Saturday, February 18, 2012

Ashland native’s movie debuting at the Derby City Film Festival

By Lee Ward  The Daily Independent

ASHLAND — A movie written and directed by Ashland native Isaac Stambaugh will make its world debut Sunday at the Derby City Film Festival in Louisville.

The comedy, “Smells Like Community Spirit,” was one of 10 feature films accepted into the festival, which accepted a total of 56 feature and short films out of 400 submissions. It will be screened at 2:30 p.m. at the Clifton Center.

The film follows Oliver Stanton on a journey of entrepreneurship: he left corporate American and bought a bowling alley in the tiny town of Scarberry, Ohio, only to learn retail giant Mega Value Mart planned to open a new store in the middle of the town’s park. Ashland native Joe Body, who wrote and directed the movie “Hitting the Nuts,” appears in Stambaugh’s movie.

Stambaugh, a graduate of Ohio University Southern, has produced 72 episodes of the award winning program "The Zone" music video show. He has acted as producer, production manager, first assistant director and editor on Boyd’s movie as well as the feature films “Fenced Off” and “A Strange Brand of Happy” starring Grammy winner Rebecca St. James and Academy Award winner Shirley Jones.

“A few years ago, I had the opportunity where I thought I might be able to write or direct a feature myself,” he said, explaining he took advantage of that opportunity by getting some friends in the film-making business to help him shoot it in a couple of weeks.

Boyd and buddy Brad Wise raised $2,000 for the shoestring shoot.

“We looked at it like an experience to see what we could accomplish in a short amount of time and few resources,” he said. “Our goal was to get enough material that wasn’t horrible.”

He said it turned out much better than expected and he was proud of the end result, so he submitted it to the Cincinnati Film Festival. The film wasn’t selected, he made some changes and then it was accepted into the Derby City Film Festival. He’s awaiting word about the Wet Your Pants Comedy Festival in Indianapolis.

This weekend, “Smells Like Community Spirit” isn’t a finalist for an award, Stambaugh said, but will be eligible for an audience award, which is based on attendance and ratings from the audience during the festival. He will find out Monday if the film received an audience award.

“I’ve heard from a lot of family and friends in Ashland and Cincinnati who are going to be there,” he said.

Don Moore, assistant professor and director of electronic media at OUS, said Stambaugh was fully prepared for movie making when he arrived as a student there.

“What words come to mind when I think of Isaac — creativity, innovation and leadership,” Moore said. “He was an excellent student and person and he opened the door for several of our students to assist on the production. Plans are under way now for a premier to be held here on campus of this current film with portions of the proceeds coming back into the electronic media program, and for that we are truly grateful.”

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