The Monadnock International Film Festival [MONIFF] just completed its third annual weekend of film. The festival’s aim, according MONIFF Executive Intern Ruzzel Zullo, is to bring the community together and share the world of film. “Our belief,” Zullo said, “is that movies matter.” “The call of our festival,” Barakat said, “is definitely to try to make these films accessible to the public, and to introduce audiences here to movies that are intellectually and philosophically provocative.”
MONIFF is of great value to all of those involved, according to Zullo. “Movies, at their core,” he said, “are about human connectivity and shared human experience.” And that, he explained, is what MONIFF is all about. Not only is it about sharing the experiences of great films, but it’s about coming together as a community.
This year’s festival featured several films, such as “Little Boy” and “The Ghost and the Whale.” Each year at the festival, someone in film is awarded the “Jonathan Daniels Award,” for promoting civil rights and equality. The recipient this year was Margaret Nagle, for her film “The Good Lie,” starring Reese Witherspoon as a woman took in a group of Sudanese refugees. Nagle attended the showing of her film on Saturday night at the Colonial Theater in Keene.
“I am so honored to be able to give the award to Margaret this year,” Laina Barakat, executive director of the festival, said. “She is not only an incredible screenwriter and powerhouse, but a remarkable woman. It makes me proud that both this and the last year’s recipients were female.” She explained how women are doing great things in the film industry these days.
Barakat spoke on Thursday, the opening night of the festival, about the hard work that goes into making it all happen.
“I was trying to think of what to say tonight, and all I could think of to say is ‘thank you,’” Barakat said to the audience on Thursday night. According to Barakat, the biggest sponsor of MONIFF is Glass and Gear, a entertainment equipment rental company. All of the work they did for the festival was purely voluntarily, Barakat explained. The festival, she explained, could not have happened without the various sponsors and dozens of volunteers.
There were several guests at MONIFF this year. Margaret Nagle came to accept the Jonathan Daniels award, but there were even more. The writers and directors of “The Ghost and the Whale,” a film that played Friday night, came to the showing at the Colonial, as well. Anthony and James Gaudioso are twin brothers who, according to them, put all they had into this film. When the film ended they stood in the lobby of the theatre to shake hands with fans and friends. There were also panels of directors, writers, and actors of various films and short films that premiered at this festival. According to Zullo, “The panels were really engaging to all that went.” According to Zullo, “this year’s festival was way more streamlined as MONIFF continues to hit its stride, and only bigger and better things are to come.” The festival was well received by audience and volunteers alike. “It was a fun compilation of friends, films and parties,” Rebecca Rose, MONIFF marketing intern, said.
Many special guests were present at MONIFF, including New Hampshire Senate members Molly Kelly and Tom Eaton. Additionally, a number of KSC students volunteered throughout the weekend, and the KSC Film Society also played a major role. According to Zullo, there seems to be more of an interest in MONIFF each year, and hopefully interest will only continue to grow.
Sarah Rooney can be contacted at email@example.com