There are no movie houses in Cooperstown these days, a void organizers of an ambitious new film festival hope to fill with a series of award-winning cinematic offerings that will be presented next month in the storied village.
"Glimmerglass Film Days" will run from Nov. 8 to 10, and festival goers, in between screenings, will also be treated to food tastings, trail hikes and bike tours aimed at helping them gain an appreciation of the Leatherstocking Region's natural beauty.
The festival is being organized by Otsego 2000, which hopes the festival will not only be popular with local residents but also draw people from many miles away, said Ellen Pope, the group's executive director.
"This is a major new event we're trying to add to the calendar in our area," said Pope. "We started it because we wanted to raise awareness about environmental issues. All of the films have something to do with human interaction with the natural world, and the complexity of that interaction."
The importance of appreciating the environment, she said, was a theme stitched into the novels of James Fenimore Cooper. The succession of films based on his novel "The Last of the Mohicans" will be the focus of a discussion that will be led by author Peter Rutkoff, a professor at Kenyon College, at 10 a.m. on Nov. 10 at Templeton Hall.
The idea for having the film festival in Cooperstown was first broached Margaret Parsons, curator of the department of film programs at the National Gallery of Art in Washington. Parsons called the festival an experiment that could become an annual event in Cooperstown if enough people show interest in the events.
The appreciation of films, Parsons noted, is inherently a social event, and because Cooperstown now lacks a movie theater, the festival will give people an opportunity to share the experience of viewing the same films together. The offerings will include a mix of recent releases as well as a classic, Drums Along the Mohawk, the first release from legendary director John Ford.
Scheduled to be screened at 6 p.m. on Nov. 9 at the new Cooperstown Distillery on Railroad Avenue are a selection of short films about the natural world from the Black Maria Film Festival.
Most of the screenings will be at the Fenimore Art Museum, although other venues will include the National Baseball Hall of Fame and the chapel at Cooperstown Presbyterian Church.
One film that could be the most likely to ignite debate — if both sides of the gas drilling controversy show up — is "Drill Baby Drill," a documentary dealing with residents of a a rural community in Poland who resist plans by Chevron to drill a shale gas well. That 84-minute film will be screened at 4 p.m. on Nov. 9 at the Fenimore.
Other films that will be screened include: "Harmony: A New Way of Looking at Our World," "Microcosmos," "Field of Enchantment," "Rivers and Tides," "Chasing Ice," and "More Than Honey."
The complete schedule for the festival can be found at the web site www.glimmerglassfilmdays.org