2010 Ashfield FilmFest

Ashfield FilmFest Gala Screening
September 25th at 7pm in the Ashfield Town Hall

It’s that time of year again for the 4th Annual Ashfield FilmFest. Last year all 450 tickets sold out, so be sure to get your tickets early! Details below.

Here on Hilltown Families we’ve featured a couple of films entered into the festival, including 2009 First Prize, Adult & Audience Choice Award winner Dancing Queens produced by Nancy Hoff, and 2007 Grand Prize winner Three Seasons of Winter produced by David Fessenden.

Last year’s Grand Prize winner, The Great Ashfield Pancaper, produced by Gayle Kabaker,  a story about Secret Agents trying to steal Elmer’s award winning pancake recipe, is featured below. Abe Loomis, Janice Sorensen, Sonya Kitchell, Erica Wheeler & Erin McKeown contribute their vocal and song writing talents.

Nan Parati, proprietress of Elmer’s writes:

When Gayle Kabaker came to me in early summer to say she wanted to make a film about Elmer’s pancakes, I backed away saying, “I don’t think I want to be involved with this,” a project I feared was somehow going to be a five-minute infomercial on our pancakes. I do love our pancakes, but I couldn’t see myself standing there pitching them or standing proudly by while someone else did. I wasn’t sure what she had in mind and did everything I could to dissuade her from the idea.

Then she brought me the script and it was SO goofy and downright funny—AND I would get to wield a gun and smoke a cigar; the casting was very well-thought out, and it featured three of my favorite people in cameo roles, so I agreed and even did my own hair and makeup for the shoot.

Be sure to get your tickets early for the Fourth Annual Ashfield Filmfest. The event was sold out last year. The gala screening will take place at Ashfield Town Hall on Saturday, September 25th at 7 pm. Tickets are $5. Kids are free but they must have tickets. You can purchase tickets at the Ashfield Farmers Market Saturday mornings or at Belding Memorial Library during regular library hours. Tickets are also be available at Elmer’s and at Ashfield Hardware Store. This year a Technical Achievement Award and a Music Award have been added to the list of prizes. Belding Memorial Library will receive a share of this year’s proceeds. All the five minute film entries are in. Be sure to be there for the screening and to vote for the popular Audience Award. For more information visit our website at www.ashfieldfilmfest.org.

Dancing Queens in Ashfield

Winning Film from 2009 Ashfield FilmFest

Remember in August when Nancy Hoff, co-owner of Ashfield Hardware invited the community to come together in a Mama Mia Reunion and Reenactment?  Mothers, daughters, sisters and grandmothers came together to create a short film for the 2009 Ashfield FilmFest which received the First Prize and Audience Choice.

Liz Castro of Ashfield, MA shares the video here:

And the Winner Is … Ashfield FilmFest

Notes from Nan: Ashfield FilmFest 2009
By Nan Parati, HF Contributing Writer

September 26th, 2009: Ashfield FilmFest

What a great time was had by over 400 people last Saturday night at the Third Annual Ashfield FilmFest at Town Hall! Fifteen films were entered, the rules being that the films had to be no longer than five minutes, and have some connection to the town of Ashfield (um Massachusetts, not the one in England, I don’t think.)

Red Gate Farm had held workshops in filmmaking and there were a number of entries from kids that were quite fun. Nancy Hoff at the Hardware Store had a brilliant idea in recreating the “Dancing Queen” scene from Mama Mia and orchestrated hundreds (yes? hundreds?) of Ashfield women in giving up their daily toil to join in a rousing musical dance down Main Street ending with a plunge in Ashfield Lake. (I remember that day and it was cold! More kudos to everyone connected with that film for staying in character and following through!) There was a hilarious mockumentary on Big Foot sightings in Ashfield by Jason Mazzarina and Elijah Rottenberg. I’d like to see that one again. There were thoughtful films on the best of Ashfield and its caring for each other, documentaries of daily life and events in Ashfield, and just plain funny ones on summer interning at Red Gate Farm, haunted barns at Red Gate Farm and then, on the pancakes at Elmer’s.

When Gayle Kabaker came to me in early summer to say she wanted to make a film about Elmer’s pancakes, I backed away saying, “I don’t think I want to be involved with this,” a project I feared was somehow going to be a five-minute infomercial on our pancakes. I do love our pancakes, but I couldn’t see myself standing there pitching them or standing proudly by while someone else did. I wasn’t sure what she had in mind and did everything I could to dissuade her from the idea.

Then she brought me the script and it was SO goofy and downright funny—AND I would get to wield a gun and smoke a cigar; the casting was very well-thought out, and it featured three of my favorite people in cameo roles, so I agreed and even did my own hair and makeup for the shoot.

One great thing about the FilmFest is that idea that so many people wanted to come out and see locally-made films, support their friends’ work, dress up in magnificent fashion, clap, cheer and whistle, that over eighty people were actually turned away from the event due to space limitations. I understand that much of the turned-away crowd ended up at Elmer’s for an impromptu alternate party that culminated in patrons doing the final clean-up so that poor Mary, who had not expected to be there by herself (we had thought we’d stay open until seven or so) that night could finally close and go home to sleep before coming back the next morning to cook breakfast. It was a night of community fun and togetherness, something this town is known for and yearns for again after our summer of rocky and uncomfortable division.

When the awards were announced (and rewarded with beautiful individually-created ceramic plates by Dawn Fessenden, as beautiful as any gold-plated statue!) it came out thus:

  • First Prize for Youth: Galen Knowles for History in a Free Fall
  • First Prize for Adult: Nancy Hoff for Dancing Queen
  • Ashfield History Prize (sponsored in part by the Ashfield History Project): Tamsen Merrill for Stocking the Food Pantry
  • Ashfield Resident Prize: David Fessenden for Locavore
  • Grand Prize: Gayle Kabaker for The Great Ashfield Pancaper
  • The well-deserved and roundly applauded Audience Choice Award (for their favorite film, voted on directly after the showing of all the films) was Nancy Hoff’s Dancing Queen.

Congratulations to all who participated, actually getting it together to make a whole film, finish it and get it in! Keep that creative momentum and let’s do it again next year!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nan Parati - Elmer's StoreNan Parati

Nan is the proprietor of Elmer’s Store in Ashfield, MA. A New England transplant from the Deep South, Nan shares her southern wit, wisdom and charm every week in her column, “Notes from Nan.” Share dinner with her every Friday at Elmer’s. Menu’s are posted with her column. nanparati@aol.com

Hilltown Mothers, Daughters & Grandmothers Wanted for Ashfield Filmfest

Ashfield Lake (c) Hilltown Families - www.hilltownfamilies.org

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.

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