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The 573 Film Festival is Back!

After making its new permanent home in Perryville, Missouri, the 573 Film Festival International has big plans for its triumphant return, bringing fun and excitement to the small film-friendly town this weekend and next, starting TONIGHT!

The festival is held every year with short films from all over the world, and it highlights many local filmmakers as well. In addition to showing films, the festival holds workshops, talks, networking events, and the super popular 573 Kids Film Workshop and Red Carpet Event. And this year will be the first year that the festival will also stream for those who can't attend.

This 573 Magazine Story is brought to you by the groovy people at Mineral Area Council on the Arts.

A non-profit sponsor-supported community event, 573 Film Festival is on a mission to give a voice and a platform to filmmakers trying to get their start here in the local area. With no entry admission fee charged, 573 Film Festival and their awesome local sponsors have provided an amazing opportunity to area filmmakers and film fans alike.

Our sponsors are true blue heroes to the local art and film community for helping to make this happen!

An All-Star Guest Speaker line up of Missouri based industry professionals and multiple directors, producers, and actors from the films selected to be screene will be in attendance, giving ample networking opportunities for those seeking careers in the industry.



Award-winning filmmaker Peter Vincent Carlos is the Professor of Cinema Arts at Lindenwood University. Peter has a rich history of working in the film industry, including having been a film producer, director, and editor. During his presentation, he will be talking about the ins and outs of independent filmmaking as well as his film career, which includes a stint in Hollywood, where he worked with such notable names as Jim Carrey, Kirsten Dunst, Jay Leno, and more. Peter will be presenting his award-winning short, Gravity.


AJ Koehler is a producer, writer, assistant director, and actor. Working with director Thomas Smugala on The Spring (currently in production) Two Heads (currently in post production) A New Life In America (2020) Interviewing Monsters and Bigfoot (2019), AJ will talk about the most difficult job on a film set - the 1ST AD. The assistant director runs the sets, controls the actors, and makes sure everything gets done right and on time. AJ will be presenting select clips from both Two Heads, and the new production, The Spring, with cast & crew Q&A to follow.


Lacey Turner has spent most of his life knowing that writing screenplays and directing is what he was born to do. Although Lacey has a style that is solely his, he has been influenced by such great directors as Steven Spielberg, The Hughes Brothers, Steve McQueen, and John Singleton. Beginning his career as a songwriter and performer, his passion now is to embark on a journey in filmmaking that will someday change the world. A multi-dimensional writer and director and strongly believes that his hard work, creativity, and dedication will help manifest his visions. Lacey lives by this saying on his creative journey. If you allow fear and doubt to creep into your mind. Then failure is absolute."


12-year-old budding star Ava Duffe, recently finished the lead role in the new locally produced thriller, TWO HEADS. Ava plays a young girl set on revenge after the murder of her mother. Ava will talk about her first days on set, and all the preparation that goes into becoming a film actor. Ava will be presenting a few select clips from the film, now in post production.

CLICK HERE for a full list of special presentations, guest speakers, and events.

This year some really great films have been selected to be screened during the festival. An eclectic collection of cinema masterpieces with a variety of genres including experimental, drama, horror, documentary, comedy, animation, claymation, and stop-motion there is something for everyone at the 573 Film Festival. With submissions from right here in the 573, across the country, and around the world, The 573 Film Festival International is a wonderful chance to support local art and experience multiple cultures.


Wawel Dragon

Wawel Dragon is a stop-motion short by Director Cameron Carr from across the pond in the UK. An award-winning adaptation of a classic Polish folktale, Wawel Dragon is rich in history, culture, and magic. This classic story is told with an epic cinematic lens and stunning animation puppetry.

An award-winning animator...

Cameron Carr is an autistic artist currently studying at NFTS for MA Directing Animation. An award-winning animator who just finished his university animation degree, Cameron is just getting started and is already making big waves. He has recently worked with the Jane Austen House Museum as an artist in residence. CLICK HERE to view.

"The studios closed down due to the pandemic, leaving many students to either downgrade, change their original ideas, or fail in a few cases. I decided to follow a different path, by building an animation studio in my bedroom!" - Cameron Carr

The full film is 6min and 11sec long. You can view the FREE screening of Wawel Dragon along with many other awesome short films on SATURDAY, Oct. 15 at the Catalyst Event Center.

CLICK HERE to view this year's full Official Selection list.

This year the 573 Film Festival will be held in multiple locations.

On FRIDAY, October 14th, the screenings and special presentations will be located at the Mary Jane Burgers & Brew SpeakEasy at 102 N. Jackson Street in Perryville. Going from 6pm to who knows when (estimated end around 10-11), this night is Mature Audience only. Be advised, Friday night films at the SpeakEasy are not suitable for viewers under 18 years old. There will be servers on duty in the screening room ready to take your order at any time and make your viewing experience very Mary.


On SATURDAY, October 15th, the festivities will be held at the Catalyst Event Center located at 508 N. Main St. in Perryville. Beginning at the crack of 10AM with the 3 hour Kids Film Workshop, the fun goes on all day and late into the night. Screenings and presentations will start at 1:30pm and go until whenever it ends (estimated finish around 10ish-11ish). And no worries! Mary Jane Burgers & Brew will be on call waiting for your order and making hourly deliveries to the event center. You can order food online, but any alcoholic beverages that are available for festival delivery must be ordered by phone.


On SUNDAY, October 23rd, The 573 Film Festival International will be hosting a Red Carpet Event. Scheduled screenings include the Kids Film Workshop Films. Starting at 2PM with photos on the red carpet and going until it ends, all Red Carpet Screenings will be scheduled and listed after October 17th, so be sure to check that schedule again after the update.

CLICK HERE to view the 573 Film Festival International 2022 Schedule.

As mentioned before, a very large part of the 573 Film Festival that has become very popular since its introduction is the 573 Kids Film Workshop. Children 18 and under are welcome to come and partake in the opportunity to help create a film which will be screened the following weekend in a special Red Carpet Event. Each participant will be assigned to a crew, given a script, and will have the chance to learn whatever position interests them; director, actor, sound, lighting, set design, make-up, etc… And after they experience what it’s like to make a film, they will get to experience the joy of watching their creation on the big screen!

Pre-registration is required. $25 Fee at the door includes water bottles and snacks.

To become a 573 volunteer contact AJ:

Interested in becoming a sponsor or making a donation? Contact Denelle

Whether you're a filmmaker, a film fan, or just bored and want something to do that's FUN and FREE be sure to join us at the 573 Film Festival this weekend. You won't want to miss out.


words by aj koehler

pics by t. smugala

Be sure to visit all of our awesome sponsors who make these stories possible!


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