BLACK BEAR FILM FESTIVAL PRESS RELEASE
What’s New at Black Bear Film Festival? LOTS!
Sub: New Director Outlines 6 New Initiatives for 2016
“Everyone keeps asking us, ‘What’s new at Black Bear Film Festival this year?’ says Will Voelkel, the newly appointed Executive Director of Black Bear Film Festival. “The answer is, LOTS! We are proud to offer six new additions and enhancements for 2016.”
“The Board of Directors, Committee Chairs and I are working off the tremendous legacy that Jerry Beaver, Nancy Pitcher and so many others established over the past 16 years,” explains Voelkel. “And we’re adding lots of exciting elements to meet our new mission to entertain, educate, inspire and celebrate community with great film events.”
While some may wonder if Black Bear Film Festival is for them, Board member Amy Eisenberg says, "Our theme is 'Something for Everyone'. We want to appeal to a large and diverse audience so we’re planning a festival for people of varied tastes and interests.”
The film festival itself, to be held October 14 to 16 in Milford at a number of venues, is just part of what Black Bear is all about. The six additions and enhancements described below are posted and updated on the Events calendar at blackbearfilm.com.
A Focus on Film-Related Events
In an age of instant movie accessibility from streaming platforms and Netflix, Black Bear, like many film festivals, continues to move in the direction of making the festival more “event-focused.” This year, in addition to the great films and hidden gems at the festival, audiences will enjoy more interactive events with filmmakers such as directors, producers, actors, and screenwriters. Director Mark Christopher is one of the directors attending the festival this year and he will discuss and present his director's cut of the film “54,” which tells the story of the rise and fall of the world’s most fabulous night club through eyes of the sexy young people who worked there. The film stars Ryan Phillippe in his first lead role, Salma Hayek, Neve Campbell, and Mike Myers as notorious club owner Steve Rubell.
“The ‘54’ director’s cut is a re-edited version of the film restoring 36 minutes that Miramax had cut shortly before the film's release in 1998," said Sean Strub, a friend of Christopher's. “Many in the Milford area know Mark because he also wrote and directed the film ‘Pizza,’ which was shot entirely on location in Milford and released in 2005. It will be fun to have him back and hear him discuss the version of ‘54’ as it was originally intended."
Film Workshops for Young People and Adults
As a key component of the “educational” aspects of Black Bear’s mission, a new series of film workshops for young people and adults will teach the art and craft of various aspects of filmmaking in interactive, hands-on sessions. Two workshops for young people ages 12-18 will be offered this summer and fall. The “New York Acting Workshop with Robert Keiber” will be held on August 6 at the Pike County Public Library and “Script to Screen,” featuring the production team of Saturday Afternoon Pictures, will be conducted on November 19, also at the library. In addition, Mr. Keiber will conduct an acting workshop for adults on September 17 at the Marie Zimmerman Farm in Dingmans Ferry.
Patrons Den Membership Club
Film fans and supporters in general are welcome to join the new Patrons Den membership club, founded in April by Barbara Buchanan, a long-time Milford resident and community leader. Members may join at various annual membership levels ranging from $25 for students, $65 for seniors, and $100 and above for other adults. Each level of membership includes member meetings and invitations to special events, a Patrons Den membership card, priority seating at specified events, advance notifications of Black Bear events, and other perks. “Being a member of a club indicates you’re special and a supporter of something bigger,” says Mrs. Buchanan. “It’s so exciting for me to be a part of Black Bear.”
Monthly Film Commentary Column
Cess Weintraub, New Jersey weekender, clinical social worker, and film aficionado, has initiated a new series of a monthly columns featuring Black Bear at the Movies in the Journal Group magazines. Cess has previously penned commentaries for a Long Island newspaper and has been an active Film Salon volunteer at Black Bear for several years. Unlike the festival itself, which focuses on independent and special interest films, her column will focus on mainstream movies. Says Amy Bridge, publisher of the Journals and a BBFF Board member, “We are excited that this series of movie commentaries in The Milford, Orange/Sullivan, and Sussex County Journals will capture Cess Weintraub’s unique insights into current popular films.”
Expansion of Artful Bears Community Picnic
In line with its new mission to “celebrate community,” Black Bear will host an Artful Bears Community Picnic on the lawn of the Community House at 201 Broad Street in Milford on August 13 from 3 to 5 p.m. to celebrate the unveiling of the Artful Bears for 2016. Eleven local artists have created all-new artful bear sculptures for 2016, and this year, young artists will be featured from Dingman Delaware Middle School and the Upper Delaware GLBT Center. To celebrate, the community picnic will feature food, music, raffles, and crafts for the whole family.
Partnerships and Outreach Programs
In addition to the new Schools Partnership Initiative, which includes student film submissions from three high schools and a new BBFF college intern program with Sussex County Community College, Black Bear will reach out to a wide scope of tri-state community organizations and segments, with special programming at the main stage and the Film Salon that pays tribute to women involved in all aspects of film; to Pennsylvania veterans; and to Milford’s legacy as the birthplace of American conservation and early American filmmaking.
“We invite the entire tri-state region to attend and participate in all our events throughout the year,” explains Voelkel. “We’re truly celebrating community with ‘something for everyone.’” Additional information can be found at blackbearfilm.com.
Black Bear Film Festival office is located at 109 West Catharine Street in Milford, PA in the Borough Building, 2nd second floor. July office hours are Monday, Wednesday, Thursday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Phone 570-409-0909 for more details.