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Vermont International Film Festival Premiering at the Haskell Opera House

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--September 27, 2012.

A historic event will premiere September 28-30 at the Haskell Opera House, Derby Line, Vermont/Stanstead, Quebec. Not only will the international venue host the preview of the Vermont International Film Festival, but the weekend long event marks the first time in 108 years that movies will take to the historic stage as “performer”.

Over the years, the Haskell Opera House has been struggling to stay viable in today’s challenging economy. Lynn Leimer, the Haskell Opera House Theatre Manager, has been working to keep the energy flowing, but it remains a challenge. The Haskell Opera House, unique in its geographic location on the border of Canada and the United States, is not a producing facility. That means that all performances are presented by individuals and groups renting the space only. Some years are better than others with performers “knocking on the door”, so it took some creativity to initiate something different.

The something different was MOVIES. Grant writing ensued, monies for a technical upgrade became available from Plum Creek, and the spark of an idea now had legs. But what movies would be the question. Leimer remembered reading about Derby Line’s own, Tim Kavanagh (WCAX film critic and now host to 92.9 radio) appearing in a movie, Tin Can, that won at the Vermont International Film Festival last year, and decided to contact him. He in turn gave Leimer the connection to Orly Yadin, Executive Director of the VTIFF and history was in the making.

Yadin was thrilled with the proposition of having the International Festival at the International Venue. After a visit and a collaborative meeting the idea with legs was off and running. Yadin contacted the Canadian Consulate General in Boston to participate and Leimer contacted underwriting partners. The result was fortuitous. The Canadian Consulate is hosting a VIP Reception September 28 (by invitation only) at 6 p.m. on September 28 to celebrate the 200 years of friendship between the two countries followed by the first of the weekend’s exciting quintet of winning films.

September 28, 7 pm Sense of Humor
A winning comedy about two stand-up comedians taken hostage by a grouchy yokel (multiple Genie and Jutra award nominee Michel Cote). French with English subtitles.

September 29, 2 pm Cafe Flore
“The film is generous to all its besotted creatures, and to the audience as well. Viewers who fall in love with Café de Flore will find that it loves them back”. Mary Corliss, Time Magazine
French with English subtitles.

September 29, 7:30 pm In Another Country
Set in a seaside town, the film consists of three parts that tell the story of three different women, all named Anne and all played by French actress Isabelle Huppert French with English subtitles.

September 30, 2 pm In Organic We Trust
An eye-opening food documentary that follows Director/Producer Kip Pastor on a personal journey to answer commonly asked questions about organic food: What exactly is organic? Is it really better, or just a marketing scam? The film digs deep with farmers, organic certifiers, scientists, and organic critics to explore the content beneath the label and the truth behind the marketing. It takes a balanced approach to clear up misconceptions about organic food while highlighting practical solutions that are transforming the way we grow and eat.

September 30, 7:30 pm Addicted to Fame
The hilarious, outrageous, and ultimately tragic true story of one filmmaker’s journey from obscurity to moral blindness in the seductive glare of the media spotlight. Director David Giancola wanted to break out by making a “Movie that mocked B-Movies”. He thought he could manipulate the media by casting Anna Nicole Smith In the end the media manipulated him instead as his star and one of his producers died in a media feeding frenzy. The film bombed but the story was the most reported event of 2007 – behind only coverage of the Iraq war. The truth is always stranger and more unbelievable than fiction.

A highlight of the weekend of films will be a Q&A directly following Addicted to Fame with the Director, David Giancola and producer John James. Many of the folks will remember John James as the heart throb in the legendary television show, Dynasty.

The Festival is underwritten by Derby Lion’s Club, North Country Hospital, Newport Furniture Parts, Community National Bank, Pierre Reid-Quebec Nationale Assembly, QNEK Productions, Haskell Free Library & Opera House, Consulate General of Canada – Boston, and Birchwood B&B.

Prices are $10 per film Adults, $8 per film Seniors 65+, $5 per film Students and college students with ID. Passes are available: $35 pass for all five films and $25 pass for three films. Group rates are also available upon request.

Five films from around the world that have been awarded the prestigious VTIFF 2012 honor will kick off the 2012 Film Festival slated for October 19-28 in Burlington, VT. Catch a sneak peak at this three day celebration and introduction of film to the Haskell. Come make history at the historical Haskell Opera House.