White River Indie Films Opens With “For the Love of Rutland”
Festival at Lyman Park and online May 21-30
Whether you like your movies outdoors or online, with themes local or global, chances are you will find something to your liking at the White River Indie Films Festival, opening tonight, Friday, May 21 and continuing through May 30.
“To kick off the festivities, WRIF will grant the first annual WRIF Nora Jacobson Award to Vermont-raised filmmaker Jennifer Maytorena Taylor, whose award-winning documentary FOR THE LOVE OF RUTLAND opens the festival Friday, May 21 in Lyman Park, White River Junction, VT. (See below for film description.) The award recognizes excellence in filmmaking by a female-identifying filmmaker who embodies the spirit of artistic integrity, mentorship to young filmmakers, community collaboration, and commitment to social justice that have defined Vermont filmmaker Nora Jacobson’s career.” (from WRIF press release)
In addition to online availability, For the Love of Rutland is just one of three films that will screen during the next two weekends for free at Lyman Park in downtown White River Junction. Food trucks will be available and dogs are welcome. Here are brief synopses:
For the Love of Rutland, by Jennifer Maytorena Taylor, May 21 at 8:00 pm. With a verité approach and a microcosmic lens, FOR THE LOVE OF RUTLAND closely follows the story of Stacie Griffin, a resilient woman who lives in the heroin-battered town of Rutland, Vermont. After 38 years of hardship and near invisibility in an overwhelmingly white town deeply stratified by class, Stacie yearns to improve her own situation and those of her neighbors – including three Syrian families, who arrive in her town just before the federal government bans refugee resettlement. Following three years in the life of a Vermont town torn by clashing ideological and cultural subgroups, the film addresses timely conflicts of identity with strong local relevance.
Dramarama, by Jonathan Wysocki, May 22 at 8:00 pm. It’s summer 1994, and a group of drama nerd friends throw their final murder mystery party before heading off to college. A love letter to LGBTQ+ teens working up their nerve to come out, late bloomers, and the bonds of childhood friendship.
Stray, by Elizabeth Lo, May 29 at 8:00 pm. Stray follows three unforgettable stray dogs as they embark on inconspicuous journeys through Turkish society, forming intimate bonds with a group of young Syrians with whom they share the streets. Lo’s award-winning film is a critical observation of human civilization through the unfamiliar gaze of dogs and a sensory voyage into new ways of seeing.
Additional documentary and fiction films as well as a short-film showcase will screen online through May 30. Films are by mostly young filmmakers from everywhere, including the United States, Nigeria, Sudan, Argentina, Brazil, and Great Britain. Subjects and themes range from a fresh look at the person and life of Helen Keller (Her Socialist Smile), workers in Brazil who labor to produce jeans as they dream of Carnival (Waiting for the Carnival), and life and death in Sudan (Venice Film Festival awardee, You Will Die at Twenty.)
There’s more—Q and A with filmmakers, workshops, and panel discussions. With the exception of the free screenings in Lyman Park, tickets or passes are available online and are required. The offerings are abundant: best to click here for the full schedule and then just dive in and browse.
(All photos and film synopses courtesy of WRIF.)
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And in case you are wondering . . . Susan B. Apel shuttered a lifelong career as a law professor to continue an interest (since kindergarten) in writing. Her freelance business, The Next Word, includes literary and feature writing; her work has appeared in a variety of lit mags and other publications including Art New England, The Woven Tale Press, The Arts Fuse, and Persimmon Tree. She connects with her neighbors through Artful, her blog about arts and culture in the Upper Valley. She’s in love with the written word.