First North Country Film Festival debuts next week at The Balsams
Hollywood is coming to northern New England, in the form of the first North Country Film Festival.
The projectors are nearly ready to roll for the first Flickers North Country Film Festival at The Balsams Grand Resort, in Dixville, N.H.
Starting Thursday, Sept. 30, the four-day film festival will screen 60 films from 21 countries.
“It’s a chance you don’t get every day,” said Gary Armitage, festival coordinator and vice president of sales and new business development for The Balsams.
The film festival will give local residents a chance to see a variety of films and also interact with people from the film world, Armitage said.
The festival has a broad appeal, since visitors aren’t limited to watching movies, but can also enjoy autumn in the North Country.
“You can have a great weekend up here,” said Armitage. “You can watch films but you don’t have to watch films if you don’t want to.”
The resort partnered with the Rhode Island International Film Festival to start the local event.
R.I.I.F.F. saw the Balsams as a beautiful location and thought it would be a good spot to hold a film festival, he said.
Once the partnership was established, R.I.I.F.F. provided The Balsams everything needed to stage the festival.
“R.I.F.F. came forward and said: ‘Look we can give you a festival in a box to get you started,’” Armitage said.
The first year's program includes 35 short films, six feature-length films and 18 documentaries.
The festival showcases mainly short films but also offers Franco films and locally produced films like “Indian Stream Schoolhouse,” which tells the story of New Hampshire’s Indian Stream Republic.
There will also be two special guests: screenwriter Chris Sparling and actress Marlyn Mason.
Sparling wrote the soon-to-open “Buried,” starring Ryan Reynolds; and Mason has appeared in both film and television, alongside the likes of Elvis Presley and Bruce Lee.
The festival is designed to be user friendly, Armitage said, and offer people a chance to see some interesting films and mix with producers, actors, writers and other Hollywood people.
Aside from showcasing films, the overall goal of starting the festival is to lay the groundwork for a creative arts-based economy in the North Country, he said.
“It would help the area. I really believe that.”
If the festival goes well, Armitage said, it could lead to greater things.
For instance, organizers are already looking at expanding to satellite locations, hoping to create a more regional impact.
For more information on the festival, go to: northcountryfilmfestival.org.