Special events to be held at MNFF5

MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival-goers can look forward to many special events this year; including a special cinematic presentation with the VSO, a Saturday Film Symposium, signature festival parties, as well as a new film event, “Late Night at the Marquis.”

VSO LIVE

For the third consecutive year, MNFF, the Vermont Symphony Orchestra and Middlebury College’s Mahaney Arts Center will partner to present a special live music cinematic event.  This singular event, unique to MNFF in the film-fest world, will feature the world premiere of last year’s VSO Award Winner Jeremy Lee Mackenzie’s new film “The Greatest Night” — a documentary prequel to his 2018 short, “Hidden Blueprints: The Story of Mikey.” “The Greatest Night” tells the story of Mackenzie’s path from prison to filmmaking, a tale of resilience and metamorphosis. The film’s original score, created by Middlebury Professor and composer Matthew Taylor, will be performed live by the VSO as the film screens. Taylor will conduct the VSO at this performance.    

This event will take place at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 25, at Middlebury College’s Robison Hall in the Mahaney Arts Center.  Tickets are $15, available at the door. MNFF passholders admitted free.

FILM SYMPOSIUM

The Saturday Film Symposium, a series of conversations and panels with special guests and filmmakers, will take place on Saturday, Aug. 24. The series begins at 8:30 a.m. at the Middlebury Inn with “Outstanding Working Actors: MNFF Honoree Bruce Greenwood, Polly Draper, and Jeremy Holm.” MNFF Artistic Director Jay Craven will chat with these three richly experienced actors.

On Saturday afternoon, following the 1:30 p.m. film screenings, MNFF will present two industry discussions, “Navigating the PBS Programming World — Producers and Acquirers Tell All” and “Independent Film Distribution: Where Is The Business Heading?”  Starting at 4 p.m. at the Middlebury Inn, MNFF Producer Lloyd Komesar will moderate the PBS panel, featuring top producers Beth Levison and Michael Rosenfeld along with PBS stalwarts Ron Bachman, Senior Programmer at WGBH, Boston and Eric Ford, Director of Programming at Vermont PBS. This group will share insights on the complexities and importance of America’s national public television service. 

Also at 4 p.m. on Saturday, in Unity Hall of the Congregational Church of Middlebury, Craven will be in conversation with First Run Features VP, Mark Mauceri, on the business of acquiring and distributing independent narratives and documentaries. 

SATURDAY NIGHT PARTY

Duo Roscoe & Etta, featuring national recording artists Maia Sharp and Anna Schulze, will perform at the MNFF’s Saturday Night Party at American Flatbread in Middlebury’s Marble Works, beginning at 9:30 p.m.

Known for her passionate songwriting, Sharp has collaborated with and written for Cher, Art Garfunkel, Carole King, Bonnie Raitt, and the Dixie Chicks, among others. Fans will recognize Sharp’s sound immediately, a signature and dynamic blend of folk, rock and pop framed by electric guitar.

Flatbread and beverages will be provided by MNFF sponsor American Flatbread. Free to passholders; $15 for the general public, at the door.

LATE NIGHT AT THE MARQUIS

New to the Fest this year, MNFF will offer its audiences “Late Night at The Marquis,” a special film presentation on Friday, Aug. 23, at 11 p.m., at the Marquis Theatre in Middlebury. Modeled after Sundance Film Festival’s signature Midnight Screenings, MNFF will showcase an astonishing and utterly original animated film, “Ruben Brandt, Collector.”

Geared to audiences 18+, this wildly colorful film follows Ruben Brandt, a psychotherapist forced to steal masterpiece paintings to cure his horrific nightmares. He enlists four of his patients/confidants to form a strike team. They regularly pull off elaborate heists, hitting the Louvre, Tate, Uffizi, Hermitage, and MoMA Museums. “Ruben Brandt, Collector” is the brilliant work of Hungarian director Milorad Krstic, displaying prodigious talent and imagination. Don't miss this spectacular “perfect for late night” film. Free for passholders; $12 at the door.

For passes or more info visit middfilmfest.org/updates.

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