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“How Do You Know If the Festival is a Scam?” Martha Shane on Narrowsburg

A well-meaning regional film festival can be welcoming and tightly curated—a true community endeavor. A bad one can be a deceitful scam. Such was the case with the Narrowsburg International Independent Film Festival, founded in 2001 by a couple from nearby New York City.  Things didn’t start out so rocky. After a successful first year and an inaugural picture show in the books, the husband and wife wanted to expand upon the event (and the town’s exposure) by featuring its setting and community in a low-budget indie, Four Deadly Reasons, about the mafia invading the town. Its star? The festival’s […]

Dictators, Predators and Magical Thinkers (and Some Combination Thereof): Doubling Up at DOC NYC

Now in its 10th year (though still in November, AKA doc-tsunami festival month) the upcoming DOC NYC is celebrating the anniversary with a wealth of nonfiction riches. Boasting a whopping 300-plus films and events — including 28 world premieres and 27 US premieres — this year’s edition will also be hosting an eclectic array of guests. On hand will be everyone from musician Robbie Robertson — star of Daniel Roher’s Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band, which opens the fest — to fashion force-of-nature André Leon Talley (who starred in Kate Novack’s The Gospel According to André just […]

Avoiding Festivalitis: 2019 Camden International Film Festival and Points North Pitch

Every year, the Camden International Film Festival manages a nifty magic trick. Its ambition swells within the concise duration of what amounts to a holiday weekend (if the second Friday of September was deemed, say, National Non-Fiction Day), with the same handful of venues, including two opera houses and a gorgeous vintage bijou, in three adjacent towns in northern seaside Maine. Marking its 15th year this September, CIFF–produced under the umbrella of the Points North Institute – consistently ups the stakes for filmmakers and audiences, without suffering from the dreaded festivalitis: the condition that arises when film festivals become all […]