Community Film House Celebrates 100 Years in Berkshires

Images Cinema Celebrates 100th Anniversary of its Theater and 100 Years of Movies in the Berkshires

Images Cinema celebrates 100 years as a continuously operating theater this year! To mark this momentous occasion, this nonprofit independent movie theater will host a number of special events and screenings throughout the year, culminating with a special cinematic celebration at the theater on November 30, 2016—100 years to the day that the first film screened in Williamstown.

In November 1916, Hiram C. Walden converted a former Williams College fraternity house into a movie theater, promising to screen only “high class” fare with live musical accompaniment. One hundred years later, movies are still screening, making it one of the oldest continuously operating movie theaters in the world.

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Sprout Film Festival Bring Neurodiversity to the Big Screen

Sprout Film Festival Bring Neurodiversity to the Big Screen

On Sunday, February 28, 2016, Whole Children brings a new film festival to the Pioneer Valley. The Sprout Film Festival aims to make the invisible visible by bringing a collection of films featuring people with developmental and intellectual disabilities to the big screen. Featuring films both entertaining and memorable, Sprout explores neurodiversity and spotlights an ever-present but infrequently artistically explored experience.

Held from 4-6pm at Amherst’s Converse Hall, the festival is appropriate for most ages (audience skills necessary!), and stands out amongst local film festivals in its unique focus: rather than spotlighting artistry and creativity in film, the festival intentionally sheds light on the experiences of people with developmental and intellectual disabilities and invites conversation about community inclusion. After the film, families can stay for a discussion with festival curator and local filmmaker, Ted White – older festival-goers in particular can benefit from this opportunity to hear more about the reasons for the films’ inclusion in the Sprout Film Festival.

The festival connects to a theme of late-winter explorations of film through community-based educational opportunities. Additionally, the Sprout festival encourages families to explore the ways in which people with disabilities of all kinds are included in our society. Using resources recommended in our recent Resources for Learning About the Experiences of People With Disabilities, families can explore neuro- and physical diversity so as to build empathy and understanding for the differences between their own life experiences and those of others.

7 Day Film Sprint Inspires Filmmaking With Quick Turnaround

7 Day Film Sprint Inspires Filmmaking With Quick Turnaround

True to its name, the 7 Day Film Sprint is a week-long filmmaking event calling for the creation of original films in just seven days. Ideal for aspiring filmmakers, the upcoming creative event offers the opportunity to become part of the local filmmaking community and to explore filmmaking technology.

The second half of winter in western Massachusetts is filled with film-based learning opportunities. From upcoming events exploring film-and-music pairings to community-based resources for film education (including film clubs, festivals, and independent theaters), local film-based learning abounds this month as yet another film event joins the scene.

Northampton Community Television’s 7-Day Film Sprint is a mini-marathon of film-making, calling for the creation of short films over the course of a single week and culminating in a mini-festival screening event celebrating the hard work and creativity of those involved!

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Clark Art Institute Exhibit Stars in Film Series

Film Series Pays Homage to “Radical Words: From Magna Carta to the Constitution” Exhibit; Gives Context in Popular Culture

In conjunction with the Clark Art Institute’s recently opened exhibition, Radical Words: From Magna Carta to the Constitution, the Institute offers a series of three free Saturday films beginning Saturday, September 20 at 2 pm. “Documents of Freedom: A Film Celebration” features three films centered around some of the documents in the exhibition, which offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see an original 1215 Magna Carta alongside the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and other key documents in the founding of America.

The family-friendly matinees are as follows: Read the rest of this entry »

PINA Pays Tribute to Legendary Choreographer’s Imagination

Unique Film Showcases the Legacy of a Legendary Choreographer
Sunday, June 15, 2014, 7:30pm

Amherst Cinema’s photography series – of films that explore the “works and worlds” of great photographers – presents an extra-special screening of PINA in conjunction with the Smith College Museum of Art. PINA is an Academy Award-nominated feature-length film by famed German director Wim Wenders in memory of modern dancer and choreographer Philippina “Pina” Bausch. Set to work together in 2009 on a film that would explore Bausch’s “thrillingly unpredictable,” sensual, playful dance pieces, Wenders continued to work on the film after her unexpected and untimely death that year. Featuring her choreography and members of her Tanztheater Wuppertal group, PINA is a monumental tribute to a unique, influential woman, and brilliantly showcases her contributions to the world. Viewers are drawn into the detailed, imaginative sets that Bausch created, including a stage covered with dirt; a cafe-like setup in which the performers dance with their eyes closed, bumping into chairs and tables; and a man-made waterfall. Inspired by Pina’s last words: “Dance, dance, or we are lost,” the film highlights the power of dance as a vital mode of expression. It has been lauded as a milestone in both dance and filmmaking.

Check out the featured trailer: 

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YouthFilm: Day-Long Festival of Film & Video

Northampton Arts Council Call for Entries

The Northampton Arts Council will once again present YouthFilm, a day-long festival of film and video created by local youth in February 2014. The festival accepts film and video entries from throughout the region by young people from 5–18 years old, due by January 20, 2014… so get crackin’!

Is video the most popular creative medium in your household? Young film and video artists are invited to share their work at the Northampton Arts Council’s annual event, YouthFilm – a celebration of the work created by young budding visual artists. Held as a part of the council’s KidsBestFest, a kid-friendly festival of international film, YouthFilm is not only a celebration of the work of local youth – it is an event that builds a bridge between the examination and admiration of others’ work and creating and contributing original work to the field, allowing young artists the opportunity to become part of the world of film-making at a young age.

YouthFilm will be held on Saturday, February 22nd at the Academy of Music on Main Street in Northampton. However, entries to the festival are due by January 20th in order to be considered for screening. Films must be 30 minutes or less and must be submitted in digital form, but entries are not limited by any other restrictions – all genres and subjects are welcome to be explored within the videos.

Here is Emma Strebel’s submission last year titled, “Finding My  Way”:

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15 Films Tell the History of Film at the Berkshire Museum

The Story of Film: An Odyssey
Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, MA
Oct 18 – Dec 13, 2012

The Berkshire Museum’s Little Cinema is offering an in-depth look at the history of films!  The cinema will screen The Story of Film: An Odyssey in eight parts on Thursdays between October 18th and December 13th, starting with “Birth of Cinema:”

The series, which totals just over 15 hours in length, has been divided into fifteen parts – two of which will be shown each week.

Pieced together by film historian Mark Cousins, the series covers literally all of film history, beginning in Thomas Edison’s New Jersey laboratory and ending with a critical look at the multi-billion dollar, technology advanced modern film industry.  Other topics covered include early Hollywood, and the creation of the glitzy Hollywood dream; the so-called “golden age” of cinema, along with the artistry of expressionism, surrealism, and impressionism; the incorporation of sound and color into film; and the effects of changes in American culture on film, especially during eras of historical importance (post WWII, the 1970’s, etc.).

Most appropriate for older students, the film series offers lots of information, presented and narrated in a way that is easily understood.  Students can tie what they learn about film history to their own prior knowledge of American history and culture, and the development of technology.  Each screening costs $5, but passes to all eight screenings are available for $25.  There will be no screening on Thanksgiving – Thursday, November 22nd.  For more information call 413-443-7171 or visit


October 18, 7 p.m.
Part 1: “Birth of the Cinema” (1900–1920)
Filmed in the very buildings where the first movies were made, this hour shows ideas and passion as the driving forces behind film, more so than money and marketing. It covers the very first movie stars, the close up shot, special effects, and the creation of the Hollywood myth, along with a surprise: the women who were the greatest — and best-paid — writers in these early years.
Part 2: “The Hollywood Dream” (1920s)
Star/directors like Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton made Hollywood a glittering entertainment industry. But the gloss and fantasy was challenged by movie makers like Robert Flaherty, Eric Von Stroheim, and Carl Theodor Dreyer, who wanted films to be more serious and mature. The result of this battle for the soul of cinema: some of the greatest movies ever made.

October 25, 7 p.m.
Part 3: “Expressionism, Impressionism, and Surrealism: Golden Age of World Cinema” (1920s)
German Expressionism, Soviet montage, French impressionism and surrealism pushed the boundaries of film as passionate new movements. Less known are the glories of Chinese and Japanese films, and the moving story of a great, now-forgotten, movie star, Ruan Lingyu.
Part 4: “The Arrival of Sound” (1930s)
Along with the advent of sound with film comes a host of new genres: screwball comedies, gangster pictures, horror films, westerns, and musicals. Director Howard Hawks was a master of most of them. During this period, Alfred Hitchcock hits his stride and French directors become masters of mood.
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Call for Youth Film Makers in the Pioneer Valley

Looking Back to the Future: Envisioning our Communities in 2030

"Film makers are asked to identify some element of their community’s history, relating it to ideas and practices that will help the community become economically and environmentally viable over the next 20 years."

What do you think that your community will look like 20 years from now?

BNC-TV and Pioneer Valley Institute at Greenfield Community College are offering kids living within the Pioneer Valley Regional School District to share their vision!

The program, called “Looking Back to the Future: Envisioning our Communities in 2030,” asks participants to create a short film about their ideas of the future.  In the film (which can be created using equipment provided by BNC-TV), they should identify some parts of the community’s history that they view as being significant and then explain how they envision those things will develop in the coming years.  Ideas for change should be centered around making communities more economically and environmentally viable.

For more information contact Judy Philips at 978-544-2653,, or Sue Ross at 413-498-2700,

Hilltown Mothers, Daughters & Grandmothers Wanted for Ashfield Filmfest

Ashfield Lake (c) Hilltown Families -

The dock at Ashfield Lake. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Nancy Hoff, co-owner of Ashfield Hardware in Ashfield, MA writes:

Mama Mia Reunion and Reenactment in Ashfield!  I would like to submit a five minute film for the Ashfield Filmfest and need a cast of thousands of women and children!

The five minutes will be our own rendition of the “Dancing Queen” scene of Mama Mia where Meryl Streep and girl friends dance through the streets as village women cast their work aside, leave their men, go to the dock and jump in.  We have a Main Street, work, a lake, even a dock.  Be prepared to jump, but not a requirement.

Meet at the Congregational Church on Sunday, August 9th at 3pm on Main Street in Ashfield, MA.  If you can’t be there at 3pm, pop into a scene at 4pm or come to the dock and jump at 5:30pm:

  • 3pm – Organize at church
  • 4-5pm – Shoot a various locations around town
  • 5:30pm – At the town dock to jump

Here are locations we will be shooting at from 4-5:30pm and activities they will be performing:

  • Congregational Church: Women rehearsing choir, dropping hymnals.  Kate (the minister) tears off her collar.  All go out of church to head towards the dock.
  • Elmer’s Store: Women shopping, working on lap tops in cafe, cafe-ole-ing.  They drop what they are doing to join in.
  • Belding Memorial Library: Librarian sweeping steeps, lawn care and gardening.  Leave tools to run and join group.
  • Country Pie Pizza: Women carrying high stacks of pizza boxes.  Boxes tumble down and women rush to the street to join.
  • Ashfield Hardware Store: Sitting on Furniture, loading cars with merchandise, when they stop and join the crowd passing by.
  • Post Office: Having a water cooler moment at the blue mail box as the parade of women head towards to dock.
  • Neighbors Store: Pumping gas, reading the newspaper out front, girls on scooters when every stops and joins.
  • Ashfield Laundry:  Laundry is abandoned
  • Town Hall Steps: Papers fly …

Bring props and ham it up.  Looking for fun?  Tell your friends and come!

If you have questions, call Ashfield Hardware at 628-3299

Click here to see the winning video from Ashfield Filmfest 2008.

Call for Entries: YouthFilm 2009

YouthFilm 2009

The Northampton Arts Council is excited to present the third annual YouthFilm in 2009! Due to the great success of the 2007 and 2008 events, we will continue to produce Northampton’s only film festival to feature the works of local children and teenagers. The third YouthFilm showcase will be held in February 2009, so start planning and creating your films!

The Northampton Arts Council is now accepting submissions. The deadline for applications and films is Friday, November 28, 2008. Filmmakers will be notified of the YouthFilm 2009 decisions the by the end of December.

All genres and styles of films in DVD format are welcome. Films should be no longer than 30 minutes. We are very excited to continue this wonderful opportunity to give our youth a voice in the arts community. Please contact The Northampton Arts Council with any questions and for an application form.

Contact: Erin Molloy

Pete Seeger and the Clearwater Festival

Pete Seeger: The Power of Song

Long before “going green” became popular buzzwords, the Clearwater Music and Environmental Festival founder, folk singer/peace activist Pete Seeger sang and protested tirelessly in support of the environment, particularly the Hudson River in New York. His extraordinary legacy is documented in the upcoming film, American Masters Pete Seeger: The Power of Song, a new film scheduled to premier nationwide on PBS on 02/27/08 at 9pm (EST). The documentary explores how Seeger’s music inspires everyday people to get involved and make a difference. He continues to gain popularity and recognition for his achievements, with a petition recently launched to nominate him for a Nobel Peace Prize.

The Hilltown Family Variety Show has featured Pete Seeger on several episodes, including: Martin Luther King, Jr. Episode (01/22/08), Peace Episode (01/01/08), and the Earth Day Episode (04/17/07). Pete Seeger understands the power of song to move people. The Clearwater Music and Environmental Festival is a celebration of the environment, recognizing all the progress we have made in cleaning up the Hudson River as a direct result of staying true to his vision. Below is a slide show from last year’s Clearwater Music Festival. Let the images of summer warm your cold New England toes! Photos (c) Hilltown Families.

Clearwater Music and Environmental Festival

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Come to the Festival in June, and join the thousands of people of all ages who carry on Seeger’s legacy through art, music, dance and education.

Becoming a Volunteer at the Festival

Volunteering for the Clearwater Festival is easy, with applications available online at: Volunteers are granted full Festival access and receive an
official volunteer T-shirt, on-site camping, and all meals and snacks from Friday evening to Sunday evening. They are also invited to the exclusive volunteer party, featuring
food, dancing and a live band.

Some of the headliners last year included the Cowboy Junkies, Buffy Sainte-Marie and Bruce Cockburn. And on the Family Stage last year was a great line-up of fine talent:

  • Bindlestick Bill
  • Steve Charney & Harry
  • Dog on Fleas
  • Spook Handy
  • Sharon Katz & The Peace Train
  • Paul Richmond
  • Roger the Jester
  • Story Laurie & Ira McIntosh
  • Storycrafters
  • Uncle Rock
  • We’ll keep you posted on this year’s line up when it’s been confirmed!

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    What Would Jesus Buy?


    There’s a new documentary film out that I’d like to catch, What Would Jesus Buy, produced by Morgan Spurlock (the same guy who produced Super Size Me). An interview with performance artist Bill Talen was recently aired on Valley Free Radio (home of the Hilltown Family Variety Show) that caught my attention. The film is a docu-“comedy” where Talen plays the role of Reverend Billy who has his very own church, The Church of Stop Shopping.

    The film focuses on the issues of the commercialization of Christmas, materialism, the over-consumption in American culture, globalization, and the business practices of large corporations, as well as their economic and cultural effects on American society, as seen through the prism of activist/performance artist Bill Talen, who goes by the alias of “Reverend Billy,” and his troupe of activists, whose street theater performances take the form of a church choir called “The Church of Stop Shopping,” that sings anti-shopping and anti-corporate songs. The film follows Billy and his choir as they take a cross-country trip in the month prior to Christmas 2005, and spread their message against what they perceive as the evils of patronizing the retail outlets of several different large corporate chains. (Wikipedia)

    Here’s the trailer for the film:


    The theater closest to the Hilltowns & the Pioneer Valley playing this film is Real Art Ways in Hartford, CT, opening on December 7th, 2207. (BTW, what’s the update with Pleasant Street Theater in Northampton, MA?)


    Is your family taking a different approach to the holidays? One that’s not full of commercialization and materialism? The Natural Resources Defense Council is inviting folks to post a home video of their ideas to their Use Your Brain: Do the Holidaze Different at

    Other places to post your “Green Holiday Tips”

    • Eco-Friendly Family Bulletin Board on Hilltown Families
    • Sustainable Living Bulletin Board at the Old Creamery in Cummington, MA
    • Going Green for the Holidays Bulletin Board at the Forbes Library in Northampton, MA

    Pioneer Valley Jewish Film Festival ’07

    Pioneer Valley Jewish Film Festival
    March 10th – March 31st, 2007

    Through collaborative community effort, the Pioneer Valley Jewish Film Festival will be offering a spectacular array of award-winning, entertaining films from around the world this month. Hilltown families and filmgoers of all ages can enjoy compelling drama, comedy, documentary, and shorts from the best film festivals.

    The PVJFF runs for three weeks and includes discussions with filmmakers and other speakers, social receptions, art exhibits, and concerts. Film venues range from the Basketball Hall of Fame and the Showcase Cinema, to the Smith College Museum of Art and the Pleasant Street Theatre. Click here for a complete list of venues and film schedules.

    Amy Dryansky from the festivals steering committee, has suggested two film programs that may be of interest to hilltown parents:

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