The Hippo


Jul 16, 2019








Downtown Portsmouth during a past New Hampshire Film Festival. Photo by David J. Murray of ClearEye Photo.

James Foley tribute

E-Team won the U.S. Documentary Cinematography Award at the Sundance Film Festival, and it features the work of three cinematographers: Ross Kauffman (Director of Photography, who won Oscar for Born Into Brothels), Rachel Beth Anderson (co-cinematographer) and New Hampshire native and American journalist James Foley. The film screens Saturday, Oct. 18, at 3:30 p.m., at the Music Hall Loft, and on Sunday, Oct. 19, at 12:05 p.m., at The Music Hall. The film tracks four members of the Emergencies Team, or E-Team, the most intrepid division of a respected, international human rights group, as they smuggle across the border into Syria and Libya to investigate and expose/halt human rights violations. 
At the filmmaking team’s request, Sundance created a special cinematographer award honoring Foley, and the filmmaking team will present the award to the Foley family after the Sunday screening. Information about the James W. Foley Legacy Fund — which focuses on building a resource center for families of American hostages and supporting American journalists reporting from combat zones — will also be available.
Festival panels
• Filming in New Hampshire presentation led by Matt Newton of the New Hampshire Film & Television Office on Friday, Oct. 17, at 11 a.m., at the Discover Portsmouth Center. The panel will include representatives for the independent film community and address questions about resources, contacts and overall indie film atmosphere in New Hampshire.
• Digital Distribution Saturday, Oct. 18, at 2:30 p.m., at Discover Portsmouth Center, will include handful of industry representatives from today’s most cutting-edge companies in indie movie business, including special guests from A24 Films, IFC Films,Magnolia Pictures, Oscilloscope Laboratories, Seed&Spark and SnagFilms.
• Comedy Panel Saturday, Oct. 18, at 4:30 p.m., at the Discover Portsmouth Center, with guests including Mike O’Malley, Greg Kretschmar, Rae Dawn and Precious Chong; last year’s panel filled quickly to standing room only.
• Crowdfunding to Build Independence workshop by Erica Anderson from Seed&Spark Sunday, Oct. 19, at noon, at Discover Portsmouth Center, which will include an action plan most likely to create lasting, flourishing, direct relationships with audiences.
The New Hampshire Film Festival
When: Thursday, Oct. 16; Friday, Oct. 17; Saturday, Oct. 18; and Sunday, Oct. 19, from 10 a.m. to about 10 p.m. (give or take, depending on the film) each day
Where: The venues are all in Portsmouth, and include the Music Hall (128 Chestnut St.); The Music Hall Loft (131 Congress St.); the Moffatt-Ladd House (154 Market St.); the Discover Portsmouth Center (10 Middle St.); and the Seacoast Repertory Theatre (125 Bow St.)
Admission: A weekend pass is $75; a Thursday pass is $20; a Friday, Saturday or Sunday pass is $35

Granny awards all around
NH Film Festival turns 13

By Kelly Sennott

About 10,000 people attended last year’s New Hampshire Film Festival, a four-day extravaganza with screenings, panels, Q&A’s and 10-pound “Granny” (Granite) awards — the heaviest in the industry.

Organizers expect a similar number for this weekend’s event, which happens at various downtown Portsmouth venues Thursday, Oct. 16, through Sunday, Oct. 19.
The festival has grown enormously since its 2001 inception. Screening committees had to sift through 850 submissions to narrow the field down to 100.
This year, there are four “spotlight” films, a couple of which offer New Hampshire ties: SlingShot (with director Paul Lazarus in attendance) is about Segway inventor (and New Hampshirite) Dean Kamen’s effort to solve the world’s water crisis with the SlingShot water purification system; Men, Women & Children, a New Hampshire premiere and comedic drama, is about how technology affects how we interact with one another (and stars Adam Sandler); Low Down (with cast member Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers, writer Amy Albany and producer Chris Stinson in attendance) is about the life of pianist Joe Albany; and Force Majeure is Sweden’s bid for a foreign language Oscar.
There are no dramatically new undertakings, but there are some subtle changes to the festival; this year, for instance, there will be TV representation with special guests Mike O’Malley and Michelle MacLaren.
O’Malley was at the 2012 festival with his film Certainty, and this year he’ll bring a special screening of his new TV show, Survivor’s Remorse. MacLaren is the executive producer of Breaking Bad and guest directed episodes of Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead; she’ll show scenes from all three at a screening Saturday with a Q&A to follow.
“It shows the trend for filmmakers taking to television,” said Crystal Paradis, NHFF publicist in a phone interview.
Also new: music videos, which are scattered about screenings. One featured artist is Lizzy Marella, a Seacoast teen who’s currently in school at Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan, and whose music videos were filmed all over the coast by Backlash Productions.
While the event is geared toward public viewing, it’s also a magnet for local and regional artists.
“It’s really good for New Hampshire filmmakers in particular to have access to people actually making films,” Paradis said. “It’s different from just going to the movies.”
It’s also different because here, there are films you won’t typically see at your local cinema. For example, The Syndrome illustrates L.A.-based filmmaker Meryl Goldsmith’s efforts to bring investigative journalism to the documentary world. Her film is about the invalid nature of “Shaken Baby Syndrome,” which has led 1,000 innocent people to prison. She created it with her cousin, Susan Goldsmith, an award-winning journalist who was on the Los Angeles Daily News O.J. Simpson reporting team. 
“I think people are going to be shocked when they see the film,” Goldsmith said in a phone interview.
For more local flavor, Thursday is New Hampshire Day. Everything will have a Granite State connection.
That’s not to say there aren’t local links to the films that screen the rest of the weekend; one, E-Team, screens Saturday and Sunday and won the Cinematography Award at the Sundance Film Festival. It features the work of several cinematographers, including New Hampshire native and American journalist James Foley. Director Russ Kaufmann, who won an Oscar with Zana Briski for Born Into Brothels: Calcutta’s Red Light Kids, will take part in a Q&A session following both screenings. There will be a special tribute honoring Foley after the Sunday screening. 
Another, 100: Head/Heart/Feet by Hammer & Saw Films, screens Friday and was co-produced/directed by Hampton filmmaker Mike Mooney. The film is about the day-to-day life of Zak Wieluns as he trained for and ran the Vermont 100. 
The film tracks Weiluns’ third attempt in 2012, and is about “what it takes, both physically and emotionally, to finish,” Mooney said at the New Hampshire press night.
“They say anybody can do a 50K, maybe even a 50-miler. But 100 — that’s something else,” he said.
Mixed among the screenings are entries from the New Hampshire High School Short Film Festival and the 48 Hour Film Project, but for the full list, check out, which also contains information on panels, Q&A’s and special events. 
As seen in the October 16, 2014 issue of the Hippo.

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