read the books, they are magically transported back in time,” he said. “The shorts have a combined cast of 160 children and 60 adults and a production crew of 40, and these 90-minute film shorts offer a refreshing original approach to the classics.”
Two more shorts being shown are “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” and “Pirates in Paradise.”
Windsong Pictures is a non-profit educational motion picture company with a mission “To reach out, touch others and make a difference.” The IPFW Film Festival Club is co-sponsoring this weekend's film festival.