FITCHBURG -- With the inaugural Free Film Festival Fitchburg
(F4) presented by Fitchburg State College "in the can,"
organizers hope they can build on its success for future events
that showcase works of filmmakers from all over the world.
The festival was the brainchild of former Fitchburg State College
students JC Bouvier and Keith Gerrard, who now work at the Fitchburg
advertising firm Revolutionary Images.
During the three-day event which took place from March 7 to 9,
feature-length and short films by filmmakers from all over the country
and the world were shown. Participating filmmakers were from as
far away as Australia, Bouvier said.
"I think it went really well," Bouvier said, adding that
he particularly enjoyed talking to the filmmakers about their efforts
to get their films made, as well as seeing the audience reaction
to the works firsthand. "The filmmakers, the audience, everyone
seemed to have a good time. There were a lot of good films."
Although primarily an event to allow filmmakers trying to break
into the business a venue for their work, the festival was not without
competition. All films were vying for a "Fitchy" award
in their respective category, which included short and feature-length
comedies, dramas, and documentaries.
Judging for those categories was completed by a panel comprising
FSC faculty, Bouvier, Gerrard and others from their staff. In addition,
those in attendance were also asked to vote for their favorite film
for a special "Audience Award."
Winning the audience award was "We've Got Johnny," a
20-minute film directed by Leominster High School Graduate Andy
Grant. Bouvier said he hoped the success of local filmmakers, as
well as the festival itself, would be beneficial to the entire area.
"I think the city got a good profile from all the press that
surrounded it (the festival)," Bouvier said, adding that he
hoped FSC would benefit by showcasing its underrated communications/media
"A lot of the filmmakers didn't even know they had a film
program there, and it was good to see a lot of the local people
making great films," Bouvier said.
In addition to viewing works of lesser-known filmmakers, on Thursday
night a keynote address was delivered by John Landis. Landis directed
blockbusters such as "The Blues Brothers," and "Coming
Bouvier admitted attendance on Friday was lacking a bit due to
FSC students leaving for spring break, but interest in the festival
on Thursday night and all day Saturday was "excellent,"
Given the success of F4, Bouvier said, though there has been no
commitment from FSC, he hopes to begin planning another festival
for next year within the next month or two. He added that there
may be a few minor changes to the format such as gathering submissions
a little earlier and scheduling of events a little differently,
he probably would not vary much from the successful festival of
Bouvier added he wanted to begin searching for next year's keynote
speaker, who he said will likely be another renowned director in
Hollywood in order to continue to draw people to the festival.
"There has been a lot of talk about it," Bouvier said
about having the festival next year as well. "I think a lot
of people would be interested in seeing it happen again."