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19th Annual Bucks Fever Film Fest showcases area filmmakers

by Stewart Gross

The Central Bucks Chamber of Commerce sponsored the 19th annual Bucks Fever Film Fest in Doylestown, the weekend of October 12th and 13th.  The event featured some of the best independent films created by both Bucks County artists, and artists from Philadelphia’s University of the Arts and Temple University.

Brad Sanders, who chairs the event for the Chamber, stated that, “There are 50-60 independent film submissions each year from Bucks County and the Delaware Valley of which 15-18 are normally chosen. We have a committee of ten people with extensive film and screenwriting experience, particularly Jim Breckenridge of the Playcrafters Group, who make the selections.”

Jim has taught screenwriting at the Bucks County Writer’s Room as well as nationally, and has been a juror on the Bucks Fever Film Fest since its inception.

The first event for the public was a free film crawl, which the organizers of the film crawl held for the first time in the19-year history of the fest.  The three locations: Anthiel, Maslow, and MacMinn, the Stacks Company, and the Doylestown Inn, each screened five of the nominated films that were not selected as winners by the committee each between 1:00 and 4:00pm on Saturday the 12th.

They consisted of short cartoons, fiction, and documentaries.

The screening of this year’s winners at Doylestown’s historic County Theatre, the central event of the fest, was held on Sunday evening.

It began with a VIP event with event organizers and the winning film makers, who received their awards after the screening of the films, which was done in three parts. 

Doylestown filmmaker Lindsay Vitale, wrote and directed the winner of the best college film, “High Tide,” which she likes to call the “anti-Bay Watch.”

Lindsay told me, “I like to do comedy. I wanted to take a lifeguard show like Bay Watch and turn it into a gritty and dark comedy. ‘High Tide’ was my culminating film from my Master in Fine Arts program at Temple University.”

Lindsay was a 2011 graduate of Central Bucks East High School, who started in the performance arts as an actress, dancer, and singer and attended PACE University in New York City.

She decided to make the switch from acting to filmmaking while at PACE to “take over creative control over what I do.”

She then created the first student filmmaker club at PACE. 

Lindsay now works as a free lancer for local media companies and continues to make films.

Chloe Carroll, of Langhorne, won a screenwriter award at Film Fest for the short film, “The Mysterious Marble Eggs.”

The film is a cautionary tale about the curiosity of a young teen who becomes addicted to drugs.

Chloe told me, “The whole script is a parable to teach children the dangers drug addiction and how it can start with something as innocent as curiosity.” 

Chloe is a filmmaker and local producer of horror films. She founded Fear Crypt, which is a short horror film start-up. Their mission is to create short horror films for the web.

Chloe, who moved to Langhorne from England, started to “write my own scripts to produce, and fell in love with creating stories. The first feature film that I produced, ‘The Honeymoon Phase,’ is premiering in Philadelphia on November 3rd at the Philadelphia Film Center as part of First Glance Film Festival.”

BEST OF FEST 2019 – Tight Spot by Kevin Haefelin;

FILM SCREENING – FAN FAVORITE 2019 -Winter Vampire/Summer Humans by Nick Fulfaro;

SCREENWRITER WINNERS:

  • 1st Nik Theorin for The Errant Signal;
  • 2nd Jon Rehr for Bad Highlights or Bad Judgement;
  • 3rd Chloe Carroll for The Mysterious Marble Eggs;
  • HM Kevin New for Wide Right.

FILM WINNERS:

High School Narrative – The Term Paper by Joseph Scelza;

We Can Fix This by Maya Long / Dario Adame / Emma Kujath / Matt Musick;

College Narrative  – High Tide by Lindsay Vitale.

College Animation – Winter Vampire/Summer Humans by Nick Fulfaro.

Emerging Narrative – Winner: PeaPod Man by John Wrigley.

FILM CRAWL – FAN FAVORITE 2019 – The Death of Ink by Lanny Morgnanesi.

PHOTO CAP: Brad Sanders (left) awards best high school film to student Joseph Scelza.