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Local Film: A News Hodge-Podge


Published March 6, 2009 at 3:03 p.m.

Recently I've received a whole lot of press releases and emails about stuff going on locally with film and filmmakers. Since I don't have time or space to cover them all in our State of the Arts section, I thought I'd do a quick roundup.

OK, first up... the Capitol City's Green Mountain Film Festival is coming up, March 20-29. Documentarian Les Blank, who makes films about American regional cultures, is their celebrity guest this year. Also, movie critic Godfrey Cheshire from North Carolina's Independent Weekly. The GMFF will do first Vermont screenings (to my knowledge-- forgive me if I'm wrong!) of Harvard Beats Yale, 29-29 and Katyn. Also, I don't know much about this film (pictured), but it intrigues me.

The Lake Placid Film Forum, which puts on a great fest each June (last year Jonathan Demme was there!), is looking for submissions to its new juried North Country Shorts program. The films should be under 10 minutes; see site for details and an application.

Morrisville is a great little town. It's got the Bijou Cineplex, where I saw plenty of flicks in my formative years (back when they had just one screen), and these days it's got the River Arts Center. Still, it's not the kind of town where you'd expect Bobby Farrelly of the Farrelly Brothers -- yeah, those Farrelly Brothers, of Dumb and Dumber and There's Something About Mary-- to hang out. Nonetheless, on Monday, March 16 at 6:30 p.m., Farrelly will visit River Arts and offer locals " a behind the scenes look at Hollywood movie making." Tickets are $10, but it's likely to sell out; get info at 802-888-1261 or info@riverartsvt.org.

Huntington filmmaker Holly Stadtler will do two local screenings of her doc Finding Our Voices, about stories of domestic resistance to the Iraq War, which started six years ago this month. Look for the film at Merrill's Roxy in Burlington on Wednesday, March 18 at 7 p.m. ($10) and at the Big Picture Theater in Waitsfield on Thursday, March 19 at 7 p.m. ($8).

For a different angle on the Iraq conflict... last year, a group of communications students at Norwich University made a documentary called Vermont Fallen, in which they interviewed the families of 29 Vermont war casualties. It drew national media attention. This year, 30 students are working on a follow-up called The War at Home, about Iraq veterans working to readjust to life stateside.

Back in '05, Susan Green wrote in our pages about an intriguing young Vermont filmmaker named JoDa. Seems his name is now JuDah Cougar, and he sent me a press release this week about the script for his film Departed Harvest, which has been named a finalist in the Cinema City Screenwriter Competition. I suggest checking out the film's site if this tagline piques your curiosity: "A guitarist grows pot to finance his rock band on a former Army base, ruled by vegan-sexuals — who become 666 mercenaries." And he's written it as the potential pilot for a TV series.

Video contests are a dime a dozen these days. Teachers and nonprofits have discovered they're a great way to get young people engaged, and voilà. But I like the theme of this contest organized by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont: "Why should young adults in Vermont get health insurance?" Use a video to tell the public why, and you could win $500. That's what... a fraction of your annual deductible? Still, I'm all for young and healthy folks joining the risk pool.

Finally, for those who care about such things... Watchmen opened at midnight! The reviews are lukewarm, and some are downright scornful, but I still have hopes for this thing.