Movie Maniac

Wichitan a finalist in ‘Project Imaginat10n’ film contest

I wrote in July about “Project Imaginat10n,” a film contest sponsored by Canon where entrants create a short film inspired by a series of crowd-sourced photographs.

The project is the mastermind of Oscar-winning director Ron Howard and his daughter, Bryce Dallas Howard, to celebrate and inspire creativity. The contest received hundreds of entries, and this week the top 20 finalists were announced — and one of them is a Wichitan.

Geneva Arena, 27, is among the finalists with her short film “The Donor.” It was produced by her and Adam Williamson, and features local actors (including Amanda Blackmon, Delno Ebie and Naythan Smith) and crew.

It’s a huge feat, and Arena says she is “very excited about all of it.”

The film, which is 10 minutes long, is a moody, dreamy look at a woman grappling to save someone she loves. Arena says production on the film took about a month. She wrote the script based on the required 10 photographs and directed the film; Williamson shot and edited the piece.

Now that the 20 finalists have been announced, Howard, his daughter and a panel of judges will screen all the films and narrow the field to five winners. Those films will be showcased as “A Ron Howard Presentation” at Canon’s Project Imaginat10n Film Festival in September in New York City.

The films will be shown alongside those by five celebrity directors invited to participate in the project, including actress Eva Longoria, actor Jamie Foxx, entrepreneur Biz Stone (co-founder of Twitter), designer Georgina Chapman and businessman James Murphy.

Arena works as an aircraft assembly mechanic in Wichita. She is also bassist for local band Barrelbright. She hopes to continue making films, no matter the outcome of the contest.

“I’m very happy to make it this far,” she said. “If nothing else happens – I mean, Ron Howard is going to watch my film. How amazing is that?”

All of the finalist films can be viewed at

Drive-in rescue — El Dorado’s Star-Vu Drive-in is part of a national competition to win a free digital projector.

The contest is being sponsored by Honda, which will donate five digital projectors – at about $80,000 each – to struggling drive-ins around the country.

Online voting decides who the winners will be. To vote for the Star-Vu Drive-in, go to You can also vote by texting “vote36” to 444999. You can vote twice in a day but only once online or by text.

The Star-Vu is Kansas’ second-oldest drive-in, opened in 1949. It currently is not open. Scholfield Honda is helping promote the Star-Vu campaign.

Wichita’s Landmark-Starlite Drive-In already has converted to digital projectors.