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Adirondack Film Festival screeners cast their ballot for their favorite films Saturday night at the Charles R. Wood Theater in Glens Falls, following the screening of "Blaze."

GLENS FALLS — Adirondack Film Festival organizers tallied 900 passes sold to the 2018 festival shortly before it wrapped up on Sunday afternoon in Glens Falls.

“Tickets sold increased by more than 50 percent,” said Chad Rabinovitz, producing artistic director of the festival. “We have grown year after year, and we are now much bigger than year one and notably bigger than last year.”

Back in 2016, organizers were surprised by the inaugural festival’s attendance, and each year since, the festival continues to break records in the number of tickets sold, the number and quality of films scheduled and the number of filmmakers coming to the city for the festival.

“’Radium Girls’ was sold out on Thursday night and we had to add another screening today,” said Rabinovitz about Sunday’s afternoon screening. “At the films and events — panels and parties — the rooms were filled with people; the parties have been packed, and we had a waiting list all weekend for the virtual reality experience.”

For this third annual festival, there were 100 films screened, more than 900 passes sold and more than 120 filmmakers present.

“We have grown our capacity with more seating,” said Rabinovitz, explaining they added The Park Theater and an additional screen at The Queensbury Hotel. “But topping previous years doesn’t just mean more in numbers; it means bringing in higher quality and creating higher quality experiences.”

Referring to events like the Ticket to France, Rabinovitz said each year the film festival will take audiences on a trip to a new country. For this year’s festival, audiences traveled to France with the French film, “Mrs. Hyde,” screened at The Hyde Collection in Glens Falls, followed by a discussion with French film expert Delphine Selles-Alvarez, film curator for the French Institute Alliance Francaise. Simultaneously, The Hyde Collection featured a selection of French prints.

“Maybe next year we will go to Bollywood at The Hyde and partner with a restaurant,” Rabinovitz said.

Several filmmakers talked about how unusual such high attendance is for festivals they’ve been to in bigger cities.

Chicago-based filmmaker Michael Glover Smith, who came to Glens Falls for the weekend for the world premiere of his film, “Rendezvous in Chicago,” talked about festivals in big cities and the low attendance he’s experienced.

“I think they have so much to do and pick from, many don’t even know the festivals are happening,” he said. “This one is incredible.”

Smith’s feature film was awarded a second-place Audience Choice award for Best Dramatic Feature.

But this festival doesn’t just show films; it shows what the community is capable of, said Rabinovitz.

“I had someone come up to me to say they lived here all their life. With the festival, they rediscovered restaurants they hadn’t been to in a while, they fell in love with Glens Falls again,” said Rabinovitz during Saturday’s award presentations. “It shows everyone it is a great place to visit, an even better place to live and we all should know by now that it is perfect place to make a movie.”

Since the festival kicked off in 2015, there has been a surge of films being made in the area, including Best of the Fest winner “Radium Girls.”

According to Adirondack Film Commissioner Andrew Meader, bringing films to Glens Falls helps area businesses. “When they come here to make a film, we need hotels, caterers, rental houses,” he said. “We booked over 2,000 hotel room nights and spend $100,000 on catering. And crew are going into shops, restaurants over the weekends. It is really an economic boost for the area. It’s a quick injection for hotels on weekdays.”

To support the film festival and filmmaking in the area, Glens Falls Mayor Dan Hall presented both the Adirondack Film Festival and the Adirondack Film Commission with checks — $39,158 each from Downtown Revitalization Initiative funds — on Thursday night before the screening of “Radium Girls” at the Charles R. Wood Theater.

According to Hall, the film commission funding will assist website creation and social media, promotion, familiarization tours through the city and Warren County; and the film festival dollars will assist in marketing, promotion of the festival, licensing and expanding venues within the downtown area.

So, what’s cooking for next year?

Rabinovitz said they are surveying filmmakers and audiences.

“We want them to tell us things we can improve upon and make even better next year. And (we need to) be on the pulse of what’s out there,” he said. “Maybe virtual reality will expand. Higher quality films, higher quality experiences. It’s possible we’ll put a tent in City Park and show films there. The panels can grow. And I believe we will be showing more feature films shot here.”

Adirondack Film Festival 2018

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