Saturday, June 26th, our film “Number 9” premiered at the first annual New Hope Film Festival in New Hope, PA. Erin’s currently working in Spain so I headed up to New Hope to represent our film, watch some other films and do some networking.
First off, New Hope is just such a nice trip to make. If you like Bed and Breakfasts, antique shopping or knick knacks, go to New Hope. On the drive up, I was reminded of the beauty of rural Pennsylvania. Trees stand tall here and there in Philly, but rural Pennsylvania fills your entire peripheral vision with lush green. I found this sets my mind at ease.
New Hope sits right on the Delaware River. If you’re really lucky, instead of just feeding the local geese, you’ll witness two geese battle along the shore amid the squawking din of a circle of other geese and ducks. It was like watching a fight in high school. No joke, I was nearly front row for such a display on Sunday and I captured some video. Maybe we’ll post that video at a later date…
So this festival! My primary contacts at the event were D. F. Whipple, Founder and Chairman of the festival, and Thom Michael Mulligan (pictured above), Director of Submissions. Both of these guys were incredibly supportive and welcoming. Since our acceptance email months ago, we’ve received numerous emails from Mr. Whipple saying how much he loved our film. While at the festival, they both made it their job to make sure the filmmakers and patrons were getting the most out of the experience. Thanks guys.
There were two venues showing films concurrently, so right away I had to pick and choose the films I was going to see. I saw a number of films from the short program on Saturday and most of two features. “Black Field” is definitely worth a Netflix rental. The film takes place in the Canadian prairies in the 1870s and focuses on two sisters whose lives are turned upside down upon the arrival of a French trapper. Some excellent acting and beautiful scenery are the main selling points of this film. Both girls fall for the trapper, who may or may not have a shady past. The older sister is given the burden of trying to sort out what’s right for everyone involved. The short film “The Book of Tomorrow” was excellent evoking Stephen Spielberg’s “E.T.” and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” “The Dispensables,” a German film, won the Jury Award for Best Picture. I didn’t catch the film, but the buzz was very positive.
“Number 9” played Saturday night at 11pm along with 3 other short films in the Late Night Existential series. The viewing went well and we had quite a few questions during the Q and A even though it was well after midnight by that point. People were interested in where the film was shot (Eastern State Penitentiary), how we came up with the idea for the film, who made the music (the amazing Andrew Alburn), etc. The excitement about our project and the feedback from the other filmmakers in attendance made the evening a success.
The awards ceremony was held Sunday evening at Havana Restaurant and Bar. “Number 9” did not walk away with the audience award for Best Short Film, but I’m not surprised given the late showing of our film. Plus, I’m sure there were some really great films playing. I saw a few that I very much enjoyed; however, I did not see the film that won our category.
As I mentioned early, this was the first New Hope Film Festival. The founders are already planning next years festival, and I suspect this festival will continue to grow and gain a solid reputation over the coming years. New Hope is the perfect town for such an event, and we look forward to submitting our future projects to the festival. Until then, “Number 9″ is still awaiting a response from several other festivals to which we’ve applied.
On July 28th, ‘Number 9” will be playing at the NewFilmmakers Summer Series at 9:15pm in New York City, 32 2nd Avenue at 2nd Street. Both Erin and I will be in attendance so if you are in the area, come say hello and catch our film!