Video: My team’s film entry in the Marginal Arts Festival

In 2009, videographer Hank Ebert and I collaborated on a short film that was shown at the Grandin Theatre: “My Kid Could Paint That.”

In the years since, Hank and I have talked about working together again, but our schedules have never matched up — until now.

A few weeks ago, Hank contacted me. The annual Marginal Arts Festival in Roanoke, Va. this year included a Sweded Film Festival (a “sweded” film is a short spoof of the original; name comes from the movie “Be Kind Rewind”). Hank asked if I’d sign on to his team as a writer. I said sure.

It turns out, Sweded films don’t really need writers, but that’s another story.

The festival was the film equivalent of a 24-hour play festival (and I’ve been involved in three of those.)

There were eight teams entered. We gathered at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 18 at The Shadowbox and were given our assignment: Do a Sweded version of “Back to the Future.” Conveniently, I had already lined up actors.

The crowning touch to our version, I think, was finding an actual DeLorean. We figured we’d be stuck using matchbox cars but Blair Peyton said he remembered seeing a DeLorean in last year’s St. Patrick’s Day parade, so there must be one around. I Googled “DeLorean and Roanoke” — indeed, I found a name of a guy — then I found his number. And lo, he was home! And more than happy to bring his DeLorean out for a spin.

We were the only team that had the actual car! When the car appeared on screen for the first time at Monday night’s screening (packed house!), there were “oohs” and “aahs” and a ripple of applause around the room.

The car scenes were shot at the Greenfield Center in Botetourt County, the clock tower is from the Botetourt County Courthouse, the Libyan terrorists are circling around in The Roanoke Times parking lot, and the rest of the scenes were shot in and around actress Hannah Whitt’s house in Salem. (Roanoke is a small place; two of other entries both shot scenes at Pop’s Ice Cream shop, and at least three of the entries were shot in the Grandin Village neighborhood.)

You can see some of the other entries in this post on arts writer Mike Allen’s Arts & Extras blog.

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