This past weekend we attended the Catskill Mountains Film Festival in Delhi, NY. Ever since we were selected for this festival, we have been impressed with their high level of organization, attentiveness, and professionalism. Even though this is their very first year, all of the i’s were dotted and the t’s crossed! We were excited to attend for all sorts of reasons, not the least of which was that we were certain our film would be well-treated by the festival.
Delhi is a quaint town in Delaware County, not far from Oneonta and Cooperstown, NY. What quickly became clear when we arrived in town is that so many of the local businesses were showing their support for film in the Catskills. And it wasn’t just this big banner downtown (“Look at banner, Michael!”)
On Saturday morning, when we stopped into the Cross Roads Cafe & Coffee Bar for breakfast, our table was adorned with this folded placard. We would see these and posters all over town that weekend.
The festival hit the right notes, too. Friday night included the VIP & Filmmaker reception in Farrell Hall on the campus of SUNY Delhi. We got to meet a number of interesting people and talk about their films. The young man in the blue hoodie in the foreground is Luke Broyles, who wound up winning in his category for his documentary short.
For you Boardwalk Empire fans, we also met Nick Julius (who plays the bouncer Gino in season one), the writer-director of the short “The Devil Goes Down,” featuring Michael K. Williams. The film is a riff on the story in “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” using basketball instead of fiddling. Though Michael K. Williams plays the devil (in a stunning crimson suit), it is Luiz “Triks” De Silva (above) who performs as Satan’s basketball-playing incarnation. De Silva treated all of us to a demonstration after the film screening.
Nontraditional screened on Saturday afternoon. There was a brief glitch with adjusting the aspect ratio of the projector early on in the film, but once that was sorted out, everything went smoothly. We screened in the Okun Theater in Farrell Hall, which is a 375-seat full-on movie theater. The film looked and sounded great on the big screen. This was our first real screening with an audience of people who both didn’t really know us and were not themselves student veterans, and we’re happy to say that the response was very positive. The audience had great questions for us, and we made some exciting contacts for future screenings.
After our screening, we ate sushi at Tuna III in downtown Delhi and then made it back to campus for the red carpet event and awards ceremony. Because the screening schedule was backed up somewhat, when we slipped back into the theater to see a short film that was on our list, we actually wound up seeing most of Roger Ross Williams’ God Loves Uganda. This amazingly powerful film is well worth your time. We talked a bit with Williams shortly after the screening and Q&A, too.
Well, we finally made it onto the red carpet after the God Loves Uganda screening, and here’s proof! I love award ceremonies, and this one was no exception. There was a video address from Bill Pullman, the festival’s honorary chair, and a keynote address from the wonderful David France, who had screened his How to Survive a Plague earlier in the fest. A hearty congratulations to all the winners!