RBRATTLEBORO >> The Brattleboro Film Festival (BFF) and Northern Routes Film Collaborative (NRFC) are bringing 'Summer Cinema Slam' to a new venue with a fresh lineup of Vermont-made films and filmmakers at an indoor/outdoor mixer featuring live music, food trucks and summer brews on Saturday, Aug. 27 from 5:30 to 11 p.m. Building on the success of a sold-out 2015 event, BFF teams up with the newly formed NRFC to stage the fundraiser at the New England Youth Theater at 100 Flat St., Brattleboro. The NRFC was formed in 2016 as a networking tool for media professionals living in southern Vermont and surrounding regions and to support local filmmaking. The presenters share a mission to create opportunities for conversation around films and filmmaking.
This year's Slam presents a slate of films made by Vermonters followed by filmmaker Q and As, a hallmark of this film-focused event. During the outdoor intermission, guests can sample offerings from Taste of Thai and Messers Mobile Melts, and top off a meal with free ice cream provided by the organizers. This year's micro-brewery is new to Windham County. J'ville Brewery will have several of their craft beer selections on tap as well as wine by the glass from Honora Winery
Merry Elder, president of BFF, says "Summer Cinema Slam is such a wonderful, fun event – and it's important to us because it gives an opportunity to highlight some choice local and Vermont made Dozens of films were screened before settling on this year's program. Brenda Carr, one of the organizers of the event, likes the challenge of short films. "People may not realize how difficult it is to create a short film that embodies a cohesive narrative. I spent many hours searching through the archives of previous festivals searching for the perfect combination of films."
The Summer Cinema Slam opens at 5:30 p.m., giving early birds a chance to mingle or visit the food and beer vendors before the shorts program gets started at 6:15 p.m. with "Fire," a narrative from Ben Silberfarb of Norwich. The perfect antidote for a hot summer day, the film is set in the snowy cold landscape of Vermont, a modern version of Jack London's short story "To Build a Fire." "The Land" screens next, directed by Middlebury College professor Erin Davis. This documentary explores nature of play, risk and hazard set in a Welsh adventure playground. At "The Land," children climb trees, light fires and use hammers and nails in a play-space rooted in the belief that kids are empowered when they learn to manage risks on their own. Film is followed by Q and A with guest speaker Morgan Leichter-Saxby, a Brattleboro resident and expert in Playwork.
The final film in the shorts program, "Bad Robbers," comes from Waterbury dairy farmer and actor George Woodard. From a role in "Ethan Frome" to hosting his own home-grown variety show, Woodard embodies the versatility and ingenuity of Vermont filmmakers. "Bad Robbers" is his latest film, a black and white slapstick comedy that pays tribute to the silent film era.
Starting at 8 p.m., the intermission gets underway with live music from Riley Goodmote's Voetstap, an "eclectic concoction of trombone-centric solo goodness," while people have a chance to visit the food trucks, try a craft beer and mingling with filmmakers.
The feature program begins at 9 p.m. with John O'Brien's comedy "Man with a Plan." In this 20th anniversary screening, Slam introduces this must-see Vermont film to a new audience. Fred Tuttle, faced with his father's impending hip operation and his failing farm, needs to make a six-digit salary with a 10th-grade education. So he decides to run for Congress against wily incumbent Bill Blachley. "I've spent my whole life in the barn," Mr. Tuttle says, "now I just want to spend a little time in the House." The New York Times called the film "hilarious," and "Mr. O'Brien, who earned praise for his 1992 film,"Vermont Is for Lovers," not only has a keen sense of the lunacy of politics but also has a sensitive ear for sprightly musical accompaniment and an artist's eye for the natural beauties of Vermont, which is displayed in all its autumn glory." Director O'Brien will attend.
The event is sponsored by Mondo Mediaworks, a Brattleboro based marketing agency that produces award-winning content that is both useful and entertaining; Filmmaker Sponsor is Southern Vermont Young Professionals, a professional development and social networking program created to attract, retain, and support a young professional community throughout the region. Tickets available for purchase online through the BFF web site at brattleborofilmfestival.org, or at Everyone's Books, 25 Elliot Street in Brattleboro up until 3 p.m. the day of the event. Ticket prices are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors / students / children. Ticket prices do not cover food or drink purchases. Those who intend to drink alcohol at the event must bring ID.
The Brattleboro Film Festival (BFF) presents films from the USA and around the world that inform, challenge, entertain, and inspire, emphasizing viewpoints and characters often unseen in mainstream media. Run completely by volunteers and partnering with local organizations, BFF produces and promotes special events, spotlights issues to raise awareness, facilitates dialog, and increases audience diversity through community participation. See website at brattleborofilmfestival.org The Northern Routes Film Collaborative (NRFC) is a networking tool for media professionals living in Southern Vermont and surrounding regions. The collaborative provides opportunities to connect both in the digital space and face to face.