BY JANET MANDELSTAM
There are plenty of film festivals, but Jessica Levandoski and Chelsea Sanders thought the world needed one more — right here in Bloomington.
There’s no rule that dictates premiere features and shorts have to gravitate to the coasts or to the Sundance Film Festival in Utah they decided. “We met. We said, ‘Let’s just do it.’ We threw it all together in less than two months,” Sanders recalls. And that’s how the Middle Coast Film Festival made its debut in the summer of 2014.
Now in its third year, the festival will welcome filmmakers and cinephiles to town July 28–30 for screenings of national and international short and feature films, web-based episodes, and music videos. In addition to the screenings, there will be panel discussions, question-and-answer sessions, and networking events at local restaurants, bars, and studios.
The co-founders’ talents are complementary. Levandoski, 34, a filmmaker and self-described “big film fan,” takes the lead in selecting the films. Last year’s lineup included Tangerine, a comedy featuring two transgender actresses that became a darling of critics everywhere, as well as The 100-year-old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared, a Swedish film that enjoyed a commercial run. Sanders, 33, a photographer and designer, handles marketing and branding. She chose the flamingo — “a bird flying in from the coast” — as the Middle Coast logo and put plastic flamingos around town to promote the festival.