So we all know Phoenix is going to be brimming this weekend with all the ballers and shot-callers an NBA All-Star game usually brings with it. But between the popping of bubbly and the dunking of balls, we can all still carve out a little time for some culture, can we not? Tonisha Johnson, the founder and CEO of TOMI Enterprises, is keeping her fingers crossed.
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Her TOMI Film Festival hits Phoenix this weekend, with events and screenings Thursday through Saturday. TOMI, which stands for "The Other Movie Industry," bills itself as a festival that "builds relationships between the filmmaker and the business of entertainment." They say their mission is to "supply the filmmaker with not just a financial means of celebratory satisfaction but a more structured business that will incorporate a multitude of actual on-hands work." Several movies will be screening over the weekend, including "Becoming Michael" and "Dirty Girl," with Q&As with filmmakers peppered throughout.
There are a ton of film festivals out there, so how is TOMI not like the others? Johnson points out that the filmmaker with the winning entry doesn't simply get a check, but a "team" of people to help get them started in the film industry, including an established publicist and a financial advisor. Which, yknow, sounds like it would be far more useful to an up-and-coming filmmaker than a check that might as well say, "Spend on blow and hookers" on the memo line.
If nothing else, TOMI could be a fun alternative to watching Amare Stoudemire make like the king shit of Phoenix for the weekend. And who knows, a few years from now you could be the cool guy at the party who saw--insert future famous director's name here's--first film.