OIL VALLEY FILM FESTIVAL LAUNCHES IN 2016
(OIL CITY, PA) The first Oil Valley Film Festival will take place September 1-3, 2016. Based in Oil City, the festival is designed to bring the voices and films of new and established filmmakers to the heart of Venango County, an area underrepresented in the world of film.
The festival programming will include feature and short films in competition, along with feature-length and short screenplays in competition. Day three will feature a hand-picked block of curated filmmaker to screen in exhibition, all leading up to the awards ceremony on Saturday night.
“We’ve already received submissions in each category from all over the United States, and a few Internationally, and the festival is still a year away,” said Matt Croyle, the festival’s director. “As a filmmaker myself, not only do I want to continue to make movies here, but this festival seems like a way I can use my passion to share films with the community – films they may normally never get to see in a multiplex. This is about starting something that the community can really get involved in and get excited about.”
The festival is currently in search for partnering venues, and has already partnered with Videomaker Magazine, MaddyG TV on ROKU, and the Oil City Library.
“The Oil City Library is a gem. We’re really happy to have them on board. Dan Flaherty and his staff are doing great things with that facility, and I couldn’t be more proud to have them be a part of the festival,” Croyle continued.
More information about submissions, corporate sponsorship, and general inquiries can be found at: http://oilvalleyfilmfestival.weebly.com
OCHS grad ready to produce his first feature film
By JEREMY JOHNSON Staff writer
Fresh from an awards ceremony in Los Angeles, Oil City High School and Clarion University graduate Matt Croyle is gearing up for filming and producing his first feature-length film, “Potential Inertia,” to be shot on location this summer in Venango County.
Croyle returned earlier this month from the Los Angeles Web Series Festival, where his Web series “Monster” won an award for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in a Comedy, Sketch Comedy, Translated or Mockumentary series.
“Monster” (available for viewing at http://www.monster.onefishfilms.com/) is what Croyle considers to be standard movie fare — a semi-autobiographical story about growth and empowerment following a loss (or, in this case, a break-up). The series is described as a pseudo-fictional, documentary-style, Web series focusing on a man and his attempt to explore the monster in himself and those around him.
“It sounds cliche, but we write what we know,” Croyle said of his award-winning series. “In a nutshell, it’s about this guy who’s getting ready to make a feature movie … and he has a camera crew come in for pre-production. But instead of using them for what they’re there for, he instead uses the opportunity to say things to his ex that he should have said to her a long time before.”
Croyle said loss and separation — as it is for many writers — is an underlying theme in much of his work. “I am fascinated by loss because that’s the one thing I feel is truly universal to every person … on the planet,” he said. “We ultimately leave this world by ourselves, alone, and it’s that understanding that forces me to examine why we have a tendency to clash, to drive each other away, to abandon and forget, to fight with each other.” In that way, Croyle said he’s not just a filmmaker, but a documentarian of the human condition. “I write about (loss) to understand how I deal with it myself, and how others ultimately do so, as well,” he said. “I think we’re recording a sociological fingerprinting of the human condition at his moment in our history. And the more we understand ourselves, the closer and better we can be as a species.
“’Monster’ tries to stay true to that human condition we all share,” he added. “I think that by giving an audience member something that he or she can relate to, can gravitate toward, then you’re building a future audience in the process.”
But aside from storyline, Croyle said “Monster” is an important example of how movie-making — and for that matter, movie viewing — is changing in light of increased technological developments. “’Monster’ was a way to explore the realm of new media,” Croyle said. “The Internet has changed everything, and it’s still evolving. New entertainment forms, such as the Web series, have been birthed from its evolution, and ‘Monster’ was a way to experiment with that medium.”
Momentum rolled into “Inertia”
“Monster” is just another step in the progression from novice filmmaker to feature film director for Croyle, who just last year saw his one-act play, “Jerry’s Pub,” selected for the first-ever Canton One-Acts Festival in Michigan.
Croyle’s past filmmaking experiences will culminate this summer when he begins shooting his first feature-length film, “Potential Inertia,” a One Fish Films production. “(The movie) has been a project in the works for quite some time,” Croyle said. “It’s something I’ve always planned to do. It’s a personal story to me that I think everyone can gravitate to, that everyone will understand.”
Croyle said pre-production and casting is finished for “Potential Inertia,” and he expects filming to begin “in the next couple of months.” He said the film will feature a soundtrack furnished entirely by local musicians.
“We’ve assembled a great cast consisting of actors from the area, including Pittsburgh and Erie,” he said. “We’re aiming for the festival circuit. We want the movie to make the rounds.”
Croyle calls the film a “grassroots” effort, and said he is still trying to drum up funds for production costs. Anyone interested in learning more about the movie or how to contribute can visit http://www.potentialinertia.onefishfilms.com/ for more information.
History of a filmmaker
While Croyle has always had a keen interest in movies (he was inspired early on by the works of directors like George Lucas and Stephen Spielberg), it wasn’t until Croyle reached college at Clarion University that he started seeing filmmaking as a career opportunity.
“In high school, I had access to my parents’ VHS camcorder and my friends and I would shoot little skits and things like that just for fun,” Croyle said. “I think we just liked capturing images, or at least seeing ourselves on TV. “But it wasn’t until college that I really began to take an interest in filmmaking,” he added. “(Clarion University’s) English department offered a screenwriting course, a movie genre course, a movie studies course — things of that nature. In taking those courses, that was the first time I’d ever actually shot and edited anything semi-cohesive.”
Since his early days of filmmaking, Croyle said he has grown as a director from his experience working — mostly as an actor — with stars such as Ryan Reynolds, Jake Gyllenhaal and Seth Rogan and directors like Greg Mottola, Kevin Smith and Academy Award winner Edward Zwick. But what inspires Croyle most, he said, are the endless possibilities for telling a story that only film can provide. And as technological advances continue, so, too, does the medium of filmmaking expand, he said.
“With the rise of digital technology, the limits of what can be done on a movie screen are dissolving away,” Croyle said. “That’s extremely exciting to me because that doesn’t confine me as a writer at all, and telling stories that connect us is what I truly love to do. “It’s important to have something to say, and more important to share it,” he added.
Copyright (C) The Derrick. 2012.
(Los Angeles, CA) Matt Croyle’s web series, “Monster”, was awarded Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in a Comedy, Sketch Comedy, Translated, or Mockumentary Series at the 2012 Los Angeles Web Series Festival held earlier this month at the Radisson at LAX.
“Monster” screened twice during the festival, and Croyle also participated in a panel on Saturday entitled: “How We Made Our Webs Series Outside Of Hollywood”.