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Filmmakers share insights in Geneva

GENEVA – Given the choice between attending the Academy Awards and participating in a roundtable discussion about film, cinematographer Paolo Cascio would pick the latter.

Cascio – who has worked on such films as "Planes, Trains & Automobiles," "Curly Sue" and soon-to-be-released "Sabotage" – shared his preference during a Geneva Film Festival event Saturday morning.

Six other people with films in the three-day festival joined him at Dodson Place for the roundtable discussion, which was moderated by festival coordinator Nancy Hanna.

Hanna said the seventh annual event, which was to end Saturday night with a party at Wildwood Restaurant, featured 39 films selected from 100 submissions.

"They're looking for an audience," she said.

Cascio, who grew up working on John Hughes movies, said this was his fifth year at the Geneva festival, where he once taught a workshop with a director.

People want to know how films are made with limited time and resources, he said.

"Your creativity is your greatest asset," Cascio said. "I've had to make midnight look like 1 o'clock in the afternoon."

Dan Pal, who teaches at DePaul University, said he scoured Chicago for a gym where he could film his narrative short "Scotty Works OUT." His crew needed a place that could be exclusively theirs for three days for continuity purposes, he said.

Ultimately, Pal said, he received help from a gym manager with aspirations to become a screenwriter, but costs for the space – as well as rights to music – put his $3,000 budget over budget by about $2,000.

"It's amazing what a little money will do," Hanna said.

Filmmakers said other challenges they encounter is a loss of control during the editing process and problems with audio. Several recalled situations where something went wrong.

"That's why this is such an art form," Hanna said. "It is so easy to make a mistake."

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