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Locals taking flick to Cannes

Photos courtesy of Megan Wysocki

A common road to a career in the film industry goes as follows: move to Los Angeles, Calif., (no matter where you’re from), wait tables while you scratch your way to the top and finally, struggle for years until you give up or “make it.”

The road was paved much differently for Torin Scott, who, after working in sales for eight years, moved from California to Columbus in 2009 to work toward his teenage dream of filmmaking.

On May 16, Scott will see his dreams come to life when “Stones,” the short film he wrote and starred in for the 2010 Columbus 48 Hour Film Competition, will screen in the Short Corner at Cannes Film Festival in France. 

“Stones” was created by Hands Off Productions, a group that includes Scott, along with Joe and Dominic Buscemi, brothers and co-owners of InLine Productions, and Jason Tostevin, a speechwriter at a major local retailer and 1997  Ohio State alumnus. The team wrote, filmed and edited “Stones” in one weekend for the 48 Hour Film Competition.

The short took home Best Film in Columbus and then went on to place sixth out of more than 3,000 films in the international competition in Miami, earning its spot at Cannes.

The 6 1/2 minute fantasy film follows Scott’s character as he discovers three magical stones in the forest and frantically carries them through downtown Columbus. Along the way, he meets obstacles that almost end his life, stripping him of a stone with each ugly encounter.

Joe Buscemi believes the film’s success draws from the story’s mystery, universal appeal and big finish. 

“Most people are compelled to watch at the beginning because of the interesting visuals and the mystery that starts to unfold, but what really delivers is the ending,” Joe Buscemi said. “That ‘Ohhh!’ moment that happens when you realize why the character has been running all over town, essentially killing himself.”

Joe Buscemi has worked in the multimedia industry in Columbus for more than 12 years. He hopes “Stones” success will show people in Columbus that New York and Los Angeles aren’t the only cities where filmmaking and talent are found.

Tostevin, the director of the short, agrees that there are incredibly talented filmmakers in this city. 

“I think there’s an opportunity to bring the community even closer, which would lead to more learning, better productions, and a higher profile in Columbus,” he said. 

Joe Buscemi, Tostevin, and Scott agree that storytelling, above all else, is the most essential skill for an aspiring filmmaker to practice.

“You’re not so much a filmmaker as you are a storyteller,” Scott said. “A good clean story that people can connect to is going to carry the entire film more than acting, cinematography, special effects or anything else.”

Tostevin agreed that storytelling takes precedence over other facets of filmmaking,

“Try to avoid becoming enamored of the technical side, and focus first on telling clear stories that connect emotionally with people,” he said

Before heading to the 64th edition of the Cannes Film Festival, one of the oldest and most prestigious events in film, Tostevin encourages fellow filmmakers to “try something new, and have an adventure.”

A screening of “Stones” will take place tonight at “Columbus to Cannes: A Short Story Film Showcase and Fundraiser” at the Gateway Film Center.

The screening starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $12 and can be purchased at the Gateway Film Center box office. Proceeds from the event will go toward sending the members of Hands Off Productions to the Cannes Film Festival. 

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