Travel Adventure Documentary Magazine
Travel Adventure Documentary magazine
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40th Film Festival Held in Grand Rapids

Stan Walsh Posted by Stan Walsh in Blogs July 16th, 2012

 40th Film Festival Held in Grand Rapids

 
An unprecedented one-day Springtime Film Festival was convened at Grand Rapids, Michigan, in June—the 40th annual session of the Travel Adventure Cinema industry.
 
With TRACS Board backing, the test-case Film Preview turned out to a lively session introduced by TRACS President Jim Holmgren. It was a eye-opening full day of viewing. 
 
Thirty-six film clips from 21 filmmakers were seen by Presenters (Exhibitors) representing nine series venues.  Most preview entries were mail-in DVDs from filmmakers in absentia.  However, five intrepid Producers braved the economic headwinds and were on hand to personally introduce their preview clips. 
 
A digital laptop control center and ceiling mounted video projector were powered-up and we settled-in for a full day of worldwide adventuring.  It was no easy job juggling 29 DVD discs while keying computer commands to fill a king-size screen. But the multi-tasking talents of Executive Secretary Kathie Veach, kept the show on-target at a lively informal pace.
 
The first Film Previews or Film Festival was held in Palm Springs, California.  Its purpose, stated then and still relevant, was to combine an industry annual Convention with Film Previews, thus offering filmmakers exposure, and fostering improved professional cooperation and communication. 
 
An umbrella organization, IntraFilm was formed.  This eventually evolved into TRACS.
 
From the very beginning this gathering was recognized as a marketing extravaganza; a golden opportunity to book future shows on the spot.
 
As is the way of the world, change occurs.  Gradually over the past decade attendance at the Convention and Previews has faded.  Marketing opportunities vanished.  Exhibiting and booking was no longer cost effective.  With no other discernible benefits from TRACS membership dropped. 
 
Something had to be done. The gathering at Calvin College was a rousing success.  Not in numbers, but in revealing realities.  It is clear the desire to produce, preview and exhibit Travel Adventure films runs deep.  Equally, Film Series across the nation are worthy events that can be successfully sustained using enlightened promotional methods.
 
Attendee confidence soared.
 
Another reality was also confirmed.  The annual TRACS gathering, as staged in the past, is no longer a viable marketing event.  We have noticed this for some time.  The organization, if it wishes to survive, must now switch gears.  Its marketing role is over.
 
As an industry association it should plan to play a new supporting role.  Defining that role will depend on suggestions from everyone dedicated to documentary filming and specifically from players in the Travel Adventure world. 
 
To start change-over thinking the Board might consider the following:
 
Officially designate and identify the Travel Adventure Documentary website, TAD, as the official organ of the industry with no strings attached.  It would be the conduit for worldwide publicity and create an exciting new image for the industry.  TRACS would only support TAD.
 
Other scenarios and ideas for service should be solicited, now.  In September, when Pieter Kool of the West Rotary Club. Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, assumes the TRACS President chair he should be able to announce new service initiatives supporting the Travel Adventure profession.
 
Let us not forget the Social Side of the Travel Adventure family.  During our Calvin College deliberations there were moments of unabashed jolly camaraderie.  We remembered past events and great personalities.  The Travel Adventure profession has always been fun.  It is our legacy.  Who can predict when future gatherings will happen?  But when they do happen we will have fun remembering. 
 
That’s something to muse over.
 
                                                      I I I I I
  
 
 
 
 
 

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