Community members and film lovers alike joined in Keene this past weekend to participate in the fourth annual Monadnock International Film Festival (MONIFF). The three-day festival ran from Thursday, April 14, to Saturday, April 16, with events hosted at local restaurants and showings at The Colonial Theatre on Main Street and the Putnam Theatre at Keene State College.
Along with screening ten feature-length films and 14 short films, the festival hosted a variety of filmmaker Q&As, panel discussions and after party events.
According to KSC senior and MONIFF Intern Andrew White, this year’s feature-length films included documentaries and narrative pieces. White said that one of this year’s documentary shorts was nominated for an Academy Award at this year’s ceremony, and that one of the film’s directors made an appearance at the festival.
White said that Keene is the perfect place for holding the annual festival because of its vibrant community and the “close-knit and sort of fusion” between Keene State campus life and town life.
“It melds together. I think it’s a very active community, and obviously the only place in the area I feel they could have something like this,” White said. “We get a lot of interesting work because Ken Burns is right next door…There’s actually a lot of filmmakers around here who are located out of this part of New Hampshire.”
Spofford Resident Helaine Iris, who has been attending the festival since it started four years ago, said she agreed that Keene was the right location for the festival, and believes MONIFF is one of the best local events in terms of support for the global film community.
Iris said that, other than seeing the “fabulous selection of films,” her favorite part about the festival was seeing people in the community that she doesn’t get to see often.
“It feels like it’s a great way to share a quality cultural experience with people in the community,” she said. “I hope everybody supports it so it can keep going, because I think it’s a really important thing for the vibrancy of our community.”
MONIFF Board Member and Filmmaker Toni Nagy said that her favorite part about the festival is that it brings community members together using a medium that everyone can relate to.
“My favorite part about the festival is the conversations that ignite after the films,” she said. “I think it brings people together in a way where they have a common denominator of what to talk about.”
Aside from the community aspect, Nagy said that hosting the festival in a town with a college presence was ideal for generating interest among the younger generations. She said she hopes the festival has encouraged more young adults to experiment with film.
“There’s a lot more access to technology and distribution now,” Nagy said. “So get out there and tell your stories.”
Maxwell Blanchette can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.