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The New Hampshire Film Festival — Weekend in Review

Thursday, October 17, New Hampshire Day and Night Highlights:


Crowds showed up early Thursday morning for a sell-out start to the festival. The first film block, containing the documentaries De Rochemont: The Language of the News and The People’s Forest, sold out quickly at the Music Hall Loft’s Access Sports Medicine Screening Room. This was the second year that multiple venues were needed to accommodate the New Hampshire program of the festival, which the screening committee attributed to the increasing quality of the New Hampshire submissions.

Prince Avalanche, starring Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch and directed by David Gordon Green, was the New Hampshire Night feature film. Producer and New Hampshire native Lisa Muskat was present for the film and a Q&A session following the screening.


Before the film, Lisa Muskat was presented with the Van McLeod Award for her outstanding contributions in film, which has included producing films with Ramin Bahrani (Man Push Cart, Chop Shop), Gary Hawkins (The Rough South of Larry Brown), Arielle Javitch (Look, Stranger), Jeff Nichols (Shotugun Stories), Todd Rohal (Nature Calls) and Craig Zobel (Compliance), with premieres at Sundance, SXSW, Berlin, Toronto, Venice, and the Cannes film festivals.


The New Hampshire Awards followed the screening, with awards for best short film, documentary, feature film, performance and filmmaker of the year, as well as the overall best film of the year, decided upon by the New Hampshire Jury (Daniel Berube, Rick Broussard, Rita Cary, Scott “Roadkill” McMullen and J.L. Stevens). The awards were as follows:

– New Hampshire Short Film of the Year: Empyrean
– New Hampshire Feature Film of the Year: Prince Avalanche
– New Hampshire Performance of the Year: Morganna Ekkens, Only Daughter
– New Hampshire Filmmaker of the Year: Aaron Weiderspahn for Only Daughter
– New Hampshire Documentary Film of the Year: Tom Rush: No Regrets
– New Hampshire Film of the Year: Only Daughter

New Hampshire Night closed out with the NH Film & Television Office After Party at Flatbread Company.

See all of the photos from New Hampshire Day & Night.


Friday, October 18, Opening Day Highlights:

The Independent Film Finance Panel at Discover Portsmouth Center’s Rule Boston Camera Headquarters was made up of panelists from some of the most successful companies in the industry, including FilmBuff, IFC Films, Atlantic Pictures, Oscilloscope and The Independent.

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Tom Bergeron answered questions Friday afternoon at a press conference held at Discover Portsmouth Center’s Rule Boston Camera Headquarters.


The Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Joyce Maynard prior to the Opening Night Feature, Labor Day, based on her book of the same name. “I’ve been to Telluride, and I’ve been to Toronto International,” Maynard said onstage. “But this is the one that means the most to me, to be able to see this film here, with my daughter.”

Opening Night wrapped up with the Vital After Party at the Gaslight Company. 

See all of the photos from Opening Day & Night.


Saturday, October 19 Highlights:


The Annual Comedy Panel was a big hit, with panelists Tom Bergeron, Rae Dawn Chong, Greg Kretschmar and Juston McKinney. Discover Portsmouth Center’s Rule Boston Camera Headquarters was packed, with people lining the walls for the standing-room only panel.

The Waterfront Hospitality Tent Party at One Harbor Place offered delicious appetizers from Demeter’s Steakhouse, chowder from Robert’s of Maine and a sampling of Debauchery Wines, Stella Artois and spirits from Bully Boy Distillers.

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A press conference was held Saturday afternoon with several special guests. Tom Rush, answered questions about Tom Rush: No Regrets and gave advice to aspiring musicians. Actor Christopher Abbott, director Carlos Puga and producers McCabe Walsh and Grant Curatola answered questions about their film All That I Am.

Delta Bravo Urban Exploration’s visual panel, presented by founder Danny Boy O’Connor, Knocko Nolan and Steve  was an exciting and inspiring look at the group’s unique approach to pop culture preservation. By visiting and documenting culturally relevant sites such as film, television, music and true crime locations, the team hopes to save some of these locations by sharing them with the outside world.

Saturday Night wrapped up at the Portsmouth Chevrolet After Party at the Martingale Wharf.

See all of Saturday’s photos and photos from the Portsmouth Chevrolet After Party.


Sunday, October 20, Closing Day Highlights:

The Family Fun Block at the Discover Portsmouth Center’s Rule Boston Camera Headquarters screened three Halloween-themed episodes from Arthur and Are You Afraid of the Dark, all written by Susan Kim, who was in attendance. Stations for face painting and balloon animals were big hits with the attending families.

The Left Bank Films VIP Brunch at the 100 Club was filled with festival sponsors, artists and VIPs. A lavish brunch spread, Bloody Marys and mimosas were enjoyed with a stunning view overlooking the Portsmouth skyline.

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The Indie Film Acquisition and Distribution Panel at Discover Portsmouth Center’s Rule Boston Camera Headquarters offered attending filmmakers the chance to talk with independent acquisition and distribution industry experts.


Tom Rush gave a live performance at the Seacoast Repertory Theatre’s KBW Financial Screening Room following the Sunday afternoon showing of Tom Rush: No Regrets. Rush’s intimate musical performance was a festival highlight for many attendees.


The Young Filmmakers Workshop led by John Herman went through an intense three-day film school, film race and showed their films at the Closing Ceremonies to an excited audience. The films were: A Present for the Past: Chris Livernois, Trevor Robbins, Tara Hall, Russell Doucet; Inspiration: Josh Evans, Zachary McCallion, Tommy Langlois, Connor Smith; Black Out: Mikhail Lavrentyev, Andrew Bennington, Liam Wetherell.


For this year’s Granny Award winners, see 2013 NH Film Festival Granny Awards Announced.

View all photos from Sunday.


Wrap Video:


See you in 2014!