August 24-27, 2017 in Middlebury Vermont
First and second-time filmmakers (in their category) may enter films to the festival. As the third annual festival, there were quite a few returning directors and plenty of new faces as well. The small town atmosphere created an intimacy that gave young filmmakers access to some of the more experienced folks there to screen tribute films and participate in panels. This year the organizers Jay Kraven and Lloyd Komesar were proud to announce that half the films accepted were created by women, a huge leap forward in this male-driven industry.
I volunteered for the festival as a “head volunteer” which meant I was in charge of the other volunteers at the theater I was placed at (the Town Hall Theater), head count, pulling the curtain and setting up mics and chairs, and distributing and collecting the audience award ballots. It was all a little overwhelming at first, but I got the hang of it by the end of the first day. And the days were long! Over 12 hours on one of them, and other two over 10. There were films to see, parties to attend, ushers to wrangle, and directions to give. At the end of each day there were cocktail parties and champagne receptions to attend.
Films I saw and loved:
- Take My Nose… Please! directed by Joan Kroan
- One Big Home directed by Thomas Bena
- Marathon: The Patriots Day Bombing directed by Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg
There were so many films playing that I really wanted to see, but there was so much overlap of the films and I was so busy that I missed most of the ones on my list. Check out the full list of films here. Of the films I did catch, I was blown away by the creativity and hard work of all the directors that came to the festival. Some of these films took several years to shoot and edit, often on smaller budgets.
Jen (my best friend/cousin) worked on the festival for months to get it ready. She was the video coordinator, which involved putting together the trailer and other video promotional materials before the festival began. But it’s a smaller festival, so she did so much more than that. I’m really impressed by all the hard work that she and the other two women, Phoebe and Rachel, put into the event. They were constantly talking to sponsors and filmmakers, checking things with the theaters and organizing parties and transportation. As exhausted as I was by the end of the festival, those three girls worked about a hundred times harder to pull off the event.