On Seacoast

NH Film Festival a movie-lovers dream weekend

October 11. 2017 1:04PM
"The Reagan Show" features archival footage representing the performer-turned-president's role of a lifetime. Teasing apart the spectacle at the heart of finger-on-the-button global diplomacy, the film follows Ronald Reagan's rivalry with charismatic Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, and how he used his public relations chops to overcome Soviet mistrust, the objections of a skeptical White House press corps and the looming threat of WWIII. 

PORTSMOUTH — The New Hampshire Film Festival, which drew about 10,000 people last year, will feature more than 100 films for its 17th annual celebration today through Sunday.

Among the most notable of feature and short-length films and documentaries included in this year’s festival is “The Florida Project,” directed by Sean Baker; “Lucky,” directed by John Carroll Lynch; “Majorie Prime,” directed by Michael Almereyda; “The Reagan Show,” directed by Pacho Velez and Sierra Pettengill, and “The Square,” directed by Ruben Ostlund.

Film screenings and a host of related events, from parties to lectures and panels, will take place at several locations around Portsmouth, drawing scores of filmmakers and celebrities and move fans to the Port City. Sites will include The Music Hall, 28 Chestnut St.; The Music Hall Loft, 131 Congress St.; 3S Artspace, 319 Vaughan St.; and the Moffatt Ladd House, 154 Market St.

“‘The Florida Project’ is especially exciting,” said Chuck McMahon, public relations coordinator for the New Hampshire Film Festival. “Not only is it being talked about as one of the best films of the year, but it has already received rave reviews at Cannes and the Toronto Film Festival. The film will be screening at the same time at the London Film Festival.”

The film is set over the course of a summer in the shadows of Disney World, as 6-year-old Moonee courts mischief and adventure with her ragtag playmates and bonds with her rebellious but caring mother.

“We’re also excited about ‘The Reagan Show,’” McMahon said of the documentary that follows performer-turned-President Ronald Reagan’s rivalry with charismatic Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. “We think our audience will really like it, and we will have the director here as well.”

“In terms of NH films, we’re excited to have “404 Not Found,” “Woodshock” and “Maineland,” all of which are great New Hampshire films,” he said.

Thursday’s bill from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. will be geared toward films that have Granite State connections. The NHPTV NH Night Awards presents awards including New Hampshire Film of the year, at a 9:45 p.m. ceremony at The Music Hall, 28 Chestnut St.

The venue also will host the red carpet gala and opening ceremonies of the weekend’s festivities at 6:30 p.m. Friday.

The annual comedy panel is at 9 p.m. Saturday at 3S Artspace, 319 Vaughan St., with Tom Bergeron, Rae Dawn Chong, Cole Escola, Peter MacKenzie, Josh Meyers and John Viener.

Another highlight will be a sneak peek of celebrity guest Tom Bergeron’s television pilot, “The Messenger,” at 3:40 p.m. Friday at 3 S ArtSpace, 319 Vaughan St. Bergeron, who got his start in the entertainment business working for WHEB radio in Portsmouth in the early 1980s and went on to hosting stints on “Dancing with the Stars” and “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” will join director Ben Shelton for a discussion and sneak peek of the new the show, which also stars Jean Smart and RJ Walker. The project is described as a nuanced dark comedy/drama about the messenger of death, in the tone of a classic episode of “The Twilight Zone.”

Closing ceremonies and awards will be at 6 p.m. Sunday at the Music Hall.

For show times, visit www.nhfilmfestival.com.

Julia Ann Weekes/ NH Weekend Editor

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