The 2014 New Hope Film Festival

The New Hope Film Festival is experiencing another surge in submissions growth as it heads into its fifth year, yet despite this growth, rising costs and a stock market at all-time highs, this independent, grassroots Festival is holding the line on prices for 2014. And the Festival will continue to premiere prestigious U.S. and international artistic productions and amaze audiences. July 25th through August 3rd are the official running dates.

Last year, the organization screened 108 official selections from 17 countries and Antarctica. For 2014 the Festival has added a Teleplay category as part of an all-new New Hope Film Festival Script Competition.

Residents of Bucks County and the surrounding area may not be aware of the Festival’s national and international acclaim. For example, in 2012 Laurie Nadel of The Huffington Post declared, “this emerging ‘Sundance East’ festival has made an impressive start.”

Similar accolades are given to Festival organizers as a rising number of industry heavyweights come to New Hope for the event. The Festival has received films from every continent, and word has spread to some of the most remote areas of the world. New Hope is making it possible for multitudes of emerging international artists to gain deserving recognition for their art, even when they have been overlooked elsewhere.

Advance tickets will be available through Brown Paper Tickets for the third year running. More information, including the Festival’s 2014 collection of world-class films, will be available in the Official Program Guide at www.newhopefilmfestival.com in June 2014.

New Hope Film Festival was founded by D. F. Whipple, an author, screenwriter, and long-time resident of the New Hope area. Whipple formed the New Hope Film Festival with a group of artists who shared his passion for discovering and nurturing independent filmmakers, especially those who’ve been overlooked by established festivals. This includes international films, which the Festival is eager to attract. Every film submitted is watched with a keen eye for quality and artistic expression.

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The 2014 New Hope Film Festival

The New Hope Film Festival is experiencing another surge in submissions growth as it heads into its fifth year, yet despite this growth, rising costs and a stock market at all-time highs, this independent, grassroots Festival is holding the line on prices for 2014. And the Festival will continue to premiere prestigious U.S. and international artistic productions and amaze audiences. July 25th through August 3rd are the official running dates.

Last year, the organization screened 108 official selections from 17 countries and Antarctica. For 2014 the Festival has added a Teleplay category as part of an all-new New Hope Film Festival Script Competition.

Residents of Bucks County and the surrounding area may not be aware of the Festival’s national and international acclaim. For example, in 2012 Laurie Nadel of The Huffington Post declared, “this emerging ‘Sundance East’ festival has made an impressive start.”

Similar accolades are given to Festival organizers as a rising number of industry heavyweights come to New Hope for the event. The Festival has received films from every continent, and word has spread to some of the most remote areas of the world. New Hope is making it possible for multitudes of emerging international artists to gain deserving recognition for their art, even when they have been overlooked elsewhere.

Advance tickets will be available through Brown Paper Tickets for the third year running. More information, including the Festival’s 2014 collection of world-class films, will be available in the Official Program Guide at www.newhopefilmfestival.com in June 2014.

New Hope Film Festival was founded by D. F. Whipple, an author, screenwriter, and long-time resident of the New Hope area. Whipple formed the New Hope Film Festival with a group of artists who shared his passion for discovering and nurturing independent filmmakers, especially those who’ve been overlooked by established festivals. This includes international films, which the Festival is eager to attract. Every film submitted is watched with a keen eye for quality and artistic expression.

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Doylestown native wins prestigious film festival award

 

by June Portnoy

Karl Stieg, director of “Geil of Doylestown, Forgotten Explorer,” won this year’s New Hope Film Festival’s Jury Award for Best Biography. Karl, a graduate of Central Bucks High School South who was born and raised in Doylestown, directed this documentary about William Edgar Geil.

“A century ago, Geil was the first person to travel the length of the Great Wall of China, an 82-day, history-making event,” says Karl, who recently received his bachelor’s degree in Cinematic Arts from the University of Southern California (USC). “Geil was also one of the most celebrated travelers and speakers of his time. He is well-known in China, and yet, most people in this country, as well as his own hometown of Doylestown don’t know anything about him.”

Karl strove to revive Geil’s extraordinary legacy in his 43-minute documentary about his life. Karl and his friend, Andrew Stowe, also a USC graduate, spent 20 days filming the documentary; 10 days in Doylestown and 10 in Beijing.

“I lived in China for four years during my early childhood, so shooting there made this experience more personal for me,” says Karl.

The film includes stunning footage of the Great Wall of China; commentary by Professor Robert LaFleur, the country’s leading expert on Geil; and narration by Hollywood actor, Alexis Denisof.

Karl first heard about Geil in 2009 when his mother, a writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer, wrote an article about the Doylestown Historical Society’s new exhibit about him. In 2012, Karl learned that the Historical Society was looking for someone to create a film about Geil.

“Andrew and I submitted a proposal including my vision for the documentary, our budget and a preliminary schedule,” says Karl. “I was thrilled when we were selected to shoot this film.”

Karl, who has always been interested in history, found Geil’s story intriguing. “Today, it’s no longer feasible to explore new locations, since every area has already been discovered and travelled.

“However, there is still an infinite amount of information to explore and learn, and Geil is a prime example of that. This documentary illustrates that there are still mysteries out there that people can discover.”

Karl has been interested in making documentaries since he was young. He filmed his first documentary about his family for his grandparent’s 50th anniversary.

When he was just 14, he submitted a documentary to his first film festival. This was a documentary about the Budzynski Studios in New Hope where his sister danced. He filmed the production of their world premier of the Midsummer Night’s Dream ballet.

Karl won the Bucks Fever Film Festival for best high school documentary, a real accomplishment considering he had not even begun in high school yet.

Even during high school when Karl focused most of his attention on the marching band and jazz band, he still brought his camera with him. Every year he created a documentary of the marching band, in which he conducted interviews with its members. 

“The band teacher used these documentaries as a promotional tool to motivate incoming students to join the marching band,” said Karl.

It wasn’t until college that Karl received his first formal training of the world of film. “All the courses I took at USC were invaluable to me as a filmmaker,” says Karl.

The “Geil of Doylestown, Forgotten Explorer” was the first documentary that Karl directed after college, and he was overjoyed that it premiered in his hometown at the County Theater in Doylestown. He was even more excited for his film to receive the Best Biography award during the New Hope Film Festival’s award ceremony held July 21st.

It was the “Geil of Doylestown: Forgotten Explorer’s” first film festival award; a meaningful award considering this year’s festival presented 108 official selections from 17 countries and Antarctica.

Karl now lives in Los Angeles, where he and Andrew are preparing to work on their next documentary together. Meanwhile, the Doylestown Historical Society is currently promoting the “Geil of Doylestown, Forgotten Explorer” to schools. 

“One of the Historical Society’s goals is to send this film to local schools when teaching students about China or the timeframe when Geil lived,” explains Karl.

In addition, Karl’s documentary is now on sale at the Doylestown Historical Association.

You can also see a trailer of this film at http://www.vimeo.com/karlstieg/forgottenexplorertrailer. In addition, visit the “Geil” Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ForgottenExplorer.

PHOTO CAP: Karl Stieg (right) with Doug Whipple, founder of the New Hope Film Festival, at the awards ceremony in July.

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NHFF bestows Lifetime Achievement Award to Christina Crawford

 

by June Portnoy

This year’s 2013 Fourth Annual New Hope Film Festival honored Christina Crawford with a Lifetime Achievement Award during the Awards Ceremony held Sunday, July 21st at the New Hope Arts Center. The evening prior to the Awards Ceremony, Christina Crawford, the best-selling author of “Mommie Dearest,” exhibited her new documentary, “Surviving Mommie Dearest.”

Directed by Christina, this documentary is based on a one-woman multimedia play written by and starring Christina herself. It covers 100 years of entertainment and show business history, as well as issues of social justice. The film is based on “Mommie Dearest,” in addition to her other books, “Survivor,” and “No Safe Place.”

During the Film Festival’s awards ceremony, Thom Michael Mulligan, Executive Director of Submissions, introduced Miss Crawford, announcing that this Lifetime Achievement Award was “well deserved for Christina’s work for fighting child abuse and domestic violence.  She’s worked tirelessly and with such determination to change the whole world, while also being a writer, author, director, actress and talk show hostess.”      

New Hope Mayor Larry D. Keller and Borough Councilwoman Geri Delevich presented Christina with the award.

Said Geri, “I’d like to congratulate Christina for her courage in telling a story about her abusive childhood by her mother who was a legendary Hollywood stellar, so certainly that would make a difficult story to tell. This award is very appropriate coming from New Hope because this has always been a community that has been a champion of equal rights, so it is an honor for New Hope to present you with this Lifetime Achievement Award.”

Christina thanked producer Jerry Rosenberg for his “unflinching desire to have this film be the best project it could possibly be.”

Regarding her humanitarian work, Christina said, “We have to continue the human rights conversation. Every generation is going to have the responsibility of picking up the conversation and running with it in their own generation, in their own time, in their own way, because otherwise the work that all of us did before is going to disappear.

“Human rights, civil rights and social justice is a living, breathing experience, and it is a social experience, and a people experience, and it is so important that we all step up to the plate in whatever way we can to continue that conversation for ourselves, for the future, and for all of the people that we share humanity with.”

Christina also received the Artistic Spirit Award for her film, “Surviving Mommie Dearest.”

In addition to the many international, national and local films that won awards, two films shot right in Bucks County received awards as well.

“Autumn,” directed by Susan Barry won the Audience Choice Award for Best Short Film. The film is about Autumn, a 10-year-old girl who loses her father, yet finds a creative mentor and safe place in which to mature in her artistry.

“Autumn” was shot in Bucks County locations, including New Hope, Lambertville, Carversville, Solebury and Peddler’s Village. A key location of the film was a tree house located near Phillips’ Mill.

Susan and her husband, Ethan Cadoff, co-producer of  “Autumn,” with Susan, previously lived in New Hope and selected this area to shoot their film because they thought its landscaping would be ideal for their film. In addition, Reagan Frankhouser, the lead actress who plays Autumn, lives in New Hope.

“It was so exciting to shoot our film here and then have it screened here,” said Susan, “but the real culmination was having the people in this community vote for it to receive this award.”

Another award-winning film at this year’s Film Festival was “Geil of Doylestown,” directed by Kiel Stieg, which won the Jury Award for Best Biography. The film explores the story of William Edgar Giel, one of the world’s most celebrated travelers and speakers, who had remained unknown to most audiences, even in his Doylestown hometown. This documentary restores his extraordinary legacy.

Kiel, a Doylestown resident, shot half of this film in Doylestown and half of in Beijing. 

Said Kiel, “I love explorers and history, and Geil’s story was lost history. I wanted to tell his story because I thought it was an important one to tell.”

This year’s Film Festival presented 108 official selections from 17 countries and Antarctica. 

To find out what other independent films, screenplays, music videos and webisodes won awards this year, visit http://newhopefilmfest.blogspot.com.

PHOTO CAP: Susan Berry (left), is the co-producer, screenwriter, director and editor of the short film, “Autumn,” co-produced by her husband, Ethan Cadoff (right), and starring 11-year-old Reagan Frankhouser (center) of New Hope. “Autumn” won Audience Choice Award of Best Short Film.

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NHFF to present Lifetime Achievement Award to Christina Crawford

New Hope Film Festival (NHFF) will present a Lifetime Achievement Award to Christina Crawford on July 21st at the invitation only 2013 Awards Ceremony event. The Festival is honoring Ms. Crawford with this prestigious award in recognition of her work to combat child abuse and promote human rights. Mayor Laurence D. Keller and Councilwoman Geraldine Delevich will present Ms. Crawford this award.

Ms. Crawford, renowned author of the groundbreaking book, “Mommie Dearest,” is also an actress and filmmaker. She gained competitive entry to NHFF with her new documentary, “Surviving Mommie Dearest: From Tears to Triumph,” which focuses on her life, her adoptive mother the late Joan Crawford, and the work she has done raising funds for children’s violence.

The film will be screened on July 20th at New Hope’s Stephen J. Buck Memorial Theater. After the presentation of her film, Christina will be available for a question and answer session and book signing. A portion of the proceeds of the event will be donated to FACT (Fighting AIDS Continuously Together).

For those interested in attending NHFF, information about this year’s events is available in the 2013 Program Guide, which is free online and available at newhopefilmfestival.com. A printed copy is also available at The Free Library of New Hope, and copies will be available for purchase at New Hope Photo.

Additionally, copies will be available for purchase at New Hope Arts Center while the festival is running.

New Hope Film Festival will run July 12th–21st. Films will be screened in three venues: New Hope Arts Center, Stephen J. Buck Memorial Theater and The County Theater.

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Fourth Annual New Hope Film Festival announces official selections

New Hope Film Festival has announced their official selections for the 2013 Fourth Annual Festival that will be held July 12th– 21st in New Hope and Doylestown.

The judges selected 111 films from 17 countries and Antarctica, and many are world and U.S. premieres.

Countries represented include USA, Canada, Turkey, Chile, Russian Federation, Jordon, India, Germany, Poland, France, People’s Republic of China, Mexico, Peru, Singapore, Australia, Czech Republic, and Belgium.

NHFF will present this world class lineup of independent films: nine full-length feature films including two student features, 14 documentaries, four Mid-Atlantic Category films, 12 music videos, 12 screenplays, 24 short films, 36 student shorts, and the festival’s first webisode.

Filmmakers will be traveling from around the country and abroad to attend screenings and will participate in question and answer sessions following the films.

Films will be screened in three venues: New Hope Arts Center, Stephen J. Buck Memorial Theater and The County Theater. 

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