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Roswell Film Festival

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Submitted Photo Behind the scenes photo of Maggie (played by Sue Schaffel) as she brainstorms her new self-help book, "I Like Me." Photo location is on set in Hagerstown, Maryland.

Filmmakers compete for the Rossy Award

By Christina Stock

Vision Editor

The annual Roswell Film Festival takes place from April 24 to 27 at Allen Theatres — Galaxy 8 at the Roswell Mall. Feature films and short films from the U.S. and around the world compete for the 2019 Rossy Awards that will be announced on April 27 at 7 p.m.

The festival kicks off on Wednesday at 7 p.m. with the world premiere of the feature film, “Ride Til We Die,” by local filmmaker, Kate Davis. The film was made in Roswell and Southeast New Mexico, utilizing local talent, such.

Another movie that stands out in quality is the feature film “I Like Me,” a comedy about two sisters — one who believes in self improvement, the other an egocentric free spirit who hits rock bottom and finds unexpected success as a self-empowerment guru after publishing a self-help book, which annoys her sister.

The film has already won several awards in 2018 at festivals such as Sunny Side Up Film Festival, Hoboken International Film Festival, and Lo To No Film Festival. It will be showing at the Roswell Film Festival on Thursday at 7 p.m.

Actor and co-executive producer Anna Fagan, director of photography Victor Fink and writer and director Joshua Land will be in Roswell for the showing of “I Like Me.” They talked about their film in a phone interview.

Asked why they chose Roswell to compete, Fink said, “We actually were in Roswell and sent in a film before and we loved it. The festival director (Donovan Fulkerson) was the most welcoming and supportive we have ever met. We decided we needed to get back to Roswell. The other lead actress, Sue Schaffel, she is going to be at the festival, as well.”

The film is very much making fun of self-help books and the older sister’s sudden success. “We wanted to satire the idea about getting something from nothing,” Land said. “The idea of doing shortcuts.”

Award-winning actor Fagan is a first-time producer with a strong background in theater. Asked how she became an actor and for this film, a producer, she said, “I started acting as a child. It was a hobby then, I always loved performing. I minored in theater in college (University of Rochester, New York) and studied acting in Washington D.C. (The Honors Acting Conservatory) at The Theater Lab Conservatory. I was living in D.C. and was auditioning for Josh and Victor on a feature film we worked on a couple years ago, called ‘Lotus Eyes.’ That blossomed into a great friendship in addition to a great working relationship, and the following summer they asked me to lead. It was my first time producing because I found I had so much faith in them as a team and loved the script, and I knew they were doing great work and I wanted to put my support in.”

Fink and Land know each other from college. “The two of us started doing programs outside of class,” Fink said. “Actually, I grew up in northern Massachusetts. I moved to Baltimore for college and been here ever since. Early on I used to play with cameras and make films — I transitioned to narrative films in college and started working with Josh, and we have done several features since.”

Asked how Fink sees the modern media including streaming services for films that are coming up, he said, “You used to have to get into one of the top film festivals like in Cannes and find a distributor to get a theatrical release. Now, it’s not really like that. I think it’s better. You have a greater opportunity to find an audience now. People want different things, and the streaming services cater to different audiences. I think that it’s a good thing. Eventually, it will be oversaturated, but right now, I think that people, the viewership, is really high. I think people like the choice and having more options. I think it’s only beneficial, and actors, film makers have a better chance to getting seen.”

Land agrees with Fink, “We benefit from these viewers, especially with our last film, it was on Amazon Prime for a while,” he said. “We got actually a real good viewership from it. We were not entirely sure what was going to happen when we put it up there. We didn’t do a lot of marketing and ended up getting quite a few viewers. It is a low-budget film, but we found an audience that was interested in the genre, which was a dystopian horror movie. It is cool that there is an audience out there.”

For more information, including schedule of showings, workshops, after parties and the award ceremony, visit roswellfilmfestival.com. The webpage offers festival goers to bookmark their favorite films and events and sync them to phones and/or calendars.