October 2016 NewsFlash

Black Bear Festival to Celebrate “Films and Filmmakers”

Black Bear Festival to Celebrate “Films and Filmmakers”

Rex Reed and Interactive Events to Highlight 17th Annual Festival

Black Bear Film Festival will enhance the film-going experience for its thousands of filmgoers this year by featuring interactive events with filmmakers throughout the Festival Weekend, scheduled for October 14-16 in Milford, PA.

“We’re celebrating both great films and the multi-talented people who make the films,” explained Will Voelkel, Executive Director of the Festival this year and a member of the Festival’s five-member Programming and Events Committee. “As part of our mission to entertain, educate and inspire, we are featuring not only a schedule of high quality and interesting films in our main stage and film ‘salon’ venues, but also the people who make them – producers, directors, actors, screenwriters, musicians, and costume designers, including some local ones.” Voelkel promises this will add a whole new dimension to this year’s festival, to be held at the historic Milford Theatre and several other venues in Milford.

“We’re doubling the entertainment value,” states Board member Carol Needleman, “by providing both the entertainment provided by the films themselves plus the entertainment of hearing how the films were made – the concepts, the ideas, the execution, the joys and the challenges.”

A prime example of this is the Saturday, October 15 10 p.m. film screening of “54 – The Director’s Cut.” This event will feature the newly edited version (the director’s “cut”) of the film “54,” originally released in 1998, and will feature director Mark Christopher talking about how and why the movie was recut. “The studio edited my original version to meet the demands of the studio at that time,” says Christopher. “Now, I’ve been able to re-edit the film, delete the studio’s added footage, and restore much of my original footage so the film now reflects my original vision.” The film received rave reviews when it debuted at the Berlin Film Festival last year. Christopher will be interviewed by Hollywood historian and author John DiLeo and participate in an audience talk back session. Many other film screenings and events (see sidebar) will also feature directors, producers, actors and others who made the featured films at this year’s festival.

“This is the direction that many film festivals are moving toward,” says Ken Ferris, a member of the Programming and Events Committee and a renowned Camera Operator, whose films include Field of Dreams, Fried Green Tomatoes, Scent of a Woman, and Pleasantville. Ferris was also the Cinematographer on the film Pizza, directed by Mark Christopher (54) and shot entirely in Milford, PA. “The idea is to make the whole festival experience fun, inspiring and interactive."

Other filmmakers and notable film celebrities scheduled to participate throughout the weekend include renowned film critic and Hollywood raconteur Rex Reed, producer Bob Levine, directors Johnny Greenlaw, Jon Bowermaster, and Antonia Thompson,, screenwriter Amy Ferris, actor Bill Sorvino, costume designer Ingrid Price, screenwriter/producer Judy White, and many others.

The traditional Opening Night Gala will also offer something new with its theme of “Food, Wine and Filmmakers.” Instead of the traditional buffet dinner, the Gala will offer tapas, scrumptious hot and cold hors d’oeuvres and desserts prepared by some of the area’s favorite restaurants, a wine bar, an awards ceremony honoring Rex Reed and Black Bear Film Festival Founding President Jerry Beaver, music, and “mixing and mingling” with the filmmakers. The Gala will be followed by the screening of the new highly-acclaimed drama with music, “Mommy’s Box” with a Q&A with its director/writer, stars, and music composer.

With feature-length comedies, dramas, documentaries at the Milford Theatre main stage, shorts at the Film Salon, filmmakers, the Opening Night Gala, and the traditional Artful Bears silent auction, the festival will provide a wide variety of movies and happenings that appeal to all tastes and interests.

“We welcome our ‘veteran’ festival goers with open arms and we hope newcomers will see what we’re all about, too,” state Board of Directors Co-Presidents Amy Bridge and Amy Eisenberg. “Our goal is to provide something for everyone.”

Film schedules, Opening Night Gala and Film passes at $75, Gold Passes to the entire weekend of films and events at $150, and tickets to individual movies ($10 in advance, $12 at the box office as available) are available at, 570-409-4065, and the Black Bear office at 109 Catharine Street in Milford (Borough Building, 2nd floor, open weekdays 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.)

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