Programmer Profile: Sean Doherty, Estes Park Film Festival

Sean Doherty My name: Sean Doherty

My current festival: Estes Park Film Festival

My title: Executive Director

Other fests I've worked for: Central Nebraska Film Festival (2005), Florida Film Festival (1999-2001)

Movies that best represent my personal tastes: Sunset Boulevard, The Searchers, Goodfellas, The Graduate, Midnight Cowboy, and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

When I'm not watching movies I like to: I like to make movies too! I work for a production company here in Estes Park, CO that makes travel documentaries for PBS. I'm also a long distance runner (just completed my second marathon with a third one coming up this October).

A movie I recently programmed that I consider to be a great personal discovery: I would say it was the winner of our feature film award last year. It was a British film from Paul Cotter called Bomber. It made me laugh and it made me cry. Everything that I love about movies was in this film! We were also so happy to have Paul here to answer questions about the film when it was done screening.

When filmmakers ask me "What's different about your film festival?" I say: The biggest thing that sets us apart is the theatre our festival takes place in. The Park Theatre is the oldest continually operating movie theatre west of the Missiissppi. It opened 1913, and when filmmakers come to our festival they are just in awe of the old relics still in the theatre. The fact that the festival benefits the theatre's renovation is a huge plus as well! The other thing that's different is the personnel attention the filmmakers receive at our festival. Since we're a smaller festival, we tend to treat each filmmaker as part of our family as opposed to just a name attached to a film title. Because of this, we've had filmmakers return to our festival year after year regardless of whether they have a film in the program or not.

Our festival audience has come to expect: Great films with engaging characters and storylines.

We program the following categories of films: narrative features, short films in all genres, student films, and documentaries.

A recent trend I have noticed in submissions of which I approve: The overall quality in terms of acting and story has definitely gotten better with each passing year. Our audience here always gives each of the films very high marks which of course makes the audience award very competitive! The only thing I disapprove of is the growing obsession from some filmmakers over the latest and greatest filmmaking gear while paying less attention to the most important component, the story.

If I could impart one thing to filmmakers about submitting to my festival, it would be: Submit early and don't be afraid to ask us questions about our festival. Visit our website to read about and see pictures from our previous four film festivals so that you can get an idea of what a great time you will have here!

The submissions period for our next festival is: December 15 - June 1

Filmmakers can contact me here: Sean Doherty, , 970-231-2580


Twitter: @epfilmfest

Last words: Hope to see you at 7522 feet in beautiful Estes Park, Colorado!