The Hippo


Apr 25, 2019








Special events 

See website for the full film schedule. 
Thursday, Nov. 9
New Hampshire craft beer tasting - 5 p.m. 
Opening films - Strange Brew, 7 p.m., and Almost Boss, 7:30 p.m. 
Post-film beer panel - 8:30 p.m. 
Friday, Nov. 10 
“Clean-ish” family-friendly short films block - 5:30 p.m. 
“Twisted Tales” horror short films block - 7 p.m. 
Hatchet screening - 9 p.m. 
Saturday, Nov. 11 
Filmmaker meetup with New Hampshire Film Office (free event) - 10 a.m. 
“Twisted Tales” horror short films block - 11 a.m. 
“Clean-ish” family-friendly short films block - 1 p.m. 
Short documentaries film block - 1 p.m. 
The Room screening - 9 p.m. 
Sunday, Nov. 12 
Concord TV summer camp kids’ film showcase - 1:30 p.m. 
Highlighted films and awards ceremony - 3 p.m. 
Closing film: Brigsby Bear - 5 p.m.
2017 SNOB Film Festival 
When: Thursday, Nov. 9, through Sunday, Nov. 12
Where: Red River Theatres, 11 S. Main St., Concord 
Cost: Friday pass $25, Saturday pass $50, weekend pass $75, individual film tickets $10 to $12 
More info:

On screen
SNOB independent film festival returns to Concord

By Angie Sykeny

 From comedies and kid flicks to dramas and documentaries, independent filmmakers will present all kinds of genres during the SNOB (Somewhat North of Boston) Film Festival, happening Thursday, Nov. 9, through Sunday, Nov. 12, in Concord. More than 50 local and international films will be shown on two screens at Red River Theatres throughout the four-day event. Most will be followed by a Q&A session with the filmmakers.   

“Indie film is so much different from blockbusters. It doesn’t have to follow Hollywood’s rules,” Jay Doherty, festival executive director, said. “The whole experience of interacting with the filmmakers who had the passion to make these films and getting more insight into the films is something you don’t typically get by watching a movie on Netflix or a blockbuster at a movie theater.” 
In previous years, the festival featured 70 or more films, but Doherty and the other festival organizers decided to limit the number of films to 50 this year. 
“We wanted to pair it down and be a little more selective and a little more focused,” he said. “When it comes down to [choosing the films], we have to look at what is the best fit for our audience. Even if a film ranks highly in quality, it may not be the right fit.” 
The festival will have four categories of films: short narratives, feature narratives, short documentaries and feature documentaries. Many films were produced in New Hampshire or by a New Hampshire filmmaker, or look at New Hampshire-specific issues. 
One of those films is Mr. Connolly Has ALS, a 30-minute documentary about Concord High School principal Gene Connolly and the community that rallied around him during his final year leading the school after losing his ability to walk and speak due to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. 
The filmmaker Dan Habib was inspired to create the film after watching his son Samuel, a Concord High student living with cerebral palsy, and Connolly use hand gestures and communications devices to communicate since neither of them could communicate verbally. 
The film is structured around a series of questions directed at Connolly by his students. 
“Some of the questions are what you’d expect - ‘What is it like losing your ability to talk?’ and ‘What is your biggest fear?’” Habib said. “Then there are some that are intense and personal, like, ‘Have you ever considered killing yourself?’ but he wanted to answer those questions. He wanted to talk to students about what it means to live life fully and without fear.” 
Mr. Connolly premiered in Concord last May and was recently shown at the New Hampshire Film Festival in Portsmouth last month. It has received national attention as one of the nominees for “Best Short” at the Independent Documentary Association’s annual awards, which will be announced in December. 
Habib said that while the regional and national attention for the film is a “nice bonus,” his goal was to create a film that would resonate locally and pay tribute to Connolly and the Concord community.
“I think there’s nothing better than showing the film here in Concord, because this is [Connolly’s] community, and this is where it has the most meaning,” he said. 
Another film with a local focus is 404 Not Found, a short documentary about homeless youth in New Hampshire. It was filmed in different parts of the state and includes a series of interviews with homeless young people and the social workers who handle their cases. 
The film’s producer, Nancy Phillips of Exeter, said she was inspired to make the film after reading an article about homeless youth by a local publication. 
“I was shocked and incredibly concerned and sad, and I wanted to do something to show people that the situation exists,” she said. 
Having never produced a film or even been to a film festival before, Phillips originally set out to make a very short film for the sole purpose of giving state social services a tool to raise awareness about the issue. Once she started working on the film, however, it grew into a 30-minute documentary, detailing the lives of multiple homeless young people. It premiered at the New Hampshire Film Festival in Portsmouth last month. 
“It went over incredibly well,” she said. “So I thought, since it was apparently good enough for the New Hampshire Film Festival, and the goal of the film is to raise awareness, I should try to get it in the SNOB Film Festival.” 
Phillips is one of a number of first-time filmmakers whose films were accepted for the festival. 
“We feel strongly that new filmmakers should have a voice,” Doherty said. “If someone has a film with a great story, we want to highlight that as much as possible.” 
The festival kicks off on Thursday evening with a New Hampshire craft beer tasting, featuring Soundtrack IPA, a beer brewed exclusively for the festival by Lithermans Limited Brewery in Concord. The first films shown will include the 1983 Canadian comedy Strange Brew and Almost Boss: The Longest Running Tribute Band in History, a 2017 feature length documentary about a Bruce Springsteen tribute band. On Friday, there will be five themed blocks of short films, including a family-friendly block and a horror block. Saturday will start with a meetup for filmmakers, followed by a variety of feature-length films and short-film blocks. One of the most anticipated films being shown on Saturday, Doherty said, is the 2003 romantic drama The Room.
Famously deemed by film critics as “The Worst Film Ever Made,” The Room has developed a cult following around the world and will make its Concord debut during the festival. 
“A lot of people are interested in it, and most of them have seen it before,” Doherty said. “It should be interesting to see how it plays out, showing the film live with a crowd.” 
Sunday will feature a kids’ film event that will show films created by kids from the Concord TV summer camp. The festival wraps up with a highlighted films and awards ceremony and a screening of the 2017 comedy-drama Brigsby Bear. 
Doherty encourages those who have never been to a film festival and are on the fence about attending to start by committing to at least one film event in the first or second day of the festival. 
“The first time I went [to the festival], I was only going to watch one film, but once I saw it and met the filmmaker I was hooked. I spent the rest of the weekend watching great films,” he said. “Just give one block of shorts a try. That’s the best thing to do, because if you don’t like it, it only lasts 15 minutes, and then you’re onto a different film.” 

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