LAVA Center hosting Sunday online film series

  • The LAVA Center on Main Street in Greenfield. STAFF FILE PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 7/15/2021 4:08:06 PM

GREENFIELD — The LAVA Center is hosting its first Open Screen Film Festival this month, offering filmmakers from across Massachusetts a chance to share their work with a wider audience.

The online festival, which began on Sunday, is scheduled to take place on Sundays through July 25. Once films have debuted on their respective dates, they will be available to viewers throughout the duration of the festival.

“There’s a real wide range — most are short films,” said Vanessa Query, who is organizing the event. “They’re from all over Massachusetts. More in the valley, but we did have some folks from east and out west submit things. I think it’s a great, really diverse program.”

The films, which vary in length — though most are between three and 10 minutes — include narrative, animation, documentary and music, among other genres.

“There’s a lot of student productions, which I think is really cool,” she said.

In total, the festival, which is funded in part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, received upward of 40 submissions, she said.

Query said most film festivals are done through a competitive selection process; this program, however, was organized in an open mic format, offering filmmakers of all talents and abilities the opportunity to have their work shown.

“(The competitive process) makes it harder for students and amateurs to get their work shown,” she said. “Also, a lot of film festivals don’t have a big presence of short films, which is what most students tend to make.”

Ultimately, Query hopes the festival allows filmmakers to reach a wider audience, or people who wouldn’t normally get to see their work.

“I hope they will get more eyes on their stuff, get promo for whatever they’ve done or are going to do,” she said.

Given the online format — which was a result of the program being organized earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic — Query is encouraging audience members to share their feedback on the films via email with The LAVA Center, or the filmmakers directly (the contacts can be found at localaccess.org/open-screen-online-film-festival/).

“I want (audience members) to know there are people who are making movies locally; it’s not just Hollywood,” Query said. “Hollywood isn’t the only game in town. … We have such a rich local art scene and movies are a part of that.”

Query said she hopes to see the online film festival be the first of many, with future ones happening in person.

“There’s nothing quite like watching movies with other people,” she said. “That’s something I miss, especially when you have the filmmakers in the room.”

Although the festival is free to view, tickets should be reserved in advance at bit.ly/3wuF8UU.

Mary Byrne can be reached at mbyrne@recorder.com or 413-930-4429. Twitter: @MaryEByrne




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