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See you at the movies

Cinema Center’s massive Hobnobben Film Festival is what movie fans have been waiting for

By Michael Summers


Fort Wayne Reader


When asked if there’s a “get” that he’s especially happy about in the impressive line-up of screenings at the Hobnobben Film Festival, Jonah Crismore — Cinema Center’s Executive Director — simply can’t decide.

But to be fair to Crismore, he has a lot to choose from.

The Hobnobben Film Festival happens June 16 through 19 in downtown Fort Wayne, and features dozens of films, from Cannes award-winners to experimental shorts to acclaimed documentaries to unaired (so far) television pilots. The weekend also offers panel discussions and other special events, all focused on movies.

Maybe Fort Wayne has had a film festival in the past (Your Humble can’t recall), but there certainly hasn’t been anything on this scale before, with screenings and events in three venues — Cinema Center; the ArtsLab “Black Box” theater; and the USF Performing Arts Center on Berry — over the course of the weekend. It’s safe to say that film buffs in Fort Wayne have been waiting for something like the Hobnobben Film Festival for a long time.

Organized by Cinema Center, the Hobnobben Film Festival has been in the making for about two years. “This is going to be Cinema Center’s 40th anniversary (this year), and we wanted to do something that demonstrated how, with all the revitalization efforts and everything that’s going on in downtown Fort Wayne, Cinema Center could be part of the cultural revitalization of downtown,” says Crismore. “The Hobnobben Film Festival basically represents what we do everyday at Cinema Center, but in a more concentrated effort.”

That’s an understatement. As we said, the list of feature films and documentaries screening at the Hobnobben Film Festival runs into the dozens, and includes many new works just getting a buzz on the film festival circuit. Other People, a comedy/drama starring Molly Shannon (SNL) and Jesse Plemons (Breaking Bad), debuted at Sundance just this year. Also among the new releases is The Fits, an acclaimed “coming-of-age” story about a girl joining a dance troupe (I’m simplifying a great deal; let’s just say The Fits is getting some incredible reviews).

Another is Dheepan, which won the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 2015. “A lot of people have been asking me about Dheepan ever since it won last year,” Crismore says. “I’m glad we’re finally able to bring it here.”

Documentaries include Werner Herzog’s new film Lo and Behold; Danny Says, about visionary “music man” Danny Fields; and Raiders! the story behind the shot-by-shot recreation of Raiders of the Lost Ark that three 11-year-old boys from Mississippi undertook (and almost finished) back in the 80s.

Many of the movies are making their Fort Wayne debut.

Among the “bigger” movies — that’s films that have a distributor — are a number of new works by fledgling film-makers. The festival’s organizing committee went through a lengthy selection and evaluation process. “What really surprised us were the sheer number and variety of films that came in,” Crismore says. “I thought we’d get a lot of narrative work, a lot of short films from students or recent grads. There’s some of that, but we got a lot of different things.”

For anyone interested in the process of making films and some of the issues filmmakers — and the film industry — are dealing with, the Hobnobben Film Festival is offering several panels over the weekend. The Diversity panel address issues of diversity in the film industry; the Indiana Filmmakers Panel talks about the challenges of making movies in our region; and the Filmmakers panel features a discussion on what it’s like to be an independent filmmaker today, and the role film festivals play.

Finally, Glen Berggoetz, an award-winning filmmaker and author of The Independent
Filmmaker’s Guide: Make Your Feature Film for $2,000 leads a workshop on how to make a marketable film for under $2000 (Berggoetz’s movies Auto Shop of Horrors and Ghosts of Johnson Woods are screening as part of the festival).

Crismore and the other organizers hope the Hobnobben Film Festival continues. “I’d like to see this turn into an annual event,” Crismore says. “The response we got from distributors and independent filmmakers, in terms of quality, was better than we had hoped. We’re excited to see how the festival is received.”

The Hobnobben Film Festival has a lot going on. For a full list of movies, screening times, and an overall schedule of all events, visit hobnobben.org. They’re also on facebook and twitter/instagram.


Tickets are available at each venue or at:

ArtsTix Community Box Office
303 East Main Street

By phone


Individual Admission Tickets
General $10
Cinema Center Member $8
Children 12 & under $7
These are tickets purchased in advance or at the door foradmittance into single film screenings.

Ticket Bundles
6 pack of General Tickets $50
6 pack of Member Tickets $40
Bundles will either be vouchers the payee may redeem for specific films or the payee may be able to select their films and then enter a promo code upon check out online or with the box office.

Festival Pass $200
Saturday Day Pass $75
Passes will be worn on lanyards of various colors which will indicate to the box office volunteers which individuals should be given admittance. Day passes may be best used for Saturday only.

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©2018 Fort Wayne Reader. All rights Reserved.