Saratoga County

Strike nearly puts damper on gala

Thank goodness the Writers Guild of America strike finally came to an end.


Thank goodness the Writers Guild of America strike finally came to an end.

Now the Saratoga Film Forum’s annual fundraiser centered on the Academy Awards will actually include those awards.

The Oscar Night Gala isn’t just about gathering around the TV to watch the show, said Jeri Jannicelli, an organizer. But the whole spectacle of the Oscars is what gets people dressed up in their glamorous party attire and gets them to come out on a cold Sunday night in February.

“Once the show was a go, our reservations picked up dramatically,” said Jannicelli, co-chairwoman of the event with Pat Freisen.

The event is the Saratoga Film Forum’s only big fundraiser, so Jannicelli said canceling it wasn’t an option.

She knew they were in trouble when she looked several months ago to the Academy Awards Web site for inspiration for gala posters or themes and found nothing. “We draw a lot of information and try to create our night from what Oscar is doing in Hollywood.”

Jannicelli said the organizers were going to have to create their own program that night in the absence of an awards show. But getting other entertainment was tricky in case the awards resumed.

“You don’t want to have a band lined up and then tell them, ‘Thanks, but people would rather watch TV.’ ”

The writer’s strike lasted from Nov. 5 until earlier this month, throwing into question whether there would even be a big Oscar ceremony.

The film forum’s gala will include a silent auction, cocktails, a dinner buffet, trivia games and, of course, “We have the TVs showing the red carpet,” Jannicelli said.

One room at Siro’s will be reserved for those who want to sit and watch the show. “There’s always the group that wants to cluster by the TV and hear every word uttered.”

Siro’s is closed in the winter but wanted to open for the night for the fundraiser, Jannicelli said. It’s the first time the gala has been held at Siro’s.

The film forum hopes to sell all 150 tickets for the event.

Many of the films nominated for the Oscars were chosen for showing during the year by the Saratoga Film Forum, Jannicelli said.

Three of the nominated flicks still will be screened in Saratoga Springs — “No Country for Old Men” this weekend and “Atonement” and “There Will be Blood” next month.

Film forum president Michael Englert noted that many of the forum’s Thursday, Friday and Sunday afternoon showings now sell out.

Saratoga Film Forum offers films to the community including independent art films, documentaries and foreign films.

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