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Fringe Festival starts with film workshop

  • Jonathan Mirin of Piti Theatre in a past performance. Recorder/Paul Franz PAUL FRANZ



Recorder Staff
Wednesday, January 31, 2018

SHELBURNE FALLS — New Orleans has Mardi Gras, and West County has a February celebration to shake off the midwinter blahs. It’s the “Fabulous February Fringe Festival,” and it begins Saturday in Ashfield, then continues Feb. 9 and 10 in Shelburne Falls.

It’s called a “fringe festival” because it presents new, original and edgy dance, puppetry, music, film and spoken word events. It doesn’t focus on one discipline, but presents a “buffet” of events, according to Carmela Lanza-Weil of the Greater Shelburne Falls Area Business Association. The event was created by West County Arts & Culture, a new initiative of the Business Association.

On Saturday, Feb. 3, the Ashfield FilmFest will host a filmmaking workshop, along with a screening of favorite films from the first International Women’s Film Festival in Shelburne Falls last year.

The workshop, at Elmer’s on Main Street, Ashfield, will be led by Jon Huberth, an actor, producer and director of film and video. Huberth is an Amherst College graduate and a former assistant professor of drama at Manhattanville College. He has also directed master classes at the National Shakespeare Conservatory and many plays, from off-Broadway to regional theaters. He has also produced and directed at least 200 videos for colleges and nonprofits.

Huberth will talk about how to effectively reach the audience with a story you want to tell. He will also show three short videos and describe how each was made. The workshop and films are free, but the Ashfield FilmFest will accept donations to help purchase a new projector.

The workshop starts at 3 p.m., followed by an optional dinner at Elmer’s.

To sign up for the workshop, films or dinner, email festival director Tamara Sloan at: tamara.sloan1@gmail.com

Phase 2

The Fringe Festival resumes on Friday, Feb. 9, with the second annual International Women’s Film Festival, presenting short films written, directed or both by women. There will be a discussion afterward with some of the filmmakers. These films will be shown at the Shelburne Buckland Community Center, 53 Main St., at 7 p.m. Admission is $5.

Saturday, Feb. 10, begins with Piti Theatre’s “Sammy and the Grand Buffet” at 3 p.m. at the Shelburne Buckland Community Center. Jonathan Mirin stars as Sammy, an American in Paris awakened by a phone call from his boss learning it’s time to get things ready for the Grand Buffet. He does his best to follow a “to do” list, but it’s not easy being Sammy. About 45 magic-, music- and accident-filled minutes later, the Grand Buffet may or may not be served. Jason Sullivan-Flynn, children’s librarian at the Wheeler Memorial Library, describes it as a “funny and endearing fish out of water story that audiences of all ages are sure to enjoy.”

Donations will be accepted to benefit West County Arts and Culture.

To round out the festival, new work by area artists and the Shad Ladder Radio Hour will be presented at 7 p.m. on Saturday. Shad Ladder had its first performance at the Fringe last year and has continued to perform new shows every month. In June, the group moved to the Shea Theater, but is returning to the Shelburne Buckland Community Center for an anniversary performance. Admission is $5.