First Night film festival fun for everyone

By DAN SABBATINO
dan@theballstonjournal.com

Come meet The Greatest Man Alive at the Saratoga First Night celebration this New Year’s Eve.

As part of the festivities, the best of the Ballston Spa Film Festival, held every August, will be shown at the Saratoga Arts Center Theater. First Night’s theme this year is creativity and the arts, so it is no surprise a best-of short-film festival aimed at family-friendly fun is included in the agenda.

“ We have about a 95 minute collection of work, of different short films,” said Daniel DeFabio, director of the Ballston Spa Film Festival.

DeFabio said the films come from a diverse number of artists, largely due to the online relationships the Ballston Spa organization has with others around the country and around the globe.

“Last year there were some pretty out of the way places,” he said.

Entries from Kyrgystan, Hollywood, Turkey, Ireland, Australia, Tajikistan, Indonesia, Spain, Papua New Guinea, and England entertained viewers and judges.

“We have a partnership with a couple of different online film communities. One of them is Open Film based in Florida. James Caan and Robert Duvall are a part of that,” he said.

The best short films, including the 2010 award winners, will be shown inducing the above mentioned Greatest Man, which won for best local interest, as well as Coffee Bird, Brian Brinkman, animated; The Shot, Channing Whitaker; The Loop, Rich Lounello, winner for special achievement; Maggie And Mildred, Holly Klein, winner for best animated film; True Beauty This Night, Peter Besson, winner for best director; The Day the Robots Woke Up, Ed Hartwell winner for best new film; Signs, Patrick Hughes winner for best picture, best screenplay and best editing, and Bodega, Brian Billow winner for best comedy.
DeFabio said he particularly enjoyed And What Remains by Marc Havener, a film about the complex relationship between father and son.

After growing up in Clifton Park, DeFabio spent years in Los Angeles making movies and working in movie marketing, creating posters, DVD boxes covers, and doing special effects work. He continues to produce commercials and work in the movie industry from the Capital District.

Contestants in past years, according to information provided by the events organizers, included Serguei Kouchnerov, who worked on animated hits such at The Lion King and Shrek 2, and some who have gone on to gain Oscar nominations.

The festival judges ranges in background from working on thrillers to science fiction to romantic comedies.

First Night is held to celebrate the new year and features a different theme each time.

“A variety of venues will host performances and audience participant activities that include dance, music, film, art, comedy and fireworks as thousands of people come together to celebrate the new year,” according to information from organizers.
The Ballston Spa Film Festival is calling for 2011 entries. Amateurs and professionals, as well as students, are encouraged to enter. DeFabio said the festival is still seeking sponsors.

Leave a Reply