Film festival held at ‘Big Fish’ movie set

Dozens of people set up blankets or chairs to watch the nine short films that were featured. (Amalia Kortright/The Herald)

A cross country traveling film festival with a focus on solar energy made a stop at what’s left of a well-known movie set in Millbrook Saturday.

According to director and founder Jess Giacobbe, this is the second year that the film festival has been held at the set of the fictional town of Spectre, which was featured in the 2003 film, “Big Fish.” Giacobbe said Spectre was the 12th of 15 stops throughout the United States.

“We came here for the first time last year, and it was, by far, our most successful event, so we had to come back,” Giacobbe said.

The film festival featured nine short films, all of which centered around the environment, nature or traveling.

“We sent out an open call to filmmakers to submit their films with themes of travel, nature or movement,” Giacobbe said. “Most of them are documentaries, and some of them are more experimental, esoteric takes on the themes.”

According to Oscillation Transia engineer and co-coordinator Austin Krause, 100 percent of the equipment used to operate the festival is solar powered.

“There are batteries we charge with a solar panel that’s mounted on top of our trailer, and we have enough energy stored in the batteries to power all of our equipment,” Krause said.

Prior to the filming, Krause held a free workshop on how to implement solar energy into everyday life.

“We want to celebrate the global shift to solar energy. Fossil fuels aren’t going to last forever, Giacobbe said. “We like spread the good word about solar energy, show people what’s feasible by means of solar energy and show people that it’s cool to have power in your own hands.”

Montgomery residents Mary Kathryn Bryant and Maggie Mosby said they were interested after seeing a preview of the films on social media.

“I just thought it sounded really interesting,” Bryant said. “All of the environmental stuff was really cool. I feel like (solar energy) would be better for the environment than what we’re doing now.”

Last year, Giacobbe said they had to limit attendance to about 150 people. This year, she said they established an agreement to allow as many people as possible to attend. Krause said they saw another great turnout, despite the rainy weather earlier that day.

“Everyone in Alabama that we’ve encountered seems really nice and genuinely interested,” Krause said.

Giacobbe said they are working to keep the film festival as an annual event, and plan to keep Spectre on the agenda for the third year.