As a movie buff who has dabbled in filmmaking, Kirk Kindle always wondered why Salem didn't have its own film festival.
So when Gail Ryder, executive director of the Historic Elsinore Theater in Salem, asked him what the theater could do in exchange for the video projector he gave to the venue, his answer was simple.
"I told them I thought it would be cool to have a film festival here," said Kindle, who owns Capitol City Video Productions.
"They thought it was a great idea."
Featuring about 15 entries from local filmmakers, the Saturday night festival is an experiment of sorts for the Elsinore to see how much interest there is in a local film festival.
"I think we're interested in expanding out film series at some point," Ryder said. "This could be a wonderful piece that could be a part of it."
The film series, which has been short silent films up to this point, eventually may include works by local filmmakers, classics and other types of films. At one point in history, the Elsinore was a first-run movie theater, and Ryder said the venue is looking to get back to its roots.
"We're looking at how we can satisfy more of our audience as well," she said. "We'd like to have the Elsinore open more, and we can sneak films into odd little time periods."
The first Elsinore Video Festival was hastily organized in a few short months. Three judges - Ryder, Statesman Journal reporter Ron Cowan and Loretta Miles, the owner of Salem Cinema - are viewing the movies in advance. Each judge will get to pick their personal favorite, and then all three will agree on the Grand Prize Winner.
The local political action committee Libraries YES! has agreed to give $100 to the winner.
The films are a mix of documentaries, short features and music videos.
And while the majority of the entries came from Salem-area directors, Portland filmmaker Alan Winston submitted three of his short movies after finding out from Elsinore's resident musician Rick Parks about the festival. Winston has taken classes at the Northwest Film Center in Portland. Two of his entries, "Hollywood Action Movie" (sic) and "Odious" are the only movies showing at the Elsinore Video Festival that were shot on film.
"Video is so much cheaper and you can shoot hours and hours of it," Winston said. "'Odious,' is a two-minute movie and is the most expensive one I've ever made, even though I've made feature-length movies on video."
While promotion was lacking for the first year, Kindle said he thinks once the word gets out, the festival will start to gain momentum.
"I'm really happy with how it's turned out for the first year," he said. "We're not overwhelmed, but we've got enough to make a good showing.