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2019 Guest Speakers

Stephen & Mary Pruitt - Saturday, Sept. 7,1:30pm 

Mason City Community Theatre


Award-winning Kansas City independent filmmakers Stephen Wallace Pruitt and Mary Settle Pruitt took the road less traveled. They began making movies at ages 50 and 47 while continuing their respective careers as a college finance and economics professor and a homemaker. Despite having no prior training in film, theater, photography, or creative writing, and working with a tiny cast and crew composed almost entirely of first-timers, the couple's first film, "Works in Progress," played at over a dozen film festivals nationwide and was picked up for distribution by Vanguard Cinema in Hollywood.  Their subsequent efforts, "The Tree" (a Critic's Choice at the 2017 Iowa Independent Film Festival) and their six-part "Terminal," built on this early success and are available for streaming on Amazon. Stephen and Mary's latest film, “The Land,” is playing at the Iowa Independent Film Festival as the second stop on its national festival tour.  The couple is currently hard at work writing the screenplay for their next production, "Dust," to be filmed in 2020.


20 Easy Ways to Ruin Your Great Indie Film (or What Really Matters in Film):

It has been said that wise people learn from their own mistakes but that the really smart ones learn from the mistakes of others. In that helpful spirit, this humorous and informative presentation discusses twenty major pitfalls that tend to trip-up beginning (and even more advanced) filmmakers. Stephen Wallace Pruitt and his wife and partner-in-film, Mary Settle Pruitt, firmly believe that just about anyone can achieve Hollywood-quality production values onany budget if they learn both what they should and shouldn't do during the filmmaking process and then make the efforts necessary to get things done "just right." 



Speaking at The Mason City Community Theatre on Saturday, September 7 at 1:30pm followed by their film: The Land.

Martin Gooch - Thursday, Sept. 5 5pm

Mason City Public Library

GothicManor-Martin Gooch headshot.jpg

at the London Independant Film Festival. Martin has a Master’s Degree in screenwriting from the University of the Arts (London) and has written 21 feature films and sold several scripts to Hollywood. His first 4 movies have won or been nominated for 45 awards including numerous Best Director and Best Film awards. Martin produced and directed the feature length live gig of Claudia Brucken in London in 2013 entitled This Happened.


In 1992 Martin spent six months working for the US Forest Service in Modoc County North California in the archaeological department, which gave him a love of the outdoors and led him to Mount Shasta where 25 years later he returned to film his fourth feature film the sci-fi post-apocalyptic Black Flowers in 2017. Black Flowers had its world premier at the Sitges International Film festival, and Uk premiere at Sci-Fi London at the legendary Prince Charles Cinema Leicester Square and will be released internationally in 2019/2020.


He has spent his life making films and wishes to continue to do so.


Speaking at The Mason City Public Library on Thursday, September 5 at the local filmmaker's night.

Martin Gooch wrote, directed and produced so many short films he released a DVD called: I Made a Feature Film by Mistake, comprised of more than 100 minutes of shorts. His short films The Curse of Ian Spatchcock and Arthur’s Amazing Things were winners with BBC Best New Director (2001/2002) which led Martin to direct Doctors (BBC), Hollyoaks (C4) and Spooks Interactive, which won a BAFTA and was nominated for an EMMY.


Martin started his career working on big budget films like Judge Dredd, Harry Potter, James Bond: Goldeneye and The Muppets as a 2nd and 1st AC (Assistant Cameraman) before becoming an award winning writer and director in his own right. He spent 15 years in the camera department on 200 TV shows and 13 feature films (more than 1000 days on set), including a year working in Australia and two feature films in Tunisia, as a training ground to become a director. He learnt on set from the best people in the business. He wrote/produced/directed and raised the finance for his first feature film DEATH (2012) starring Paul Freeman (Raiders of The Lost Ark) and legendary British actor Leslie Phillips, (star of more than 100 movies) then The Search for Simon, (2013) was listed as one of the top ten comedies of 2013 by the London Film Review. The Gatehouse (2017) won best film

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