By Mike Dilley Executive Director, Eugene International Film Festival
The Eugene International Film Festival celebrated its 10th season with the world premiere screening of The American Gandhi, starring James Patrick Stuart (All My Children, Still Standing, Monsters vs. Angels). The EIFF has celebrated filmmaking with awards, receptions, workshops and networking with celebrity mentors throughout its first decade.
Hosting the red carpet gala, premiere and VIPs associated with the making of The American Gandhi was a fitting tribute to the pluck it takes to bring a story to the screen. Producer Hari Ghadia was presented with the festival trophy for Best Film in the 2015 Eugene International Film Festival. The film was also awarded at the EIFF with the Best Cinematography award for its locations and sets used in filming. “I would like to thank the jury of EIFF for this award. We hope to start a global conversation about illegal mining with this inspirational story,” said Ghadia, while accepting the award.
Guests from as far away as McMurdo Station, Antarctica, and Melbourne, Australia, have joined with others from across North America and Europe to enjoy the camaraderie of the festival, wineries, brewpubs, river paths, bicycling, and easily accessible locations such as the Oregon Coast.
It is no stretch of the imagination that the screenplay for The American Gandhi originated in Eugene, a region that many in world arts call home. There is something about the quality of life that makes people creative.
Director and co-writer Joseph Mungra is no exception. He has created a number of independent films, shooting within the region, in Hollywood, Greece and now India. Joining him in creating The American Gandhi were area residents Kale Dawes (co-author and sound design) and casting director Linda Burden-Williams.
In The American Gandhi, Mark Martin (James Patrick Stuart), an experienced mining analyst, is hired by his billionaire friend Brad Harrison (Jim Storm, The Bold and the Beautiful) to manage and upgrade rare earth metal mines in India. Confident, but naive, Mark finds himself on the horns of a dilemma. Does he cater to rampant police corruption and blatant disregard for the law, or follow his conscience? No matter the choice, he will pay a price.