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Reporter's Notebook

July 20, 2013

Local festival to showcase regional films

Other film festivals may make bigger splashes, with their A-list of producers and directors and paparazzi on the hunt for celebrities.

But that’s all right with the people behind the Catskill Mountains Film Festival. Their goal is not to challenge the Sundance Film Festival or the Woodstock Film Festival.

Rather, their objective is to click with the people of the region, and give local filmmakers, including local college students, a realistic shot of having their work screened.

So says Jessica Vecchione, a prime organizer of the festival based at the State University at Delhi campus.

A former advertising industry whiz, Vecchione is working with the folks at the Greater Delhi Area Chamber of Commerce and the top administrators at SUNY Delhi to tap the talents and story-telling abilities of local people who simply need an outlet for their video production work.

While the next festival isn’t until early May, the organizers are preparing for a day of film-making workshops that will be held at SUNY Delhi on Sept. 21. That is considered one of the two big events of the organization, the second being the three-day festival itself.

Volunteer committees have been formed to ensure the events are a success. People such as Joe Piasek, the general manager of community radio station WIOX in Roxbury, and Phil Lenihan, proprietor of the Orphic Gallery in Roxbury, are plugging away to promote the festivities.

The film festival, Vecchione said, is an outgrowth of the Art and Soul of the Catskills Festival that the chamber had been promoting. “I suggested we try a film festival associated with it,” she recalled. “We have local regional filmmakers here and we got 42 entries. This is a new cultural event that is sweeping the nation. And there are students in New York State who need venues to show their films. We decided to put our energies into the film festival, and not to do the Art and Soul Festival again.”

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