Ballston Spa Film Festival moving to new outdoor location
BALLSTON SPA The Ballston Spa Film Festival will have a new outdoor location this year, and a roster of short movies made by students and other young filmmakers.
The sixth annual festival, which will include more than 40 films, will be held Friday and Saturday at Ballston Spa High School and Old Iron Spring Park on Front Street.
Old Iron Spring Park is a new location for the outdoor screenings, held the last five years at Wiswall Park on Low Street. Organizers said the festival has outgrown that location, where movies were shown on the side of a building.
“Over the years Wiswall Park has gotten more overgrown, and we had a harder time fitting people in there,” said festival Director Pam Grandin.
Old Iron Spring Park, which is only about three blocks away, has a new gazebo built as an Eagle Scout project where the screen will be mounted. “It slopes down to the gazebo and has sort of a natural amphitheater,” she said. “It has an open feeling.”
The outdoor screenings have attracted an audience of 200 to 300 people most years, though attendance was off last year because of extreme heat, Grandin said.
“For the weekend, we’re really hoping for a thousand people or so,” she said.
During the festival, there will be an hour of films shown at 7 p.m. each evening at the Ballston Spa High School auditorium.
Action then will shift to the park, where pre-screening activities will begin around 8 p.m., followed by film screenings starting at 9 p.m.
In all, there will be 41 short films shown, including a number of local student projects and films from Spain, the United Kingdom and France. There will be nine premieres and 18 works by young filmmakers.
There will be eight student films from Reel Adventures, a project at Niskayuna High School led by filmmaker Mike Feurstein, who also helped Ballston Spa fourth-grade classes, which will have films on bullying screened.
Other young filmmakers include Elizabeth Herrick of Florida, who was 10 when she had a film shown last year, and has a new film this year; and 10-year-old Emma Penaz Eisner of California.
Grandin said the festival, which began informally in 2008, was established this year as its own nonprofit corporation, and part of its mission will be to promote the work of young filmmakers.
The Ballston Spa festival has also partnered with the established Lake Placid Film Festival, which promoted Ballston Spa at its activities in June. Three winning films from Lake Placid will be shown in Ballston Spa.
Films will be judged in such categories as best film, best screenplay, best editing, best score and best sound.
Judges will be Larry Jackson, a film executive who has been a judge for the last six years; Jan Carter, a musician who has composed for film and television; Daniel DeFabio, a filmmaker and graphic designer who founded the Ballston Spa festival; and Chris Mills, a novelist and screenwriter.
Admission to all screenings is free. In the event of rain, outdoor screenings will be moved to the high school.