LOWVILLE — Better than a lottery ticket, a dollar and a dream is what it took for Bryan Higby, a 1993 Lowville Academy graduate, to be able to bring one of his favorite author’s short stories to life in a film. Now he’s bringing that film and nine others to the village for a special film festival.
The Stephen King Dollar Baby Film Festival will feature 10 short films, including Mr. Higby’s “Here There Be Tygers,” based on short works by best-selling author, Stephen King, at the Lowville Town Hall Theater on Oct. 19.
The festival was created by Mr. Higby with the help of theater co-owner Patrick O’Brien and his family, Mr. Higby said, and is exclusive to the Town Hall, although many “dollar baby” films are being included and featured in other film festivals around the world.
Mr. Higby said he has been invited to bring “Tygers” and speak at the Hudson Valley Community College Arts Festival and has been approached to be a part of the Stephen King retrospective to be held at the George Eastman Museum, Rochester. His 11-minute short film will also be played at a festival in the Netherlands.
Mr. King first gave permission for one of his short works to be made into a film in exchange for $1 in 1982. However, the rules of the “dollar deal policy” weren’t established until the 1996 introduction for “The Shawshank Redemption: The Shooting Script.”
While Mr. King’s full-length works are not available in the program, his website features 25 of his short stories and poems that are still available to potential baby film makers.
“These stories are not under contract for movies, which means they are available for film students who want to try their hands at a Stephen King story,” Mr. King said in his website page dedicated to the program.
Although the students taking Mr. King up on this offer are not allowed to screen their films commercially, including on YouTube or other online outlets, except in film festivals or with special permission, they can use their work for their own professional gain and, importantly, they must send a copy to Mr. King directly.
This last requirement is likely the hidden lottery-like hope in this dollar-and-a-dream premise.
Frank Darabont, the second-ever dollar baby, so impressed Mr. King with his work on the short story “The Woman in the Room” in 1982, Mr. King brought him in to write the film adaptations and direct “Shawshank Redemption” and “The Green Mile,” both Academy nominated, critically acclaimed film classics.
The program has become so popular, according to the website, no new applications to become dollar babies will be accepted until about December so that the applications already received can be processed.
The film festival begins at 10 a.m. Oct. 19 at the Town Hall Theater, 5428 Shady Ave. in Lowville, with dollar babies’ short films ranging from seven to 30 minutes in length.