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It’s a wrap: Film fest closes with record attendance

GLENS FALLS — Not only is Glens Falls a hockey town, it’s becoming a film town, said Andrew Meader, board president of the Adirondack Theatre Festival, at the film festival awards party on Saturday night.

“A movie is shooting here right now, and we are doing everything we can to make it easier on you,” Meader said to filmmakers attending a packed celebration party at the 190 Grille. “But I can’t take any credit, this was the vision of Chad Rabinovitz, the creative master … he is the creative force for downtown Glens Falls.”

Saturday’s party wrapped up the second Adirondack Film Festival, presented by the ATF. Just like last year, the film fest surpassed organizers’ expectations, breaking last year’s record attendance by several hundred.

“We sold about 600 passes,” said Rabinovitz, festival organizer and artistic producing director of the ATF at the end of Saturday’s party that was still going strong close to midnight.

Rabinovitz talked about the number of years it took to make several of the 80 films screened at the festival that opened on Thursday night with a free community event at the Cool Insuring Arena.

“The number of years it took to make these 80 films,” he said. “I want to thank you filmmakers. How great to have these rooms packed with people. If you are from this community, look at what we did as a community. And if you are not from this community, look at what we did as a community. I think we have something really special.”

As Rabinovitz spoke to an overflowing room of filmmakers and film screeners, an onlooker said, “I am awed at the amount of community pride I feel in the room right now.”

The free party was the culmination of a year’s work in the making and resulted in organizers having to add several more screenings to the schedule to meet the public demand.

After 11 p.m., audience choice awards were announced, and each winning filmmaker received an award that ATF board secretary Patty Malone Kircher created. She first scoured vintage venues for old film reels and canisters, and once she had enough for the seven awards she had each canister and reel welded together as one award. Then Kircher sanded and painted the awards, adding a label for each category.

The film short awards went first, as filmmakers waited in hopes of hearing their film announced.

The Best Feature Film award went to “Loving Vincent,” the entirely hand-painted film about Vincent van Gogh. The screening of “Loving Vincent” was held several times at The Hyde Collection on Saturday, along with an original van Gogh displayed in the museum’s rotunda. Two of the painters, Tyler Berry and Ryan Chapman, who spent six months in Poland and Greece actually painting individual frames of the film, were at each screening to talk to audiences about their process, and the two also accepted the film’s award at the party.

But the film to take festival audiences by storm was “Getting Grace,” a film made in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, about a 16-year-old girl named Grace who was dying from cancer. The film’s creator, Daniel Roebuck, who also played funeral director Bill Jankowski in the film, was present at every event, embracing filmgoers with his interest in and attention to their lives. Additionally, Marsha Dietlein, who played Grace’s mother, Venus, in the film, attended festival events on Saturday and spoke to an audience at the Crandall Public Library Saturday night before the closing party.

“Getting Grace” won the “Best of the Best” for the festival.

A filmmaker, John Gaps III, who is slated to film “Cop Shop” in Glens Falls in early 2018, said at Saturday’s closing party, “They really know how to do things right.”