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New Hampshire Night Gets the Ball Rolling for the 18th Annual New Hampshire Film Festival

The first day of the 2018 New Hampshire Film Festival came to a close Thursday night at The Music Hall with a packed house for the opening reception, the premiere of the first NHFF feature film, and with the presentation of the prestigious New Hampshire Night Awards.

The event began at 6:00 p.m. in the lobby of The Music Hall with the reception that featured cinema lovers of all ages discussing their favorite films seen during the day and which ones they were excited to catch throughout the rest of the weekend. Everyone was in good spirits as all sorts of different people shared a common love for New Hampshire film.

The reception was followed by the presentation of the honorable Van McLeod Award. The award is given to someone that has had an impact in the cinematic field in New Hampshire just as its namesake Van McLeod did. The award was presented by McLeod’s wife Joan Goshgarian and was given to Barry Stillman. This is the tenth year anniversary of the Van McLeod award and nobody deserved it more than Stillman, who had been a close friend to both Van and Joan.

Stillman has been an incredibly influential individual in the New Hampshire film scene as he opened Cinema 93 and is also the founder of Red River Theater in Concord, which is one of the state’s absolute best theaters to catch independent films. 

The presentation of the award was very personal because of the friendship shared between Joan and Barry, a friendship that was possible because of the impact that film and its community in New Hampshire had on the two of them.

Following the presentation of the Van McLeod award was the screening of the New Hampshire night feature film, Damsel.

 

Damsel is directed, written and produced by David Zellner & Nathan Zellner, Chris Ohlson is a co-producer.

The film is a genre melding feature that has elements of a western, comedy, and a drama. The film routinely made the audience burst out laughing, but also featured a few moments of rather grisly violence. The film is full of beautiful wide shots just like classic Westerns of old.

Damsel stars Robert Pattinson (of Twilight fame) and Mia Wasikowska who both give electric performances and had the audience cackling.

After the screening of Damsel it was time for the awards for New Hampshire Night. The juries for the awards featured all sorts of unique individuals that come from all types of facets of the film industry.

The New Hampshire Jury featured writer and director Dylan Allen, President/CEO of American Public Television  Cynthia Fenneman, and Commissioner at the NH Dept. of Natural & Cultural Resources Sarah Stewart.

The winners for the 2018 New Hampshire Night Awards are…

Congratulations to the recipients and to those that were nominated for the prestigious New Hampshire Night Awards.
Following the opening night reception, be sure to drop by the Allagash Bash After Party, hosted by Flatbread Company.
By Liam McNicholas
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