He also sets up video programs for the Arts Academy at Summit and at the Southeast YMCA in coordination with Stark State College, among his other commitments. His work as the director of the Canton Film Festival, though, keeps him busiest.
“I am always seeking out what is going on in the film scene in Northeast Ohio,” said Waters. “I am also always researching other popular festivals, like Sundance, South By Southwest Festival, Tribeca, and other popular festivals.”
Canton, he said, has real potential for independent filmmakers, mainly because it is the perfect location and has four seasons, and Ohio has “great tax incentives” to film here.
Waters is part of a team that includes Jayson Shenk, the Canton Film Festival art director, and Andrea Young, the Canton Film Festival coordinator.
“We view the festival as a ‘learning’ festival,” Waters said. “It gives filmmakers in the area a unique chance to interact with working professionals in the film industry and to pick their brains on the moviemaking process. We have brought writers, special-effects makeup artists, directors, producers and movie stars to Canton to be a part of the festival.”
The festival is held annually the first weekend in October at the Canton Palace Theatre.
“Some of my favorite moments of each year’s festival is the planning and organization process,” said Waters. “Usually, we meet up at Muggswigz or Basil and have a brainstorming session where we decide on the color scheme, guests and categories, as well as consider any of the positives and negatives of the previous years’ festivals. Luckily, Canton Film has been blessed with the support of the Herbert Hoover Foundation, a wonderful venue and staff at the Canton Palace Theatre, dedicated volunteers and the support of the great city of Canton.”