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EASTHAMPTON — For the third straight year, the Easthampton Film Festival will be taking over several locations from May 2 to May 5.

Film festival organizer Chris Ferry said that this year’s festival includes 38 films from filmmakers from all over the place. From comedy to drama, there will be a variety of genres shown during the festival.

Ferry added that he was excited to see an increase in the number of filmmakers from Massachusetts.

“More than half of the films we are showing are from Massachusetts-based filmmakers and some from right here in the valley,” he said. “It’s all been really part of my goal to really celebrate local cinema as much as possible. I’m really excited by the fact that more than half is Massachusetts filmmakers.”
He said in the previous years, Massachusetts filmmakers have made up about a third of the films that have been shown.

Ferry also discussed what he expects for attendance at each showing.

“If I get between 25 and 50 people, I’m thrilled. Most of the venues we have are pretty small, so that feels like a really full house, that’s great,” he said. “Usually, we get a pretty solid house, the smaller houses are about 15 to 20 people, and the bigger houses are about 50 people.”

The 38 films are being shown at over the weekend at Abandoned Building Brewery on May 2, Easthampton Media in Eastworks on May 3 and May 5 and at the Blue Room at CitySpace on May 4.

“I tried to dial it in a little bit, in previous years I’ve done like five venues and it’s a lot more work, so we’re going to try and consolidate this year,” he said.

Tickets can be purchased at the door, but encouraged people to purchase tickets ahead of time online at https://www.easthamptonfilmfestival.com/. Tickets for each of the individual screenings cost $10, but an all-festival pass is available for $50 to attend all six screenings.

“The main advantage to getting them online is you’re assured a ticket. The tickets for Abandoned Building Brewery are selling pretty well. That’s the only one so far that I’m sort of like, ‘what happens if we sell this one out?’ I don’t want to have to turn people away but there’s like fire codes and stuff,” he said.

One of the components of the film showings is the talk backs between the audience and the filmmakers, something Ferry is most looking forward to from this year’s festival.

“We have a lot of filmmakers coming this year, and getting to hear from the folks who made the movie and hear their stories and the challenges, it’s always my favorite part,” he said.

With the talk backs, Ferry said it provides both the audience and filmmakers with a rare experience that “crosses the invisible barrier” between filmmakers and the audience.

“I just think that’s so exciting to get the audience, not only asking questions of the filmmakers about what went into making that, but the filmmakers getting to hear from the audience as well,” he said. “I think that with this medium, people kind of go and they conceive a movie, and then they make a movie and then the move is done one, and then it gets kind of handed off to distributors, gets put out in the world and then the audience watches it and has their own feelings about it. What I like about the talk back is it gets to close that loop.”

Ferry said attendees can look forward to seeing directors, cast members and more members of the crew to discuss their films.

Ferry added that submissions for the 2025 film festival open on May 15 and will likely remain open through at least the end of the year. He also discussed the process in selecting the films to be shown.

“You have to close submissions so that you can start reviewing all the films and then programming the order in which they are going to go in, and arranging who is going to be coming to town, and finding housing for them, building the promotional materials. It takes an enormous amount of time and work after you close the door on submissions,” he said.

Ferry said that ahead of this year’s festival he received 108 film submissions.
“For everyone I accept, I have to reject two, sometimes that’s relatively easy, sometimes the quality isn’t up to standards or sometimes the subject matter I just know a local audience is not going to like it,” he said. “More frequently it comes down to a third of them out of the way there and then you’re having to build the puzzle pieces about what goes together.”

In prior years, Ferry said he used to go through each of the films alone before some volunteers signed up to help him to decide what gets selected to show.

“This year, I’ve been really fortunate to have local enthusiasts volunteer in a really meaningful way and help me watch, and discuss, and put our heads together on it. It’s so much better, I think, to be done by a committee than just all come down to me because I’ve got my preferences and other people have theirs.”

Ferry added that he was looking forward to bringing this year’s films to Easthampton.

“I’m super proud of this season’s selection, I think we’ve done a terrific job of getting a little something for everybody there and I hope folks will come out and check what we’ve got to share with them,” he said.

dhackett@thereminder.com | + posts