If Kyle Bergman wasn’t an architect, he’d be a filmmaker. That’s why the 47-year-old New York resident combined his profession with his passion to create the Architecture and Design Film Festival, a new four-day event taking place at Waitsfield’s Big Picture Theater.
All the proceeds from the festival are being donated to Yestermorrow Design/Build School, where Bergman is a member of the board of directors. Incidentally, Yestermorrow is what first brought Bergman to Vermont — he took a class there in 1985 while getting his degree in architecture. He later purchased a house in Warren and spends a good chunk of time there when he’s not in the city running his own design/build firm.
By Bergman’s count, there are at least 1000 films about architecture and design. And for good reason: The medium offers the next best thing to physical presence in a building. Compared with still photography, says Bergman, “film gives you a better sense with which to feel the space.”
Although a film festival about architecture may sound like it’s aimed at architects, Bergman assures that it’s not. “I think more and more people are caring about where they live, and how it looks and feels,” he says. “I’ve set it up so it has a broad reach.”
The festival is composed of 30 films organized into 12 series with themes such as “Going Green,” “Making Stuff” and “Fluid Art.” Each series, roughly two hours long and shown twice during the festival, includes one or two short films and a medium or long feature. The films chronicle each stage of the design process, from the creative phase to reactions to the final product.
For example, the “Change Happens” series includes two documentaries about how a new project can affect a town and its residents. Downside Up tells the story of North Adams, Mass., which was transformed from an industrial husk of a town to a center of art and creativity by the installation of the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. “Angle of Inspiration” is a short documentary about Santiago Calatrava’s controversial Sundial Bridge in Redding, Calif. The modernist suspension bridge, with its 217-foot-tall working sundial, inspired both awe and opposition among northern Californians.
Another highlight is the Vermont debut of the documentary Objectified, a film that has been shown around the world for the past six years and discusses our relationship with manufactured products and the people who design them. “What can we learn about who we are, and who we want to be, from the objects with which we surround ourselves?” asks Bergman’s synopsis.
A $60 value pass buys you tickets to eight films and two chairlift rides at Sugarbush. Upgrade to the $100 patron pass, and you can see four more films, get a guided tour of three Warren-area homes designed by people who taught at Yestermorrow, and have breakfast with filmmakers on Sunday morning at Sugarbush’s Clay Brook Lodge.
Next year will mark Yestermorrow’s 30th birthday. This festival could be considered an early celebration of that milestone, or just a good excuse to be in the Mad River Valley during foliage season. “You couldn’t pick a better place to do a fall film fest,” says Bergman.