The West Virginia Film Festival had its debut in Berkeley Springs Oct. 1-2. Photo by Audrey Chapman

Film Festival Comes to West Virginia

This past weekend I had the exciting opportunity to return to my hometown and work at the first annual Berkeley Springs Film Festival.

The event took place at The Historic Star Theatre, an independent single-screen movie theatre that has been playing movies in Berkeley Springs since 1928. It’s well-known for its popcorn made from a 1949 Manley kettle and served with real butter. It’s a cherished landmark for the small town.

If you’re unfamiliar with Berkeley Springs, the little West Virginia town nestles beneath a mountain about fifty minutes away from Shepherdstown.

The Star Theatre in Berkeley Springs hosted the inaugural West Virginia Film Festival Oct. 1 and 2. Photo by Audrey Chapman

The festival screened 22 brand new and independently produced films. As it states in their program, “many [of the films] are from local filmmakers within 100 miles of Berkeley Springs, six were filmed in [West Virginia], and some overseas.”

There were an incredible variety of short and feature films shown Saturday and Sunday. There were political documentaries, animated short films, horror short films, dramas, and more.

At the end of the first night on Saturday, the awards ceremony took place and filmmakers and audience members were able to celebrate together and discuss the movies screened that day.

Filmmakers were also able to attend a luncheon with a Q&A session from best-selling author and seasoned filmmaker Alex Ferrari to ask questions and get valuable insight on how to succeed in the film world.

The directors of the festival, Brett Hammond and Will Devokees, intend to make this an annual event in Berkeley Springs. If you’re a film lover or interested in submitting your own film, it will be occurring the first weekend of every October from now on.

If you’re a student filmmaker and you want to get your work out there, you can submit your film for a small fee on www.filmfreeway.com.

Hammond and Devokees use their film festival as a platform to uplift filmmakers in an unpretentious environment while actually providing filmmakers with feedback to help them grow as artists.

This is an opportunity for budding filmmakers to make connections with other independent filmmakers while also getting the chance to gain credentials through awards.

If you’d just rather watch the films, the Berkeley Springs Film Festival is still an opportunity to support independent artists and a great small business, so save the date.

Keep up with the happenings of the film festival at https://www.bsfilmfestival.com and The Historic Star Theatre on their Instagram or Facebook page, @startheatrewv.

 

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