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Returns are in: It’s a hit

By Fritz Mayer
September 20, 2012

Big Eddy Film Festival is ‘a winner’

By FRITZ MAYER

NARROWSBURG, NY — The first annual Big Eddy Film Festival, which was held in Narrowsburg on September 14 through 16, was successful enough that the organizers will probably bring it back next year. That’s according to Elaine Giguere executive director of the Delaware Valley Arts Alliance (DVAA), which organized the festival with the newly-formed Catskill Film Commission.

At the opening reception on Friday evening she was already feeling optimistic because the first film, “For Ellen,” had advance sales of about two thirds of the 150 seat Tusten Theater. At the screening, only three seats remained unsold.

During the rest of the weekend, the feature films were all nearly sold out, while the documentaries played to about half-full houses.

Giguere said for a long time members of the DVAA were hesitant to launch an event called a film festival because of the negative memories area residents have over the Narrowsburg International Independent Film Festival founded by Jocelyn and Richard Castellano in 1999, which ended with bounced checks and arrests, and a year-long jail sentence for Richard.

The DVAA was, however, involved with moving images through its DIGit and CineArt Film Series programs, and this year they decided enough time had elapsed since the previous festival that they could launch the current one.

Tina Spangler, communications director with DVAA and part of the team that selected the films, said there were local connections to some of them. The first feature, “For Ellen,” was written and directed by So Yong Kim and produced by her husband Bradley Rust Gray. The couple recently moved to Lackawaxen, PA, and was on hand for a question and answer session after the screening.

Another feature called “Fat Kid Rules the World” was based on the novel by KL Going, who lives in Glen Spey. She, too, was available for the question and answer.

Spangler said people in this community are smart and engaged and the question and answer sessions were well received and engaging.

Giguere said the festival is a good fit with the area, which has grown steadily as having a reputation for attracting artists. First, visual artists moved to the area, because they can work alone. Then, a wave of writers moved in. Now, she said, some actors are settling in the Upper Delaware Valley.

She said not all endeavors undertaken by DVAA are as successful as the Big Eddy Film Festival. She said, “This one seemed to generate real excitement from the community, so it’s a winner.”