Curtain Up on the New Hampshire Film Festival in Portsmouth
The curtain lifts on the 21st New Hampshire Film Festival on Thursday, which lasts through Sunday.
Over 10,000 people are expected to screen over 100 new films, including nearly 40 with connections to the Granite State. There will also be a comedy panel hosted by Tom Bergeron, and more.
Co-founder Nicole Gregg said the four-day festival starts at the Music Hall's historic theater, with a focus on films affiliated with New Hampshire culminating in an awards ceremony. The international competition takes place Friday all the festival's screening venues: the Music Hall theater and the lounge, the 3S Art Space, and the Press Room.
"And then we have lots of parties, receptions, panels and workshops sprinkled throughout the screenings," Gregg told Seacoast Current. "It's a great time to hang out in Portsmouth and enjoy the downtown shops and restaurants."
Gregg said the 105 films scheduled for screening come from almost every genre.
"The films are features, documentaries, short films, animations, student work from all over the world. So it really is an incredibly diverse program," Gregg said.
An Academy Award-Qualifying Festival
Some of the most prestigious films screening at the festival are Eileen starring Anne Hathaway on Friday night, A Little Prayer starring David Strathairn, and director Wim Wenders' Perfect Days on Sunday. Perfect Days is expected to be Japan's bid for the Academy for Best Foreign Film, according to Gregg.
The festival went through a rigorous process to become an Academy Award-qualifying festival, meaning a film can use a screening to apply for a nomination.
But Gregg could not be pinned down to name a favorite.
"There's so many great films. Too many to choose. I don't even know if you could get around to see all the great film this weekend," Gregg said. "We do have fans who come, and it is literally their mission to see as many films as they possibly can."
The only shadow on the festival is the ongoing SAG/AFTRA strike, as actors and directors could not directly represent their films. But a creative way was found around that restriction.
"Some of our special guests who aren't here to necessarily promote their films and their work are just here as industry professionals who are knowledgeable about certain panels that we're going to have them on," Gregg said.
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Gallery Credit: Megan