Morabo Film Festival teaches filmmaking technique and passion 

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David West perfected his filmmaking craft in countries like Italy and Czech Republic. These experiences further fanned the flames of creative cinema in the already-passionate artist.

It’s a spark he hopes to ignite in his hometown.

West is the mastermind behind Morabo: The Wandering Festival of Film, a unique venture in which all its featured projects are created during the event.

Morabo runs Tuesday through June 12 in Oklahoma City and then spreads outward to Prague, Czech Republic June 15-22 before joining with another festival in Italy.

While his affection for filmmaking was emboldened in Europe, culturally, West said it is an equally exciting time in Oklahoma City. The artist, who earned his film studies undergraduate degree at the University of Oklahoma, lives near the Plaza District and thinks the creative climate is right to spread his love for the craft stateside.

“They’ve got a lot of local artists doing really great things, so I think it’s a fairly easy concept to pull off,” he said.

Festival plans

Morabo is a hybrid film school and festival. It launches Tuesday in OKC with a registration and orientation day.

West said the next day, it hosts a location tour and several workshops. That evening, participants can have digital headshots done. The day also features a production meeting to establish individual roles, assess equipment and form teams.

Two more workshops will be held June 8. Following that, June 9-11 are production days for filming, editing and finishing group projects. West compared his concept to the 48 Hour Film Project contest, except less frantic.

“You can shoot, you can edit, you can edit on the fly and you can have a good film done in four or five days,” he said.

Final submissions are due June 12. Public screenings are 8 p.m. at Power House, 1228 NW Second St. Organizers planned an outdoor screening area at the bar, which West said is perfect because there is not a lot of traffic in the area. He hopes the Morabo screenings can lead to other film events at Power House.

“I was like, ‘You guys, keep this [screening area] there. Do a weekly screening. Get with The Paramount or some other local groups,’” he said. “I’m sure there are people who would love to use it and screen something outdoors.”

West and Morabo head to Europe shortly after Oklahoma City events conclude. Once there, they’ll lead a similar week of filming in Prague.

A few people from the U.S. will make the trip with West. The festival’s Czech chapter will feature mostly locals.

Reliving memories

In many ways, Morabo enables West to revisit his past and film roots. West lived in Czech Republic for several years before moving back to Oklahoma.

The Morabo name is a reference to the Czech lands of Moravia and Bohemia.

After Morabo finishes its week in Prague, West heads to Italy for the CinemadaMare Film Festival, where he will work as a production assistant. In 2010, he participated in the festival. The concept behind that event also helped inspire Morabo.

CinemadaMare is in its 14th year and bills itself as “the biggest gathering of young filmmakers in the world.” Participants spend more than a month touring Italy as they create projects later screened for the public.

West said his time with CinemadaMare was as or more beneficial to him than his grad school film studies.

He traveled and met creatives and locals and found opportunities to regularly practice his film skills.

“I have to rank it up there as quite a huge learning experience because I made six of seven films in those weeks,” he said of the experience. “In my year of production for my masters, I did four films.”

Making connections

West said he realizes that Morabo is the same week as deadCenter Film Festival, which runs June 8-12. He does not view the timing as a conflict. Instead, he hopes it results in a larger celebration of film in Oklahoma City.

West wants to foster an overall love for his craft in Oklahoma City and across the globe.

Morabo is as much about teaching as it is about doing.

“Not everyone has the money or the opportunity to study film,” West said. “People say, ‘Oh, I’m not a filmmaker.’ Well, you’re not a filmmaker until you try.”

Film is an innately collaborative medium, West said, and creative endeavors often bring people together. West made lifelong connections at CinemadaMare, and he wants to encourage others to do the same in Oklahoma City.

“I can help provide people who all have interest in being part of making a film, put them together and let them go do it,” he said.

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Print headline: Planetary vision, Morabo: The Wandering Festival of Film fosters a love for the craft and unites creatives.

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