Last night we made an impromptu trip to Lawrence to film with Fran at an event he was hosting, the 2nd annual Made in Lawrence "Clout" Film Festival. The outdoor screening, free and open to the public, showcased 13 shorts all by Lawrence-native filmmakers, and was organized by Made in Lawrence, a program of Lawrence Community Works, and supported by the Essex Art Center.
For Fran, who co-founded Made in Lawrence last year, it's about more than giving young filmmakers from diverse backgrounds a forum for their work; it's about creating community, and reclaiming Lawrence's narrative:
"This is real community... What we do is we make films about the people of Lawrence, and their stories, and their struggles, and try to create a new image for the city of Lawrence. Because right now we have a bad image problem. But that's not the truth. Because look at us– we're united, we're smart, we're beautiful, and we're very artistic. And this is what we're proving."
According to co-host and filmmaker Elissa Salas, they had expected a crowd of around 30 to show up. By the time the sun had set, more than 130 people were in attendance.