Aksarben Cinema Hosts 2019 Omaha Film Festival


Bryan Vomacka

The 2019 Omaha Film Festival took place at Aksarben Cinema from March 5-10. The festival is in its 14th year of celebrating independent film.

The festival has short films, feature-length films, Q and A’s and auctions for movie memorabilia. Program Director Marc Longbrake said the event takes over a year to plan. With close to 1,000 entries from over 70 countries, it is easy to see why.

“This year we are showing 107 films over 6 days,” Longbrakesaid. “We are in our second to last day and we’re still standing and we’re excited about it. We’re showing a lot of great stuff.”

About 15 years ago, Longbrake and some friends visited a small film festival in Kearney, Nebraska. On their way home, they realized that Omaha had a lot of potential for a similar event. Fast-forward to 2019 and the Omaha Film Festival is a renowned international film festival.

One of this year’s highlights was a Saturday showing of “Out of Omaha.” Extra chairs had to be moved into the theater to accommodate all the people who wanted to see the documentary. “Out of Omaha” was filmed over eight years and follows twin brothers as they grow up amid racial and economic inequality in Omaha.

A Q and A was held after the film, in which the directors and cast talked about the experience of making the film and answered questions from the audience. Darcell Trotter, one of the brothers the film follows, spoke about the difficulty of being filmed all the time.

“It could be whatever period of time in the day, it could be seven or eight in the morning and Ryan, Clay, and Tim are in my face with a camera and I’m like I don’t want to see you guys right now,” Trotter said.

“Out of Omaha” won the Audience Choice Documentary Award and a Documentary Honorable Mention from the jury.

Longbrake said his favorite part of the festival is giving new filmmakers the chance to show their work on the big screen.

“Seeing the looks on their faces and seeing how they react to that is pretty priceless for me,” Longbrakesaid.