ITVFest will be back next year


DOVER -- Although the 1,000 ticket quota request by Independent Television and Film Festival founder A.J. Tesler was not met, he did approve of the location.

On Wednesday night, it was announced on Twitter that ITVFest will return to the Deerfield Valley for next year. Both Tesler and festival organizer Phil Gilpin had thought the festival had been a success. They were not alone.

There weren't enough seats in the room for all the supporters of the ITVFest who came to the Dover Selectboard meeting to praise last weekend's event.

"The excitement was contagious," said Linda Anelli, who volunteered at a tent in Dover on Friday. "The interaction of professionals -- the question and answer with producers, actors and editors -- was absolutely first class."

On Oct. 1, the Dover Selectboard heard from residents and business owners during public comment. Anelli brought up the Sundance Film Festival, which was created in Park City, Utah, and how it had effectively turned the town into a mecca for film and arts.

The 8th Annual ITVFest was held from Sept. 26 to 28 in Dover and Wilmington. Multiple screening tents were set up around the Deerfield Valley with vendors and musicians scattered along Route 100. It brought people from places such as Los Angeles and New York City as well as London and Denmark, the festival's organizer Phil Gilpin Jr. told the Reformer.

Local resident Dave Cerchio said his favorite part was the interaction between fans and the filmmakers.

"They would take as much time as necessary to go into detail," he said. "They were just so thrilled."

One inn owner told the Selectboard that a filmmaker will be returning in June to shoot a movie at his inn.

"We talked to several filmmakers, who had been to (festivals in) Hollywood and other ones. They said it was a lot better than any of the ones there," he added.

A volunteer told the board that she didn't feel like the festival was something she would have been a part of had it not been in the valley.

"Some fellows who won awards and had Broadway credits were standing outside buying baked goods, talking to the Twin Valley High School kids, including them in the event, appreciating the way our valley works," she said. "I said, ‘This wouldn't have happened in L.A.' and they said, ‘Oh no.' We owe it to them another chance to come back."

Mostly, the supporters were at the meeting to ask the Selectboard that if the Dover Economic Development Department comes to request funds for ITVFest in the future, to please approve.

On Route 100, the parking lot where the Valley View Saloon was heavily occupied throughout the festival, attendees parked there and could walk to several venues along the Valley Trail.

"My business went up," said Valley View Saloon proprietor Ramie Demers. "It was better than average. The people were all good and it opened a lot of eyes to the valley that might not have otherwise been here. I saw a lot of new people."

He told the Reformer that he thought all the business owners did their part to ensure it went well.

Next door, Layla's Riverside Lodge was used as a venue for musical performances with vendor tents extending along the stretch of Valley Trail in front of his inn.

"There was a huge increase in people," said Layla's Riverside Lodge Owner and Operator Sandy MacDougall. "Phil had a vision and showed people the vision of what could be done for more than just ITVFest."

He said there should be more events like it, such as a jazz festival, in the area. MacDougall also believes ITVFest could stand the test of time, if there was a little more local support.

"There was a good buzz of people," he concluded. "I think for its first year, it was phenomenal. Now, it's just honing in on the logistics."

MacDougall said he would take part in the festival again and offer his property as a venue.

Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.


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