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Actor Brad Maule is emcee for the 2021 Nacogdoches Film Festival. Maule is a professor at Stephen F, Austin State University in Nacogdoches and played Dr. Tony Jones on General Hospital from 1984 to 2006.

Spooky movies, fall foliage and high school football define the typical October in the Piney Woods. This year the month shares the spotlight with a few creative minds in Nacogdoches who are competing for a little fame in the world of filmmaking.

The 2021 Nacogdoches Film Festival is back for its 10th year after Covid-19 canceled it entirely in 2020. As with so many other events, it does come with some noteworthy changes. The typical three-day festival has been condensed to just one evening of film workshops and competition. But this year no tickets are necessary. The night is free to attend.

The fun kicks off at 7 p.m., Saturday, October 23. As in years past, the historic Fredonia Hotel and Conference Center on 200 North Fredonia Street is hosting the occasion. Emceeing the event is actor, musician, and filmmaker Brad Maule. Maule is also a faculty member at Stephen F. Austin State University.

Competition categories are also condensed. Short film categories for high school students and for all filmmakers are the two options for contestants this year. The top five films from both categories will be selected by judges before they are shown at the festival, but an audience vote makes a final call on the best films. Winners walk away with a $100 gift certificate for the Fredonia Hotel and a plaque to commemorate the occasion.

Filmmakers can submit their work through the platform “FilmFreeway.com.” Submissions are open through October 1. Entry fees are $10 per film. Short films can run a maximum of 10 minutes and can be a narrative, animation, or documentary.

The Fredonia Hotel is reserving rooms for those attending for a discounted rate. Attendees should contact the hotel and ask for the Nacogdoches Film Festival room block before October 1.

The Nacogdoches Film Festival is a 501 (c)3 nonprofit group focused on supporting Stephen F. Austin State University students in their film-making goals. Money raised at the festival goes toward scholarships. The group also works closely with the university to promote its Summer Feature Film project.

Ron Johnson, Chair of the Nacogdoches Art Alliance, emphasized the importance of keeping the brand alive, after cancelling the festival in 2020. He says the outreach it does for young people is crucial to growing the industry, adding that around 90 percent of film students who graduate the SFA film program get a job in the field of filmmaking.

Creativity through communication is one of the most important tools a person can learn in a lifetime. The Nacogdoches Film Festival strives to foster this through the moving picture, in a fun but challenging avenue. So, if Nightmare on Elm Street or pumpkin carving is not hitting the spot this year, an evening of homegrown creativity might be a perfect opportunity for an autumn excursion.

For more information visit online at www.nacogdochesfilmfestival.com.

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