MILFORD, Pa. - At a time when films can be watched on a phone, making the Black Bear Film Festival a multi-dimensional experience has been the goal of new festival executive director Will Voelkel.
“Last year the emphasis was on showing films,” Voelkel said. “This year the emphasis is on the art of film-making. We’ll continue with independent films, but we’re doing more outreach related to filmmakers.”
The festival runs from Oct. 14-16 at the Milford Theater. Voelkel aims to make each screening an “event” that includes panels and interviews with actors and others who make the films that are shown.
As for the variety of films, the words of Jerry Beaver, founder and former executive director of the Black Bear Film Festival, reverberate in Voelkel’s mind: “You’ve got to find the right balance.”
“Last year the festival celebrated classic stars,” Voelkel said. “This year there will again be a variety of dramas, comedies, and documentaries, but the emphasis will be on dramas with back stories.”
One highlighted film of this kind will be “54,” written and directed by Mark Christopher. After the film was first made, in 1998, film executives had Christopher recut and partially reshoot the film in a more conservative way because of disappointing reactions by test audiences. Christopher will appear at the festival for the screening of his “director’s cut” and talk about the drama behind the making of the drama.
In the process of making film choices for the festival, five board members watched 150 films, Voelkel said. In addition to Voelkel, the selection committee included Amy and Ken Ferris, who have both worked in the film industry; Bob Keiber, an actor and writer; and Carol Needleman. Amy Ferris and Needleman are also creating a segment on regional women filmmakers, Voelkel said.
Acting and filmmaking workshops before and after the festival have been scheduled. On Saturday, from noon to 2 p.m., Keiber will teach a workshop for adults at Marie Zimmerman Farm on Route 209. A filmmaking workshop for young adults will be taught at the Pike County Public Library in Milford from 1-4 p.m. Nov. 19, by Saturday Afternoon Productions staff.
Information and updates are available at www.blackbearfilm.com.