From Al Roker To Joan Baez, the annual movie festival readies to thrill.
By Isabella Joslin
The 23rd Annual FilmColumbia Festival is an exceptional celebration that takes center stage among the vibrant fall foliage of New York’s Columbia County. Film fanatics and locals alike come together in October at Chatham’s historic Crandell Theatre for a unique cinematic experience.
For its 23rd year, FilmColumbia is featuring an impressive selection of offerings, locally cultivated talent and live experiences that they hope will take film buffs to the heart of the entertainment culture. With more than 600 films screened during its existence, FilmColumbia possesses an impressive movie résumé—a whopping 25 of these films won Oscars (102 were nominated).
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Children’s International Shorts Program, a weekend event where both live-action and animated films are presented at no cost on Saturdays during the festival’s concluding weekend. Patti Greaney, the curator at Giraldi Media, has crafted a compilation of beloved films from previous years.
FilmColumbia honors the exceptional talent found in Columbia County this year and organizers said attendees will get to interact with creators in person at events and live Q&A sessions throughout the festival.
Three films from the acclaimed Killer Films were screened at the festival on October 21. These include Camp (2003); I Shot Andy Warhol (1996); and Todd Haynes’ most recent feature, May December.
Ruth Reichl, the legendary former editor of Gourmet magazine, opened the event with a tasty treat by exploring the difficulties the independent food chain faces in her documentary Food And Country.
Gaining Ground: The Fight For Black Land is brought to the festival by local resident and TODAY Show host Al Roker. The topic of Black farmers recovering their ancestral lands is clarified in this powerful documentary. As honorary chairs of the Crandell’s Capital Campaign, Roker and his wife, ABC News journalist Deborah Roberts, help ensure the cinema’s financial success.
Renowned actor Stephen Lang, best known for Avatar, voices a character in the touching animated film My Love Affair With Marriage, which also stars current The Mountains cover subject, Matthew Modine. The captivating documentary Joan Baez: I Am A Noise, directed by local filmmakers Karen O’Connor and Miri Navasky, explores the revolutionary talent.
“FilmColumbia is an authentic international festival with a tremendous diversity,” says Co-Artistic Director Laurence Kardish. “Although it’s noncompetitive, the festival is rich with award-winning films from other major competitions such as Cannes, Berlin and Sundance. It provides an immersive snapshot into the state of contemporary cinema with dramatic, nonfiction, animated and independent cinema from all over the globe but also close to home, letting the audience dream with filmmakers whose works expand our minds and enrich our consciousness.”
FilmColumbia 23 aims to be an unmatched celebration of regional talent, with top-notch film and stimulating conversation. Don’t pass up the opportunity to see the magic unfold on the big screen at the Crandell Theatre. See you at the movies.