The Boonies International Film Festival is making a comeback.
Joey Roy, Boonies International board secretary/treasurer, brought Warren City Council up to speed on planning for the event and petitioned for its approval this week. He said funding for an event to be held this year was unavailable but noted that funding has been procured to hold the festival in 2013.
The event request submitted to the city indicated that the festival is slated to be held from Wednesday, Aug. 14 through Saturday, Aug. 17, 2013.
Roy said the event will be "very similar to what we did in 2011." He added that the organizers are looking to have a "vendor's row" which will provide for networking opportunities within the film industry as well as a variety of art vendors and also possibly having a DJ or band during one of the nights of the event.
Councilman John Lewis asked whether they have procured a liquor license and Roy replied, "That's still under discussion."
He pointed out that Boonies is "expecting" 501(c)(3) federal non-profit tax status to be approved in the coming months. City Manager Nancy Freenock clarified that council is only being asked to reserve the dates at this point, not approve the event.
But discussion of the event continued.
Boonies "will abide by whatever rules necessary," Roy said. He explained that they are trying to "stay away from" normal food vendors and include "more art and things that are not found in the local stores. The idea here is that the people who attend will patronize the local businesses."
Councilman Sam Harvey asked if the group was asking for Liberty Street between Second and Third avenues to be closed entirely throughout the event. "That is what we are asking," Roy said.
Freenock asked why the group is looking to hold the festival downtown as opposed to one of the city's parks. The "filmmakers commented on how they liked the set-up," Roy said of holding the event downtown, adding that they are trying to "intermix this with the local businesses."
Freenock then asked, "What about where the convention center is going to be?"
"That's one potential location," Roy said. "We just had a lot of venues along Liberty Street."
Council members expressed a desire to hear what the businesses along the designated section of Liberty Street think about having the street closed for several days.
Indicating that he had spoke to the business owners in the area when organizing an event earlier this year, Main Street President Dan Ristau said that he would need "more information. You need to sell this kind of thing. What they're trying to do is quite incredible, but it would take some time to plan it out and sell it to the business owners."
Roy said the organization is "receiving films and interacting with filmmakers," but noted that formal efforts to advertise won't commence until early next year.
Harvey proposed that the event request be tabled until next month out of a desire to have "the businesses on Liberty Street to chime in."
A separate motion was unanimously approved to reserve the dates for the event. That motion granted council the power to void the dates if the plans for the event don't come to fruition.