Havana Restaurant on Main Street in New Hope was packed on Sunday evening, July 17th, for the Second Annual New Hope Film Festival (NHFF) Awards Ceremony. A total of 89 films from 21 different countries were shown to the public from Friday, July 8th through the afternoon of the 17th at the New Hope Arts Center and the Stephen J. Buck Auditorium at New Hope-Solebury High School.
Many of the filmmakers attended the screenings and were available for question and answer sessions afterwards. They came from all across the United States, as well as Singapore, Brazil, and the United Kingdom.
The NHFF showcases independent films, promoting those that may have been overlooked by the big-name studios. In a press release provided by the event organizers, New Hope's D. F. Whipple, founder and chairman, stated that, "Every film submitted is watched with a keen perspective on quality and artistic expression." He continued, "Our artistic standards are extremely high and neither budget nor name recognition will be a determining factor – the art must shine through."
Marianne Speiser, executive director of communications, added that, "The four directors of the New Hope Film Festival, along with volunteers with backgrounds in the arts, screened the films."
Simply to have had a film chosen for the festival was an accomplishment in itself; the selection represented the cream of the crop. Many of the movies that were screened at the NHFF this year had previously won awards at prestigious festivals elsewhere in the U.S. as well as abroad. Larry Keller, the mayor of New Hope and President of New Hope Arts, opened the ceremony by thanking everyone for being there.
"We're just thrilled. We welcome you with open arms," he said. Larry also stated that this year's film festival was very well-attended and would be an even bigger event going forward. The evening's master of ceremonies and executive director of submissions, Thom Michael Mulligan, then took the stage and congratulated all of the festival participants as well.