Indy: Describe the hours leading up to opening the doors for Eric Shiveley's opening-night film in 2008.
Jim Turner: I still love Eric's film, Everyone But You. The time leading up to that film is the same as it is leading up to the opening film every year; the big question of, "Will anyone show up?" was constantly running through our heads. As it was our first Indie Spirit Film Festival and there is no guide to starting or running a film festival, we were hoping that we had done everything right.
Indy: You're showing 118 films this year. Does that number have to grow annually to show success or progress?
JT: Our goal is to keep it around 110, give or take. The number of films isn't what makes a festival. We consider the key factors to determining success as the number of patrons and filmmakers attending, and the experience they have.
Indy: How many films did you screen this year, with how many volunteer viewers?
JT: In 2012 we had the highest number of films submitted, with the final number somewhere around 600 films spanning over 400 hours. There was a total of 35 volunteers screening films, with a core group of about a dozen that watched the vast majority. We strive for a minimum of four people to view and rate each film. That makes for over 1,600 hours of film viewing.
Indy: What's your most memorable or gratifying moment from previous years?
JT: The positive feedback we receive from both festival-goers and filmmakers. We have people who have never been to a festival who can't believe what a great experience they had, watching films and talking with the filmmakers. ...
We constantly have filmmakers remark on how hospitable and inviting both the audience and the city of Colorado Springs is during their stay. This word is spreading through the independent film community, and this year we have a record number of filmmakers attending: over 70 filmmakers representing around 40 films will be attending, some from as far away as Europe.
Indy: What are you most excited about this year?
JT: We have so many great films this year ... everything from the animated film, My License, directed by a sixth-grader, to Saving Face and films that are veterans to the festival circuit, like our opening night film, Wild Horse Wild Ride, which has garnered dozens of awards at festivals around the world.
We also have a huge number of world premieres, like our Friday night film Indie Jonesing. We even have one film, Supporting Characters, which we can't show until Saturday because it is world premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City the day prior. We also have an amazing assortment of foreign films this year from Germany, Italy, China, Japan and Bangladesh, to name a few.