Festival director discusses filmmaking in Kilgore

The Reel East Texas Film Festival kicks off Thursday and features 50 film projects.
Published: Nov. 10, 2022 at 11:40 AM CST
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KILGORE, Texas (KLTV) - The Reel East Texas Film Festival kicks off Thursday and features 50 film projects.

“It started in 2017, so this is our sixth year,” said Festival Director Chip Hale. “The inspiration behind it was, I’m a filmmaker myself, and I had a good amount of love with a documentary I made about the Rangerettes called ‘Sweethearts of the Gridiron,’ and I traveled all over the state and then parts of the US and even to Europe and realized how much I enjoy film festivals. I also realized it was easy for me to make films in Kilgore and that the best way for Kilgore to reap the benefits of filmmakers coming to town to be able to make their films here was, well, we needed to get them here first. So, the idea was to create a film festival, have filmmakers here, show them how charming our little town is and how easy it is to make a film here, and hopefully get them to come back and make their projects here. So far, so good!”

He discussed the many different places filmmakers in Kilgore have come from, the range of films that will be shown, and what it means to be part of the “film festival” season.

The festival includes 50 projects: 5 feature documentaries, 5 narrative documentaries and 40 short films.

Thursday night’s block showcases a short documentary, a comedy, suspense, and a horror/sci-fi film. Hale said, “We try to in the opening night block give everybody a mix of what they will get when they come to the festival.”

Speaking about the long-term goals of Reel East Texas, Hale said, “We’re a non-profit, so we have a board, and we have an ethos. Ideally, we’d like to create a film industry in East Texas. The workforce is here...our big dream is to be able to help Kilgore and East Texas become a new Austin, a new Georgia, a new New Orleans, if you will. A lot of those specific towns, cities and regions are reaping really good benefits.”

For more information about the festival or the organization itself, visit reeleasttexas.com.

Admission to a single block of films costs $10, a day pass is $25, and a weekend pass is $50.

The festival takes place at the Texan Theater in downtown Kilgore starting from 7 p.m. Thursday. The full schedule is available on their website.