MNFF


MY OCTOPUS TEACHER
Who doesn’t love feel-good stories of relationships between animals and human beings? That was Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival Producer Lloyd Komesar’s rationale when he set the theme for this year’s MNFF Selects film series, which screens one film a month from October to May at Town Hall Theater. MNFF’s inaugural Selects series, which focused on biographies, started in the fall of 2019. The pandemic shut it down early after February 2020.  “Coming back in person, for people to share the film experience every month is really important,” Komesar said. “And this series is aimed at a new...

ART CULLEN IS the shaggy-headed editor who plays a central role in the documentary film “Storm Lake,” which opened the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival last week. Cullen is working on an idea to save community journalism. Independent photo/Steve James
A 64-year-old man from a small town in rural Iowa may represent the best hope for community journalism in America. Art Cullen has more than four decades of newspapering behind him but he is developing a concept that could save news outfits like his, the Storm Lake Times, and save the small towns they serve for many more decades to come. Art came to town last week for the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival, which opened with a screening of “Storm Lake,” a documentary about his newspaper, his small town on the edge of the Great Plains and the symbiotic, if sometimes uncomfortable, relationship...

Harvan Agustriansyah
The Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival is right around the corner, Aug. 25-29. And new at this year’s festival is the AICEF Prize for Cross Cultural Filmmaking — an exciting new partnership with Indonesia’s highly regarded Bali International Film Festival. The AICEF Prize will be presented to a pair of first- or second-time feature filmmakers whose work robustly embraces cross-cultural themes either in the narrative or documentary genre. One filmmaker has been selected by the Bali International Film Festival (Balinale) to present their work at the 7th Annual Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival...

KRIS KRISTOFFERSON AND Academy Award Winner Ellen Burstyn star in the 1974 film “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore,” which was the first in a series of Martin Scorsese films being screened this summer by the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival.
MIDDLEBURY — Last Thursday night, July 8, the Middlebury New Filmmaker’s Festival (MNFF) began the “Sunset Series at Swift House Inn / Summer of Scorsese” with the 1974 comedy-drama “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore.” MNFF producer Lloyd Komesar explained why the film series is important in 2021. “First of all, I am a huge fan of Martin Scorsese,” Komesar said. “Secondly I love the idea of socializing around film. The whole point of this is to get people out with their friends and neighbors, come over, have dinner, have a drink, relax and watch the film — then do it all over the next Thursday...

“We’re aware people are being inundated with on-screen opportunities, because that’s how we exist right now. We want to come into that environment and do something honest and successful and we think enjoyable.” — MNFF Artistic Director Jay Craven
The first-ever online version of Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival (MNFF) is taking shape. Organizers of the sixth annual event — usually a spotlight happening that sends hundreds of people buzzing around downtown Middlebury just before Labor Day — have selected more than 20 features to headline this year’s festival. And while the coronavirus pandemic is responsible for substantially shortening the film menu compared to years past, MNFF officials are working to infuse the virtual festival with some of the personal touches that have made it a consistent success. MNFF6:ONLINE will take place...

President Jimmy Carter plays harmonica with the great Willie Nelson in the documentary “Jimmy Carter: Rock and Roll President,” which will screen at MNFF6:Online at the end of August.
Middlebury New Film Festival leaders have released a list of films that will highlight the lineup at the sixth annual gala. Among the best are: • “Jimmy Carter: Rock and Roll President,” a documentary that charts the mostly forgotten story of how former President Jimmy Carter, a lover of all types of music, forged a tight bond with musicians Willie Nelson, the Allman Brothers, Bob Dylan and others that helped him to the White House. It illuminates the significant role that music has played in President Carter’s life and work. Directed by Mary Wharton. • “The Accused: Damned or Devoted?”...
This year marks the fifth edition of the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival (Aug. 22-25).  In film festival years, that makes us a teenager.  Since our ambitious first round in 2015, we’ve played more than 500 short and feature-length films and we’ve hosted more than 300 filmmakers and special guests, among them writers Russell Banks and Dick Lehr; actors Maggie Gylenhaal, Peter Sarsgard, Emmett Walsh, and Michael Murphy; and Academy Award winners Barbara Kopple (documentary filmmaker) and David Wasco and Sandy Reynolds-Wasco (production designers). Each August, after a year of preparation,...

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