Saturday, March 22, 2008

Green Mountain Film Festival

The only magazine subscription I have is Vermont Life. One reason is because it only comes out quarterly, so being the pack rat that I am, I don't have a lot of issues piling up fast that I have to not throw out. But also I get them for the stories, and--the pictures. Oh, the pictures.

I found in the latest issue a story pertinent to the conversation here. At this moment the Green Mountain Film Festival is going on in a small town in Vermont--their state capital--at the Savoy Theater (their single-screen art house) and the City Hall Arts Center. They have about 38 or so films showing for its duration, about half of them documentaries. The thing runs from March 21-30 this year.

A couple things I find interesting about it:

They don't give prizes or rank the films, for the organizers of the event view it as a distraction. They feel anyway that such a thing seems kind of arbitrary. I like how they think!

Also there is no open call soliciting films for each year's festival, and there's no application fee that other festivals often use as a source of revenue. Rather, a committee scours the world for films. It is a curated festival. And, they don't do themes. They just want the best (mostly current) films they can find, plus give a nod to local talent.

The centerpiece of their festival is the film critic event. They get notable film critics like Kenneth Turan to attend by convincing them that Montpelier is the place they want to be at the end of March. I don't know how they do that exactly... This is also the perfect time for Vermonters to attend such an event, because as most other places have four seasons, Vermont has five--spring, summer, fall, winter, and mud. Things are just starting to warm up, and people are getting out more after the long winter--but it's a bit messy for outdoor activity, so this event comes at about the right time.

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