Arts & Leisure

Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival hits Year 5

JAY CRAVEN

This year marks the fifth edition of the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival (Aug. 22-25).  In film festival years, that makes us a teenager. 
Since our ambitious first round in 2015, we’ve played more than 500 short and feature-length films and we’ve hosted more than 300 filmmakers and special guests, among them writers Russell Banks and Dick Lehr; actors Maggie Gylenhaal, Peter Sarsgard, Emmett Walsh, and Michael Murphy; and Academy Award winners Barbara Kopple (documentary filmmaker) and David Wasco and Sandy Reynolds-Wasco (production designers).
Each August, after a year of preparation, we invite people from near and far to join us for a weekend of unexpected moments in dark rooms and on the streets — for transporting experiences, fresh insights, new friendships, and old acquaintances maybe seen in new light, as discussions unfold at Two Brothers, The Swift House, The Arcadian or American Flatbread. 
All of this is made possible through community sponsors, audiences willing to take some risks, hard working festival staff and volunteers — and the uniquely welcoming experience of downtown Middlebury.
Lloyd Komesar and I found each other after a Brandon screening of my 2013 film, “Northern Borders.” We came from opposite worlds in film — but here we are six years later, collaborators, co-conspirators — and friends. I love this guy.
We’re excited to host special guests this year, including Academy Award nominated writer-director Paul Schrader whose original and passionate voice has led to the creation of powerful pictures including “Taxi Driver,” “Raging Bull,” “Affliction,” “Blue Collar,” and “First Reformed,” which we’ll show prior to our on-stage conversation.
We’ll also welcome back three-time Emmy nominee Ricki Stern and her HBO documentary, “Reversing Roe” that digs into the intensifying debate around the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court Decision.
Tickets and passes are now on sale at middfilmfest.org.
Jay Craven is the Artistic Director of the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival.

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