“Media issues are becoming interesting to the average person because they know the media hasn’t served us well, no matter what political persuasion,” said Andrea Price, president of Public Access of Indianapolis, the organization behind the event.
The festival includes panel discussions, workshops and screenings featuring a spectrum of media experts. New York-based filmmaker George Stoney serves as keynote speaker. Local participants include writer and filmmaker Candace Denning, filmmaker and musician Derek Larson, director and producer Alfred Eaker, filmmaker Erin Moskowitz and NUVO writer Jack Miller.
Stoney, who has made over 50 documentaries, will show his film Getting Out at 3 p.m. at the Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center. This documentary trails two poets involved in an arts program while they were in prison. The film follows the men for 15 years, documenting their challenges with integrating successfully into society. During his workshop, Stoney will discuss how making a documentary affects its subjects’ lives.
Larson believes the event is important in building awareness on a local level. He’ll show a film and serve on a panel with Eaker, a director and producer. The panel will discuss breaking the rules with video instead of trying to go the traditional Hollywood route. “With so much money going into the media, which is consumer driven, there is nothing open or experimental. It is important to discuss the direction media is going,” Larson said.
Moskowitz, from Orange County, Ind., will screen her film about four rural Appalachian communities in West Virginia fighting the encroaching interstate with mixed success. She made the documentary using Powerpoint. “Since 9/11, there is an interest in films that aren’t just entertaining,” Price said. “Entertainment is good, we need to laugh. However, there is not much balance in terms of films with substance. The purpose of this event is to inspire people to act, and to support the independent and alternative people doing it themselves.”
Darryl Clark, assistant professor in the School of Communication at the University of Indianapolis, is excited about the university hosting this event. “There is a lack of diverse news sources because a handful of people own the major news outlets,” he said. “So I hope people will leave with a better understanding of ways of getting an alternative outlet.”
Pubic Access of Indianapolis, which started the Alternative Media Festival in 2002, formed as a grass-roots effort to bring public access television to the city. Indianapolis, the 12th largest city in the nation, is the only one of those without a public access station. Smaller Indiana communities — like Fort Wayne, Bloomington and Carmel — have public access channels.