Introducing The Essay Film Collaborative: Intercoastal Adventures with Mark Troy

ManaSota Films founder Mark Troy continues his mission to create a vibrant and active local film scene with the creation of a new intercity endeavor entitled the Essay Film Collaborative, uniting filmmakers in Sarasota-Bradenton with like-minded creatives in Savannah, Georgia and San Diego, California.

The idea just “popped into my head,” said Troy, who has seen ManaSota Films grow steadily in its three years, the ranks swelling to include more than 1,000 members today networking and sharing resources and ideas. Taking the model to the next level seemed like a natural expansion, and longtime ties with San Diego, Troy’s former home, made that city a logical choice. ManaSota screens an annual ‘Best Of’ featuring films out of San Diego and Troy just served as judge for a local film festival. As for Savannah, Troy recently made contact starring in a short film called Headlocked at Savannah College of Art and Design. “I had a great time,” said Troy. “The people were great, the city was great and the vibe was great.”

Taking the initiative, “I just did it,” said Troy. Reaching out to friends and strangers on both coasts, Troy laid the groundwork before establishing a digital presence and garnered more than 100 members within four days once he did.

“At the very least, there can be sharing of ideas and films,” said Troy, “but the sky’s the limit.” As he did with ManaSota Films, Troy wants to act as facilitator, bringing artists together who might otherwise not had the opportunity, then standing back and letting the energy take over; but the new scale provides new opportunities, and an exciting innovation for independent filmmaking – filmmakers on either coast, in any participating city, can acquire shots from that local community. So an independent film with a shoestring budget and no resources for travel can still get that California establishing shot or Florida swamp flyover by reaching out and collaborating or trading with the corresponding community on the opposite coast.

“What would be really cool is if we could make a collaborative film that incorporated all three cities,” said Troy. “The possibilities are limitless.”


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