An object's value is often linked to its rarity, just as any creative endeavor is linked to the unique expression behind its technical proficiency. So an open call for creation en masse of any sort-from art, to film, to a solid business proposal-encourages people from all walks of life to participate, regardless of quality. When everyone jumps on the bandwagon, it's hardly rare to be on board anymore, though it does facilitate the worthwhile cause of increasing creative outlets and opportunities in the community.
Boise's Treasure Valley TV station (TVTV) exists for this reason. The public access network on channel 11 is a haven for all local residents eager to produce film and with anything to say. While many aspiring producers are already involved in filming shows, many more will likely crop up after realizing how easy it is to start.
"TVTV is the best kept secret in the valley," says Dr. Peter Lutze, quoting TVTV's Executive Director Terry Christenot.
Parents can send in their children's drama performance or football game and TVTV will air it. Two people seeking a forum to discuss politics can create their own talk show and they'll run it, too. "Everyone can be a filmmaker and there's all these ways for people to create," says Lutze, former chair of TVTV's board of directors. One of the initial founders four years ago and still a member on TVTV's board, Lutze is also professor of film at Boise State and an adviser for the university's video and film club, Dead 8 Productions.
The opportunity TVTV offers amateur filmmaking is extremely valuable-after all, how else would progress towards ingenious work materialize without the facilities to begin? But TVTV network is also valuable as a resource for college students, amateurs and professionals alike.
"From our standpoint, we want to support it for our students to strut their stuff," Lutze says. "TVTV has been an important forum for showing student projects, and the function of the club [Dead 8] is to provide extracurricular opportunities outside class. So they get to do what they want to do instead of what they have to do."
This philosophy generated Lutze's involvement in TVTV's inception, when the previous cable channels airing college TV stopped providing the chance to translate lessons into action. "Public access and Dead 8 are part of the picture. What I was interested in when I moved here was to make Boise a more visually literate place. I think it's a great time for the film and video scene in Boise," Lutze says.
Artist and TVTV filmmaker Bob Neal agrees. "It feels like everyone in town is making a movie," he says. Neal depicts the idea of a film-free-for-all on this week's BW cover, showing three people in a theater watching the screen and simultaneously videotaping what they see.
"As I'm an artist, I think this will also hold true for film: Making a film is the first step in making a good film," Neal says. "TVTV is good for seeing what other people are doing out there." It's an increasingly valid stance, as a beginning point and venue for expression are both necessary to grow as an artist.
One opportunity to produce at the college level is created by Boise State's 10th annual film and video festival, screening next week on April 19 and 20. The event is the culmination of a contest divided into high school, college and independent divisions. A professional category is not included this year.
"We especially solicited high school students, and 22 entries were received in all, a number from Small Pond Productions and Dead 8," Lutze says. Festival producers debated whether to make the night an Oscar-style awards ceremony recognizing the best submissions, or as a screening. "I lean towards the latter as it lets the student work be seen, instead of only small clips in an awards show," Lutze explains. "Getting student's names recognized and getting credentials is important."
A new addition to the 2005 Boise State festival is to screen the entries over the course of two consecutive nights. Entrants previously chosen by nine judges will be in the screenings, and the audience-selected grand prize winner will take home an Avid Express Pro software package. All entries will also be aired on TVTV, a sponsor of the event.
Festivals such as this and the upcoming i48 film frenzy contribute greatly to the evolving local film scene, in addition to the support inherent in public access television. To produce a homegrown show on TVTV, the meager requirements are an annual $40 producer fee and any classes necessary to bring budding filmmakers up to speed with the equipment and the editing process. Contact TVTV for more information at 343-1100 (www.tvpatv.org), or meet Dr. Lutze in person 9:30 a.m. this Sunday for his discussion of "Television as a Grassroots Tool," at the Kopper Kitchen, 2661 Airport Way.
Boise State Film and Video Festival
April 19 and 20, 6:30 p.m., $2, Boise State Special Events Center, 1800 University Dr., contact Dead 8 at 426-5476.