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NH Day & Night Starts NH Film Festival with Big Crowds and Awards

Paul Lazarus wins Van McLeod Award, They Came at Night wins Juried NH Film of the Year

DougRidley2_NHFF_20141016_308 copyThe first day of the New Hampshire Film Festival was packed with filmmakers, press, industry insiders and attendees from around the region and country. Thursday was New Hampshire Day, featuring all NH-affiliated films. Despite rainy skies, over 80 people showed up to the Loft for a short block including NH films Inside the Hideout, Wild New Brave, and for the love of dogs and the Q&A session following. Turnout at the Music Hall was also great, and a total of over 50 films were shown at the two venues on this first day of the festival, dedicated to New Hampshire-affiliated productions.

Before the documentary SlingShot, a team of 17 and 18-yr-olds from Dover High School, FIRST Robotics Team Shockwave #4546, took the stage to demonstrate their robot, built for this year’s FIRST Robotics Competition.

Paul Lazarus, a graduate of Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH, was presented with the Van McLeod Award for his outstanding contribution in film, television, entertainment and culture. Lazarus’ documentary SlingShot was the NH Night spotlight film, and follows inventor and NH native Dean Kamen on his quest to solve the world’s clean water crisis. Lazrus took the stage again following the film for a Q&A session with the crowd.

Paul Lazarus has an over 30-year award-winning career directing, producing and writing film, theater and television. He recently completed the feature documentary called SlingShot about Segway inventor Dean Kamen and his work to solve the world’s safe water crisis. He has created numerous other short documentaries with Kamen highlighting his Segway invention and his inspiring competition for students: FIRST robotics. Lazarus directed and produced the independent feature Seven Girlfriends, starring Tim Daly and Melora Hardin. He has directed many notable TV series, including most recently Pretty Little Liars and The Middle. Directing credits for past shows include: Ugly Betty, Friends, Everybody Loves Raymond, LA Law, Psych and Melrose Place. In the early 90s, he served as the artistic director of the historic Pasadena Playhouse. A graduate of Dartmouth College, Lazarus apprenticed with the Royal Shakespeare Company in England.

About the Van McLeod Award

Named for Van McLeod, the current Commissioner of the NH Department of Cultural resources, this award honors an individual who has made a significant contribution to film, television, entertainment and culture, and hails from the state of New Hampshire. An icon in the state’s cultural community, Van’s work to save the NH Film & Television Office has had an enormous impact on NH’s film industry.


NH Night Award Winners

New Hampshire Night continued with the awards for the best New Hampshire films, performances and filmmakers. The awards were presented by George Venci and Jeff Mountjoy. When speaking of the magic of Portsmouth, Mountjoy said, “It’s an area that supports arts and culture, music, films and theater like no other—that’s where the magic comes from.”

The recipients of the 2014 NHFF NH Awards were as follows:

Best New Hampshire Short Film: The Routine, a 9&1/2-minute sci-fi film directed by Brian Groh and written by Tara Price, who also starred in the film. Price grew up in Hampton, NH, and lived in Portsmouth before moving to L.A. several years ago. She was present to accept the award. The Routine will be shown again Sunday, October 19 at 4:25 P.M. at the Seacoast Rep.

Best New Hampshire Short Documentary: The Granite Stoke, a 40-minute documentary drama directed by directed by Dylan Ladds and Ryan Scura, both natives of NH. They were not present to accept the award. The film will be shown again on Sunday, October 19 at 2:50 P.M. at the Seacoast Rep.
Best NH Performance: Rae Dawn Chong, The Celebrant. Chong lives on the NH Seacoast, and was present to accept her award.
Best Feature Narrative: The Frontier, directed by Matt Rabinowitz, who was present to receive his award.
Best Feature Documentary: SlingShot, directed by Paul Lazarus, who was in attendance to accept his award.
New Hampshire Filmmaker(s) of the Year: Ryan Scura and Dylan Ladds, The Granite Stoke.
New Hampshire Film of the Year: They Came at Night, directed by Andrew Ellis and Alex Mallis, and written by Lindsay Branham. Branham was in attendance to accept the award. The film follows an abducted child soldier risks his life to flee from Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). When capture appears imminent, he encounters a stranger who must decide whether to help him – risking his own life, and the respect of his community. The film will be shown again on Sunday, October 19 at 4:25 P.M. at the Seacoast Rep.

The NH Film of the Year is picked by the NH Jury, made up of Scott “Roadkill” McMullen, of the popular radio show Greg and the Morning Buzz; Sophia Savage, an award-winning filmmaker and NHFF alum; and Kelly Sennott, Arts Writer at The Hippo Press.

Still deciding what films and panels to check out this weekend? Head on over to the Festival Schedule to plan your days and check out the Box Office for more information on ticket options.


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