Peoria Film Festival opens Oct. 19

Premiere of ‘Point Defiance’ Oct. 21
By: 
CAROLYN DRYER, Editor

Photos courtesy LexiconEntertainment
Derek Phillips plays stockbroker Peter Allen under house arrest in “Point Defiance.”

Josh Crotty plays troubled brother Alex Allen in “Point Defiance,” which premieres Oct. 21 at the Peoria Film Festival at Harkins Theatres Arrowhead Fountains 18 Peoria Mayor Cathy Carlat proclaimed Oct. 14 to 21 Peoria Film Week.

Over the course of three days, 18 films will be shown at the Peoria Film  Fest, Oct. 19 to 21 at Harkins Theatres Arrowhead Fountains 18 in the P83 entertainment district, 16046 N. Arrowhead Fountains Center Drive.

The city has declared Oct. 14 to 21 Peoria Film Week.
 
Mayor Cathy Carlat, in making the proclamation, wrote in her council communication, “The city of Peoria has identified digital media production as a targeted industry in Peoria’s Economic Development Implementation Strategy. To support film production and digital media creation, the Peoria Film and Media Production Office was formed.”
 
In 2017, Huntington University opened its digital media arts campus to educate students in film production, graphic design, animation and broadcast media. Film and media production is now a core component of the career and technical education program in Peoria Unified School District.
 
Over the course of the three-day festival, 18 films will be shown. Some examples include:

• Magnolia Pictures’ Cannes Winner for Best Actor and Oscar contender, “Dogman”
• “White Tide: The Legend of Culebra,” a Cocaine Treasure Hunt Documentary from the Tribeca Film Festival
• “Number 37,” a Hitchcock-esque thriller
• Festival Premiere of “Point Defiance” starring Derek Phillips and Josh Crotty

Admission is $12 for a single ticket, $75 for a VIP pass. Opening night tickets are $40. To learn more and to purchase tickets, visit peoriafilmfest.com.

‘Point Defiance’ producer tells his own story

Film producer Mark Sayre, along with a few friends and relatives, is taking the “Point Defiance” movie premiere to Peoria Film Fest. Sayre has been sending photos and film clips for the past two or three weeks nto this newspaper, asking if he can do more to help promote “Point Defiance.”

Sayre’s company, Lexicon Entertainment, has produced six films in the last two years. Sayre and the film’s co-writer, Justin Foia, met about eight years ago, a time when Sayre had been independently producing movies for three or four years.
 
“We established a creative rapport,” Sayre said. “I was in the process of scaling down, focusing on genre features. I asked him to write a small, contained thriller, set locally (on Vashon Island, Wash.) I thought the script was clever and fun.”
 
Then it was off to the financing and getting the right cast, of which one was an actor from “Friday Night Lights,” Derek Phillips. Other actors with major roles in the film are: Josh Crotty, Lauren Elaine, Sarah Butler and Steven Swadling
 
“Point Defiance” is the story of stockbroker Peter Allen (Phillips), who, while under house arrest, has his world turned upside down after Alex (Crotty), his troubled brother, returns from military duty in Afghanistan, forcing Peter to face a forgotten past and harboring a dark secret.
 
“It’s a really great script,” Sayre said.
 
He talked about the world of films and how he sees “some really big stuff on the horizon.”
 
Sayre talked about the challenges faced with independent films and “Point Defiance” in particular.
 
“All of our talent are extremely gifted and experienced actors, so they showed up to work prepared,” Sayre said. “As a producer, and I imagine our director Justin Foia would agree as well, this gives us a lot of latitude to explore creative options while shooting, which is enormously beneficial to producing a quality end product.
 
“As far as challenges go, independent films don’t have the financial resources that studio budgets do. We can’t — and could not — solve problems by throwing money at them. If something didn’t go our way — whether it be mechanical or logistical — we had to be able to pivot without compromising what we were doing creatively.
 
Sometimes this meant rewriting scenes or dialogue minutes before we were shooting a scene. Moreover, we only had 11 days to shoot the movie. That meant we shot about eight pages of the script a day, which is almost double what most production plans to do on a daily basis. This left very little room for error and meant we had to be very prepared for each day.”
 
Sayre said “Point Defiance” will always be special because it was filmed in his childhood home where his parents  still live — Vashon, Wash.
 
He added, “This film is particularly special to me because it was the first feature director Justin Foia and I worked on together. Not only is he one of my best friends, but he has also become my business partner — we own our new production house Lexicon Entertainment together — so this film will always mark the beginning of that relationship we’ve built.”
 
Sayre calls the film a psychological thriller.
 
“A stockbroker on house arrest? So, what did he do or didn’t do?” Sayre said. “It’s related to alcohol abuse, his brother home from Afghanistan, clearly hiding something.”
 
The film focuses on the brothers’ past and as they face what is buried, the mystery comes unraveled, Sayre said. The audience is not sure what is going on until the end.
 
The film premiere is Oct. 21 at Harkins Theatres Arrowhead Fountains 18. For tickets, visit peoriafilmfest.com.

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