If you like watching movies with popcorn in hand and an ice-cold drink, there is a lot to enjoy at the Hobnobben Film Festival this weekend.
Cinema Center will host the fourth annual festival downtown, which attracts films and filmmakers from around the globe. Narrative features, documentaries and short films (including children's shorts) will be screened in the main theater and the Spectator Lounge.
The festival begins at 5:30 p.m. today with the opening night reception, followed by the awards ceremony at 7. A mix of international, regional, student and locally produced films fill the schedule through Sunday.
“This year's festival features 77 films from 12 different countries, selected from among 175 selections and other film sources,” Hobnobben co-chair Christi Hille says. “Twenty-two of the chosen films have a Hoosier connection and nearly one-third are from women filmmakers. Many of the films will include panel discussions after the showings. Sixty-two of the films are eligible for awards.”
The awards will be given to the best films in the feature, documentary, short, student and Hoosier categories. This year's jury is filmmaker Sam Doughty, podcast host Sonya Flores, scholar Lachlan Whalen, radio host Julia Meek and cinematographer Montha Thatch.
Past Hobnobben fans may wonder why this year's event is taking place in the fall instead of in early or mid-June, as it has before. Hille says the reason is simple: Organizers thought they would get more attendees now when schools and colleges are in session than in the late spring when people might be out of town traveling.
“With an October festival we don't have to compete with vacations and can have access to student filmmakers,” she says. “We also don't have to compete with other Fort Wayne-specific festivals.”
The opening night film, “Before You Know It,” will begin at 8:30 p.m. in Cinema Center's main theater. Starring Judith Light, Alec Baldwin, Mandy Patinkin, Jen Tullock and Hannah Pearl Utt, this female-directed comedy follows two sisters of a dysfunctional family who discover that the mother they thought was dead is actually alive and starring in a soap opera.
The festival closes Sunday with a panel discussion following the film “Last Call,” about a life-changing phone conversation based on a misdialed number.
Other films that will be featured include “The Reunion,” “Sparky & Butch,” “Burying Mitchell,” “Grounded,” “Life*Love*Dogs” and “Burqa Standards.” A complete schedule of films is available at Hobnobben.org.
This year, as a gift to the community, ticket prices have been reduced, Hille says. An all-access three-day pass is $45, and adult single-screening tickets are $10. Student, senior and children's tickets are $5, which is less than Cinema Center's regular general admission prices.
“Hobnobben is a community celebration and a celebration of our film community,” says Art Herbig, Cinema Center interim executive director. “It's our hope that people will come to Cinema Center, enjoy the festival and feel as if they are part of our conversation.”
The festival this year includes a new way of programming short films.
“In the past, short films were grouped into viewing blocks according to their awards category, such as student, Indiana or traditional shorts,” Hille says. “This year, we've grouped films according to theme as a way to enhance the attendee experience.”
If you go
What: Hobnobben Film Festival
When: Events and screenings begin at 5:30 p.m. today and 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday; full schedule at Hobnobben.org
Where: Cinema Center, 437 E. Berry St.
Admission: $45 for three-day pass; single-screening tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students, seniors and children; Cinema Center box office, 426-3456 and Hobnobben.org