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By Guy D’Astolfo
The film will be shown May 8.
YOUNGSTOWN — “The Guilty Verdict,” a short film by Art Byrd, has been accepted by the Ohio Independent Film Festival, to be held May 5-11 in Cleveland.
Byrd, of Boardman, is a photojournalist at WFMJ Channel 21 and a filmmaker. He wrote the scripts for both films.
He submitted another of his films, “Emotional Reload,” to the Hollywood Black Film Festival in Los Angeles, but it was not accepted.
Both film festivals had deadlines within days of each other in mid-February. “It was crazy preparing film festival and press packets for two different films for two different film festivals because of the amount of information needed for both,” said Byrd, who had high hopes that both films would be accepted.
He was overjoyed when he heard that “Verdict” had been accepted, but it was quickly tempered when he learned the next day that “Reload” had been rejected. “I went from feeling really great to being a little bummed out because I really wanted two for two. One is better than none,” said Byrd.
“Emotional Reload” was shot in Youngstown, Austintown and Columbiana over a span of three years. It tells the story of two detectives — played by John Janacone of Poland and Andy Schofield of Cleveland — who go after gun dealers through raids at their warehouses. The gun dealers come after the detectives, shooting one and kidnapping the other’s girlfriend, played by Italian actress Lia Gotti. The lone detective must face the gun dealers to get his girl back.
The film also stars Cornel Bogdan, a local radio personality, as the evil gun dealer. The cast of “Reload” includes more than 35 local actors.
“The Guilty Verdict” is based on a 2006 Jane Magazine article (written by Kate Torgovnick) about guilt and what happens when the guilty person comes clean about what he has done.
It stars Noelle Nackino and Ryan Kalby of Boardman, Brooke Slanina of Campbell, and April Needham and Matt Kellums of Cleveland. It was filmed in Youngstown (Cedars Lounge and Wick Park) and Byrd’s home in Boardman. Byrd also wrote the musical score.
“The Guilty Verdict” will be shown at the OIFF at 4 p.m. May 8 as part of the shorts program. It will be screened at the Cleveland Public Theatre’s Gordon Square Theatre, 6405 Detroit Ave, Cleveland.
The film is the fourth film Byrd has had in the OIFF. The others were “On Line Love” (1996), “A Crime Opera” (2002) and “Eyes Wide Open” (2005).
Most of “Emotional Reload” and the trailer for “The Guilty Verdict,” along with interviews with the actors and director, can be seen on YouTube and MySpace.com/arthurbyrd. Byrd plans to have all of “Emotional Reload” online in a few weeks.