“It looks like we won the weather lottery,” says festival organizer Philip Gilpin. “Peak foliage and warm, sunny days. It couldn’t be better.”
Gilpin says television and film teams have been arriving from as far away as Denmark, Australia, Los Angeles, and New York, and they’re already remarking how nice their environs are. “There’s a lot of good energy,” Gilpin said. “People are extremely excited to be here. They can’t believe what a gorgeous setting we have for the festival.”
And with the valley full of filmmakers here at a time when southern Vermont is at its most picturesque, Gilpin says there’s potential to put the Deerfield Valley on filmmakers’ radar as a film location. “I heard from camera crews that are here that they don’t know which way to turn because everything’s so pretty,” Gilpin noted. “I think we might be able to land a couple feature projects. (The location) is having the effect it was designed to have on the people coming in from Hollywood.”
The festival kicks off today with screenings beginning at 11:30 am and music at 12:30 pm. Gilpin says there are a couple of changes from the printed schedule, but he says the information will be printed on flyers handed out with the program booklet, and posted in other places for festival attendees.
One of the changes is the loss of “Crash Reel,” a documentary about Vermont snowboarder Kevin Pearce and his family. The documentary was recently picked up by HBO, and Gilpin says there were issues with distribution.
Another change is the inclusion of Fat City in the lineup of screening locations. The room at Fat City, which has been everything from a barn, to a night club, to a theater, and even a church, was originally a screening location, but was dropped for a lack of permits. But the permits are in, and the Fat City venue is ready to go. “On Saturday, when Memorial Hall is closed for a jazz concert, people can just go up the road to Fat City.”
There are two box office locations, one at Wilmington’s Memorial Hall, and another at Mount Snow Marketplace in Dover, located right next to the Valley View Saloon.
Gilpin says measuring the success of the festival’s first year in Vermont comes down to ticket sales – he still needs to sell about 275 more tickets to reach the goal set by the ITVFest board that would allow the festival to return next year and in subsequent years. Gilpin is urging everyone to come to the festival, and acknowledges the local effort that has already been put into the event. “It definitely wasn’t done just by me, it was done by hundreds of people and the organizations that donated money to get it here. It was a group effort that everyone got behind. I think this is the beginning of what should be a long and healthy relationship between the valley and the festival.”