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New international film festival coming to the Kentucky Theatre, with panels aimed at aspiring filmmakers

Josh James

The Kentucky Theatre is launching a four-day, international film festival on Thursday. The Twelve Lions Film Festival is geared not just toward film lovers but also those interested in trying their hand at filmmaking.

The festival kicks off on Thursday with the premiere of Bluegrass Spirits, a feature length dramatic comedy filmed in and around Lexington, before unspooling a full schedule of films on Friday, including a late night restored 70th anniversary showing of Robot Monster — in 3D, of course.

Lisa Meek is with the Friends of Kentucky Theatre, which took over management of the historic downtown venue.

"Lexington is ripe for something like this. So many filmmakers have grown up in Lexington, have watched films here, and they really have a deep love of this theatre. We just really wanted to showcase and support filmmakers," she says, adding, "We love the film incentive that Kentucky is doing, trying to bring filmmaker here."

But while the juried film festival has plenty on offer for fans of new, local, and cutting-edge filmmaking, it’s also a chance for aspiring or beginning filmmakers to learn about the craft through panels, networking, and – as Friends co-chair Hayward Wilkirson says – workshops.

"They're really good for new and emerging filmmakers," he says. "We're doing a workshop... on post-production basics, so the basics of film editing. We're doing a workshop on cinematic lighting at Bluegrass Community and Technical College. And we're be doing another workshop that is essentially filmmaking on a shoestring budget."

The festival runs from Thursday through Sunday, with a recap of audience favorites on the final day.

As for that name – Twelve Lions – it’s a reference to the fold lions that appear over the doorways in the Kentucky’s famous front lobby.

More info and tickets available here.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.