No need to head to New York City or Toronto for a major film fest… it’s all here at Genesee Community College with WNY F.A.M.E. (Film, Art and Music Event)! Take a break from studying on September 15-17, 2017 to enjoy more than 75 movies, music videos and short films, live music competitions, game show, raffles, workshops, and more at the upcoming F.A.M.E. Event! Entry is free before 5 p.m., after 5 o’clock tickets are $10 for a single block and $25 for the VIP Festival Pass. You can visit www.wnyfame.com to view dates and times, as well as purchase your ticket ahead of time.
F.A.M.E. is run under Beaver Alley Studios, a nonprofit organization. It was created by Rhonda Parker, a former GCC student, and her husband Mark. The organization was established for the purpose of production, promotion, distribution, exhibition and celebration of all art forms especially those from a female perspective. Their main goal is “helping people to follow their dreams.”
I got the opportunity to speak with Rhonda and learn more about her, and her organization. Rhonda is an award winning writer and director, and her love for the arts is what led her to Beaver Alley Studios, her goal being to “bring artists together to benefit all.”
Beaver Alley Studios was formed in 2014. Originally it was called Kaleidoscopic Productions, but it was changed to its in 2015, they felt Beaver Alley’s Production was easy to spell and more memorable. They chose the name because of the “ironic undertones of female empowerment,” and Rhonda says in every project they create there is at least one scene on the brick road of Albion’s Beaver Alley. Rhonda says her favorite part about working within her own company is being able to follow their visions, and all of the people she has met along the way. She says they have taught her so much both directly and indirectly, and she loves being able to create with the variety of people she’s met during her time with Beaver Alley Studios.
Rhonda studied at GCC from 2012-2015, she began as a Paralegal major, with the main goal of being able to help her family with civil rights violations, however her paralegal knowledge also helped her with paperwork when creating her nonprofit organization. However after meeting Barry Chow in a scuba diving class, she learned of all of the different courses GCC has to offer. This led to her interest in film. She later added a second major studying Communications-Media Art. Rhonda says her love for art was not all that spontaneous, it actually started as a child. She has always loved drawing and writing. She wrote her first script in high school, and even turned some of her scripts into films for school projects. It was the inspiration in her early adulthood years that led to her taking script writing more seriously.
‘Friends Don’t Let Friends Date Friends” was written as a “somewhat autobiographical version of events at a time when I hung out in coffee shops writing poetry,” says Rhonda. The talent she met while directing “Friends Don’t Let Friends Date Friends,” eventually led to her experimentation with short film. Her second feature was with Lonely Bananas where she was given the opportunity to work with over 30 of the best area actors, writers and entertainers. She stepped out of her comfort zone for her third feature, “Message in a Bottle,” which premiered on September 15, in Movie Block 4.
Next Rhonda hopes to embark on uncharted waters with the psychological thriller “Lifeboat.” Through her work with Beaver Alley Studios she continues to work to grow the audience base for local artists. Her hopes for this year’s event are to increase public participation, and to create a more relaxed environment for attendees.
Don’t forget the event is free before 5 p.m., so why not stop by and see all that Rhonda Parker and her Beaver Alley Studios team has to offer. Also make sure to purchase your movie block, or VIP Festival Pass ahead of time, and join the fun!