Soap opera alum Trent Dawson (ex-Henry Coleman, As the World Turns; ex-Huxley Lynch, General Hospital) doesn't want the current COVID-19 pandemic to dim the light of creativity, so he has decided to launch a film festival to foster artistic endeavors during these challenging times.
Dawson is the founder of Katonah Classic Stage (KCS), a new, non-profit theatre company in Katonah, NY, whose mission is to offer exceptional, diverse, and professional productions of classical and contemporary plays. To help launch his theater, which has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, he is starting the first annual KCS Film Festival, scheduled for August 28th, 2020.
The festival calls on both aspiring and experienced filmmakers of all ages to submit short films -- 30 seconds to 30 minutes long -- with any theme, but particularly those inspired by classic theatre. Examples, according to an official press release, include: taking a line from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet to create an entirely new screenplay; stop motion animation set in an ancient Greek theatre; August Wilson as a space opera; a documentary about a grandparent's love of Chekhov; or transforming a classic play to look like a modern day soap opera.
The goal of the KCS Film Festival is to bring neighbors together in a creative community in a time of social distancing. Judges will be film and theatre professionals from the Katonah/NYC area. Laurels will be awarded to the winners, who will also receive other perks.
The early bird deadline for KCS Film Festival submissions is July 15th, and the regular deadline is August 15th. Notification of acceptance will be announced on August 17th. There is a nominal submission fee. Whether the festival will have an in-person component or be virtual will be determined closer to the date.
Trent Dawson, who founded the theatre company and the film festival, is a three-time Daytime Emmy-nominated actor best known for his 11-year run as Henry Coleman on As the World Turns. Some of his other credits include The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Castle, Homeland, and The Good Wife. He also played the role of General Hospital's Huxley Lynch from 2016 to 2017.
Dawson is also an accomplished stage actor and he has worked on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and at regional theaters across the country. Dawson is also a writer, and his plays have been performed at Manhattan Rep and The Barrow Group. One of his plays, The Six, was adapted to a screenplay, which he directed and produced.
Regarding KCS's commitment to "classic works," Dawson states, "These plays are still performed not because they're studied in English class, but because they're some of the greatest things ever written. When put into professional hands, the classics can lift the human spirit in a remarkable way. Imagine your favorite piece of music, whether it's Mozart, or Abbey Road, or whatever does it for you. That feeling you get when you hear that -- that lifting, transformational effect. Imagine that happening with a play while sitting next to 200 other people who are experiencing the same thing. We hope to bring this to you."
What do you think about Trent Dawson launching a theatre and a film festival? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.