Bringing movie trailers to life


The story of one man’s fight against Chick-fil-A. The unpleasant underbelly of the sweatshops where computers are made. A garden of anthropomorphic flowers investigating a recent murder. These are just a few descriptions of the 300 trailers submitted last year to the International Movie Trailer Festival, cofounded by Inverness residents Murray and Roberta Suid.

The competition, now in its fourth year, is calling for submissions for fiction movies, documentaries, web series and book trailers. A jury of film professionals selects a grand-prize winner, who receives $3,000. Mr. Suid said the festival is aiming for 1,000 entries this year—an ambitious, but attainable, goal, he says.

Mr. Suid’s own passion for filmmaking originated in 1966 while teaching at a private high school in Massachusetts. His interest was piqued when a student enlisted his help in shooting five-minute comedies. A few decades later, at 51 years old, he enrolled in a master’s screenwriting program at the University of California, Los Angeles. After several pieces were optioned and one produced in Ireland, he made a faux trailer to raise money for his own movie. Though the venture failed, the importance of trailers in raising funds made an impact. He and his wife, CEO of the festival’s parent company IndieFilmConnect, founded the festival and ran its first contest in 2010. The festival is open to faux trailers and trailers for completed movies.

Mr. Suid, whose zeal for ideas springs from his every utterance, can reel off a proliferation of new avenues for the company. Just this past winter, in the lag time between the 2012 and 2013 contests, it held a special competition for trailers made on cameraphones. Other ideas include the company producing its own short films, combining short films on similar topics into a longer feature and finding a distributor and creating a related website that would house informational wiki articles on trailer and film production. But every idea is centered on supporting independent filmmakers, he said.

While the festival is completely online and “exists everywhere,” Mr. Suid said that West Marin, where he has lived since 2001, has been important to the process because so many creative individuals, entrepreneurs, filmmakers and others live in the area, and he has been able to sit down, recruit to the organization’s board and solicit guidance.

He is also working on his own short documentary. As for what he does in the remainder of his spare time, he is a volunteer moderator on Commons Connect and also mentioned that he is reading a book on relativity.

The deadline for entries is Oct. 30.