Festival puts spotlight on Nebraska's filmmakers

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Updated: Mon, 11 Nov 2013 08:58:24 CST

When you think of film festivals, Toronto, Sundance or even Cannes may come to mind. But this weekend, at the Grand Theatre, the spotlight was all on Nebraska

"It was amazing to see the audience reaction because it's kind of been my baby throughout 2013," said Travis Enck, director of Sandbox Memories. 

From new faces like Travis Enck, a 22 year old filmmaker, showing his short film Sandbox Memories for the first time.  To familiar faces like Jane Ryan, whose film The Boarder just came back from winning a handful of awards at festivals in California.

"It's proof that all of this work was worth it. That it's helping people," said Ryan of the film's recent awards. 

The first ever Prairie Lights Film Festival is all about celebrating Nebraska's very own filmmakers.

The three day festival featured everything from horror films to documentaries and even a tragedy-- and the genres weren't the only variety.

"This movie cost nothing at all, literally like a cheeseburger for the actor. And this movie cost $50,000," said Prairie Lights organizer Mathew Kister. 

But one thing everyone at this festival had in common? No one walked away with an award.

Not because they weren't deserving-- but because none were given.

"I just wanted this to be a showcase for everybody. You come here, it's not 'Oh my film is better than yours. It's going to win a specific category.' No, we're all just going to show up, have fun, support each other. Support films. Get our message out there to people and whatnot. No awards. We don't need them," said Kister.

Prairie Lights Film Festival wrapped up on Sunday. And as for plans for next year? Kister says if they've got the content, they'll make it happen.