Fitchburg Sentinel & Enterprise
March 12, 2002
By Benjamin Cole



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 program.

"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 to America."

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," he said.

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 last weekend.

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."


Copyright 2002-2003 Plasticville Productions
In Association with Lemonstar & Hobo Mania Productions