BEST OF THE FEST – THE VERMONT TOUR

The Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival (MNFF) successfully rolled out its first Vermont statewide tour of the 2017 Best of the Fest award winners in early February. By offering its engaging films across a wide swath of Vermont, MNFF reached new audiences around its home state. We thank our wonderful filmmakers, our excellent participating venues and our outstanding media sponsors for supporting the Tour. In particular, we tip our cap to the Vermont International Film Festival for co-producing our heavily attended Burlington stop. In case you missed the Tour, below are thumbnail descriptions of our touring films, a listing of the venues where they appeared and each film’s trailer. We look forward to next year’s edition of the Vermont Tour!

Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story

Alexandra Dean’s brilliant documentary film tells the story of the celebrated Hollywood star, Hedy Lamarr, who secretly devised groundbreaking technologies during WWII that contributed to the later development of cell phones, Bluetooth and WIFI. “Bombshell” won the Audience Award – Best Feature at MNFF3 and was also the recipient of MNFF’s inaugural Clio Visualizing History Prize for the Advancement of Women in Film.

The Peacemaker

In James Demo’s piercing examination of international mediator Padraig O’Malley, we meet a man of distinction who resolves thorny and complicated geopolitical conflicts but struggles mightily to cultivate his own sense of peace and well-being. “The Peacemaker” won Best Documentary Feature at MNFF3.

An Autobiography

Mari Mantela’s warm and sharply observed Finnish comedy lovingly portrays a take-charge woman on the brink of retirement, who knows a lot about the inner workings of cars but very little about herself.

TOUR SCHEDULE

The Best of the Fest Vermont Tour played a diverse array of venues around the state.

Thursday, February 1

Next Stage Arts
Putney, Vermont

7:00 pm

An Autobiography

Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story

Casella Theater @ Castleton University
Castleton, Vermont

7:00 pm

An Autobiography

Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story

Friday, February 2

Vergennes Opera House
Vergennes, Vermont

7:00 pm

An Autobiography

Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story

Main Street Landing Performing Arts Center
Burlington, Vermont

5:00 pm

Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story

6:30 pm

Attendees Reception

7:30 pm

The Peacemaker

Produced in partnership with the Vermont International Film Festival, one of Vermont’s leading cultural organizations and the state’s pioneering festival, now in its 33rd year. As part of this new alliance, MNFF will offer a preview of VTIFF’s upcoming festival program at the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival in late August. Sponsored by Shelburne Vineyard and WhistlePig Whiskey.

Saturday, February 3

Catamount Arts
St. Johnsbury, Vermont

5:00 pm

The Peacemaker

7:30 pm

Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story

Saturday, February 10

Highland Center for the Arts
Greensboro, Vermont

7:00 pm

An Autobiography

Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story

ON TOUR!

THE BEST OF THE 2017 MIDDLEBURY NEW FILMMAKERS FESTIVAL
Lloyd Komesar, Producer  – Jay Craven, Artistic Director

Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story

Documentary  |  Directed by Alexandra Dean  |  90 minutes  |  USA

Audience Award – Best Feature

Clio Visualizing History Prize for the Advancement of Women in Film

What do the most ravishingly beautiful actress of the 1930s and 40s and the brainy inventor of frequency hopping technology that led to cell phone and bluetooth technology have in common? They are both Hedy Lamarr, the glamorous Hollywood star who was widely heralded as “the most beautiful woman in the world” — and was the inspiration for Snow White and Cat Woman.  But Lamarr also had a secret identity—as a technological trailblazer who perfected a radio system to prevent the Nazis from jamming American  torpedoes during WWII.

This riveting film weaves interviews and clips with never-before-heard audio tapes of Hedy speaking on the record about her incredible life.  We get an up-close look at her beginnings as an Austrian Jewish emigre whose scandalous nude scene in the 1933 film, Ecstasy, caused such an enormous international uproar that even the Pope was moved to denounce it. After capturing Lamarr’s glittering Hollywood life and her ground-breaking but completely uncredited inventions, director Dean follows the actress/inventor’s retreat, during her later years, when she became a recluse, impoverished and almost forgotten.

BOMBSHELL: THE HEDY LAMARR STORY brings to light the story of an extraordinary, unusual and accomplished woman, spurned as too beautiful to be smart, but still a role model to this day.

“Very enjoyable—one of the best movies of 2017.  Ms. Dean relates Lamarr’s ventures, those onscreen and off, with savvy and narrative snap, fluidly marshaling a mix of original interviews and archival material that includes film clips, home movies and other footage.”

— Manohla Dargis, New York Times

“Yet what what makes “Bombshell” intriguing is not just Lamarr’s gift for invention, it’s also what a fiery individualist she was, someone who had no regrets about her eventful life (“You learn from everything”), not even its racy, tabloid elements.”

— Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

The Peacemaker

Documentary  |  Directed by James Demo  |  90 Minutes  |  USA

Best Feature Documentary

THE PEACEMAKER follows international mediator Padraig O’Malley, who works tirelessly to make peace for others but struggles to find it for himself. The film takes us from Padraig’s isolated life in Cambridge, Massachusetts to some of the most dangerous crisis zones on Earth – from Northern Ireland and Kosovo to Nigeria and Iraq over five years – as he works a peacemaking model based on his own recovery from alcohol addiction.  We meet Padraig in the third act of his life, in a race against time to find some kind of salvation for both the world and himself.

“A deeply moving portrait of its truly admirable, complex subject.”

Hollywood Reporter

An Autobiography

Narrative  |  Directed by Mari Mantela  |  36 minutes  |  Finland

Audience Award – Best Short

Anja is a woman who knows everything about cars but nothing of herself. . . AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY is a quiet comedy with a warm heart that beats for every character in the story. The audience never sees the outside world because the parking garage where Anja works is both her concrete milieu and a reflection of her internal world. It is only in the end, as Anja makes a journey to the top floor of the car company, that she understands there is light and life and hope at the end of the tunnel that leads outside from the dimly lit garage.

THANK YOU.

MNFF thanks its participating Vermont Tour media partners, VPR and Vermont PBS, for their substantial support.

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