“It’s totally original, unexpected, and a raw expression of indie with an edge through and through. Imagine what it would be like if Sundance and Woodstock had a baby and its godparents were Alfred Hitchcock and Scooby Doo. That is the Jerome Indie Film & Music Festival.” ~organizer Toni Ross
Something magical happened last year in the hippie town of Jerome. Amid a century of spooky stories, fabled ruins, and downright gorgeous views, filmmakers and musicians of every ilk came together. They laughed, shared, told stories, made new friends, and exhibited their hard-fought work. And just like that, the Jerome Indie Film & Music Festival was born.
But what premiered as an endearing expo of film had its start the hard-scrabble way. A spark, a wish, and lots of prayers might have formed the dream for festival organizer Toni Ross, but it was her sweat and tears, plus those of two dozen volunteers, which finally brought that dream forward.
Now in its second year, the JIF&MF celebrates all that is Jerome; beautiful scenery, funky venues, and talent from all over. There is something for filmmakers and filmgoers alike: When not attending the festival, guests enjoy the local galleries, restaurants, wineries, and boutiques. Workshops and question-and-answer sessions will also be held among the historic buildings in this fabled mountainside town.
Established film festivals have perfected themselves over the years. They spend a few years trying things every way possible before they find what works. In Jerome, Toni faced a town that had never experienced a film festival, plus a planning process that was admittedly a little scattered, by virtue of being first. 2014’s festival on the hill is shaped by the lessons learned in last year’s inaugural season where the general consensus from everyone was simple: “We can’t wait for next year!”
Well next year is here. This year promises change in a big way with the addition of a fashion style show, camping adventures at Gold King Mine, a Ghost Story Keg party, new filmmaker challenges, and even a Murder Mystery gala. What is needed now is sponsors and film submissions.
It’s time to polish your work and get it ready for the big screen in Jerome. The submission process is open and information about genre and parameters is available here. A festival like this doesn’t happen without the generosity of sponsors, who get incredible exposure in this family-like industry. Companies already on board are: the Jerome Historical Society, Caduceus Cellars, Psychicflyingmonkey Productions, SWAT HD, Rangelo Productions, Cavity Search Pictures, Alone Wolf Pictures, AZ Event Support, AZ Filmmaker Magazine, and Kiki’s Cupcakes. Toni Ross is the point person for inquiries regarding sponsorships, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Everyone, whether an attendee, a film maker, musician, or a sponsor, gets to be part of something in its infancy. Where it goes from here is full of potential – and dreams.