WILMINGTON -- Local freelance videographer Tim Lawrence will have the chance to show his new docuseries to a large crowd.
"Forgotten Rails" will premiere at the eighth annual Independent Television and Film Festival on Sept. 28, at noon, in Wilmington's Memorial Hall.
"The goal is go out and explore different railroads, whether active or non-active," Lawrence said.
After graduating in 2002 with a degree in filmmaking, he decided to shoot a full-length documentary about the Hoosac Tunnel in Western Massachusetts. Studying railroads had become a fascinating hobby for him.
"I was thinking, ‘How can I make a career out of this?'" said Lawrence.
The festival will be held over that weekend by organizer Phil Gilpin Jr. and screenings will take place at locations around Dover and Wilmington. For schedules, visit ITVFest.com.
Lawrence, 34, who grew up in Brattleboro, currently owns property in Windham. He will be among several other directors from Vermont showing their work at the festival.
Initially having heard about the festival from his in-laws, Lawrence submitted the docuseries.
"My wife works in Manhattan and has ties with people there who wanted to come up for it," said Lawrence. "They saw I was a producer and said, ‘Why don't you do something?'"
On Aug. 22, Lawrence attended a screening for the festival at One More Time, a restaurant in Dover. Gilpin has been taking several trailers for accepted submissions on the road to gain momentum for the upcoming event.
When Lawrence ran into Gilpin, he told him he had submitted the docuseries but hadn't heard if he made the cut.
"When I said, ‘Forgotten Rails,' he said he didn't recognize me without my dog," said Lawrence.
His Siberian husky, Aries, is part of the project. They travel around and explore the grounds of railroads around the country. Aries is actually his co-host.
So far, the episode slated to air at ITVFest covers the West River Railroad, which had provided transportation from Brattleboro to South Londonderry. The other episode that Lawrence has filmed is set at the Connecticut Trolley Museum.
Lawrence had agreed to film a commercial for the museum and the owners opened the museum up for him to shoot an episode. Both episodes are 22 minutes long, fashioned after a typical television show. One of his ideas, if the show is ever picked up, includes having viewers submit their own suggestions for which railroads to research and film as part of the docuseries.
For now, Lawrence's biggest challenge has been the budget: $0.
"There's always the challenges of getting people, timing, even finding someone to be videographer for the day," said Lawrence. "I needed a filming hand and relied on friends and family for that. I had to reorganize my schedule to align with theirs."
In the past, he had sent submissions in to other festivals but had never been accepted. For ITVFest, "Forgotten Rails" will be included in a screening event specifically geared towards local history or local value. It will not be included in the competitive portion of the festival but it will likely be seen by many eyes.
Even if his work had not been accepted for screening, Lawrence still planned on attending the festival.
"It's such a big event, especially for a freelance media producer," he said. "How often do you have all these people coming to your area?"
Martin Kasindorf's "Little White School House on the Lake" is another project that will be shown in Memorial Hall during the same screening event.
Official selections by Vermont creators include Robert Fritz' short film "AKT2," Matthew Day's short film "Shape of Things to Come," Ed Greenberg's comedy web series "Frobisher's Revenge," and Patrick King's documentary "Q Cross."
For more information on Lawrence's productions, visit IMRFilms.com.
Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or email@example.com. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.