The final frames have flickered through the projector, bringing the 14th season of the Williamstown Film Festival to a close.
And the change to one jam-packed weekend of films at The Clark, Images Cinema and Mass MoCA, was a hit with the audience and board.
"Initially, we had questions about going from two to one weekend," WFF Executive Director Steve Lawson said. "What won us over was the higher energy, and the event became a ‘hotter ticket.’ Both the board and audience thought it was a good idea."
Film lovers were off to the circus, leaned about the knuckleball, explored the world of local artist Stephen Hannock and visualized the works of two writers in a unique way.
"We had two films based on poems this year," Lawson said.
"The Man at the Counter," about a boy, an old man an sugar was directed by Brian McAllister, and "Pearl," based on a poem by Ted Kooser, and directed by Dan Butler.
Butler, who many will remember as "Bulldog" from "Frasier," stars as Ted, making his way through Iowa following the death of his mother. Along the way he stops to visit "Pearl," portrayed by veteran of the screen, Frances Sternhagen, an old friend of the family. A ghostly twist at the end, leaves you with an interesting question to ponder. Were the ghosts real?
"Let’s keep them wanting more," Lawson said. "Not many films make you want more, but we feel we are doing
Winner of this year’s Christopher and Dana Reeve Audience Award was "Curfew," a dark tale about down on his luck Richie. Played by director Shawn Christiansen, Richie receives a call to babysit his niece at an inopportune moment.
"I am very honored to receive the Christopher and Dana Reeve Audience Award," Christiansen said. "It’s always encouraging when anyone responds to your work, and I am very humbled by this Audience Award."
And he is currently expanding on his award-winning concept.
"I am taking forever to write a feature length screenplay of ‘Curfew,’ and would love to show it on the big screen in Williamstown," he added, "sometime in the near future. And by ‘near future,’ I mean before 2040."
Lawson credits this year’s success to outreach and quality of product.
"We do have alumni coming back," he said. "And it’s gratifying when they want to come back - some artists have been here two, three and four times.
"And the quality level has gone up in 14 years."
He credits the outreach’s success to, "The fact that the artist is there. Every feature we have someone there," including on Skype, if need be.
At the opening night reception, hosted by Mezze Bistro, chef Tom Colicchio was on hand to celebrate Hannock, and his part in Wolfram Hissen’s "Dreamscapes." Aside from talking about his relationship to Hannock and the movie, Colicchio talked about reviews and the future of restaurants.
"If you get a great review in the New York Times, clearly you get a lot of business. If you get a bad review, it’s not so good," Colicchio said. "It used to be the New York Times and New York magazine, those were the two big ones. Then guides started to come out like Zagat and now, god-forbid, Yelp!"
Colicchio said if you have a problem at the restaurant to let them know, at the restaurant.
"If you have a problem with the food or the service, don’t go home and go on Yelp," he said. "We can fix the problem when you are in the restaurant, but not when you’re at home."
Next up for Lawson, "I’ll be headed to Sundance," and going through the submissions for next year, "Next year is the 15th anniversary."
Until then, the balcony is closed.