Westerville News & Public Opinion

Westerville film festival screening set at Gateway


When Kaya Burgin set out to launch a Westerville film festival, she thought it was going to be a relatively small undertaking.

But after receiving submissions from as far across the globe as Spain and Israel, the adult services librarian with the Westerville Public Library realized that she may have bitten off more than she could chew.

"We got submissions from all over the world," Burgin laughed. "We forgot to use a Captcha (a test to make sure humans and not computer programs are responding) on the website."

Despite the logistical issues, the library's first film festival went on as planned last season, and Burgin returned this summer with a renewed focus and a year of experience under her belt.

The event is back this year and culminates with a special screening of its films at Columbus's Gateway Film Center Aug. 17, and Burgin knows she's more prepared after her first experience.

"Last year it came together nicely, but I was kind of panicking about whether there was interest in the festival," she said.

But there was plenty of interest, and with eight submissions -- not counting the international films -- Burgin feels confident that this year's film festival will be a success as well. She said she's been pleasantly surprised with the work she's seen.

"At first, I didn't expect them to be so well put together," she said. "To see such interest in making films in Westerville is fabulous."

Submissions must fall under one of four categories: documentary, feature film, music video or book trailer. The films can be focused on any subject, but must tie into books in some way. Even with the guidelines, Burgin said there has been plenty of variety.

"They have been all different styles and themes," she said. "We had a music video about Cinderella, two films about science. They range from artsy or eclectic to science fiction."

The most notable change since last year's festival is the showcase at the Gateway.

Burgin said she anticipated the high-profile screening would be a big draw.

"That's the push," she laughed. "To get your small film on the big screen is a cool thing."

The Gateway, 1550 N. High St., Columbus, hosts the screening at 2 p.m. Aug. 17. Burgin said she's not sure whether just category winners or each of the submissions will be shown.