Student teaching while obtaining his master’s degree, Frank DiCesare didn’t realize that a film segment in an English class would shape his ideas for his film-making debut. The professor he was shadowing thought it would be a great idea to use film as a vehicle to showcase the lesson he was teaching. Within that segment, DiCesare followed along, watching a short film about Alfred Hitchcock and another, called Glas, by Bert Haanstra. Glas, a poetic documentary, told the story of the glass industry in the Netherlands. It shows how the glass is made on the production line and by artisans, hand-blowing the glass into various goods. He was mesmerized by the visuals with just a faint song in the background, no dialogue, just the art in front of him.
Throughout his 20 years as a journalist and photographer, DiCesare always had a passion for film and kept that experience from student teaching in the back of his mind, but just wondered how he would pay homage to an Academy Award winning short film. When the opportunity arose to write a piece for the US News on the city of Beaumont, DiCesare did his homework, which led him to Spindletop Gladys City Boomtown.
Walking into the gift shop he ran into a man with a good-looking beard, otherwise known as Rob Flurry, the resident blacksmith. His wheels turning in his head, DiCesare knew what his project would be. A documentary on blacksmithing would offer great visuals and memorable stills just like Glas presented 50 years before. With an “okay” from Flurry and the help of Professor Mahmoud Salimi and Tyler Hargrave from Lamar University, DiCesare got started on the film he always had a desire to make.
Now, with the premiere coming up, DiCesare, the President and CEO of Oskar Films, is ready to show his work to the community. “Blacksmiths are hard to find,” said DiCesare. “When the opportunity came up to show the story of an art form that is barely practiced anymore, I knew I had to jump on it. Lamar University and Professor Salimi have been sensational and Rob has been so patient and an amazing subject to film.”
The premiere will take place on October 28 at the Jefferson Theatre in Beaumont. There will be two films shown, Blacksmith, the poetic documentary, and Fire and Steel, an interview with Rob Flurry. Afterwards, both DiCesare and Flurry will take questions from the audience and encourage the attendees to participate.
Blacksmith will be a film experience unlike any other that showcases the history of Beaumont and the importance of keeping it alive. Through this film, DiCesare hopes it will encourage others to find an interest in blacksmithing and the wonderful art that is made by the incredible people who have preserved its history.