WILLIAMSTOWN - Fresh Fest, a food and farm-themed film festival, will be held Saturday and Sunday at Images Cinema.
Images Managing Director Janet Curran said the film festival simultaneously highlights local food producers in Northern Berkshire and educates attendees about issues surrounding food.
"This is such a rich area for farming and food producers," she said. "We're so lucky to be in an area where there are so many. It makes the town a special place."
Brent Wasser, manager of the Sustainable Food and Agriculture Program at Williams College, said in choosing the films to be shown, he and Curran wanted to stress local food systems help strengthen and build communities.
"Our region should in someway be able to provide for itself," Wasser said. "This is becoming increasingly important, especially when we consider the cost of production that we rely on." Curran said through conversations with visitors, she's seen many people who are interested in the local and sustainable food movement.
"Food is a very personal thing," she explained. "Our bodies are essentially made up of what we eat. Why wouldn't we want to know the people who grew our food?"
Fresh Fest will feature four films that will appeal to a wide audience, Curran said, each one featuring a guest speaker in attendance.
The first film in the series is "Growing Hope Against Hunger," a one-hour documentary released by PBS, which will be screened Saturday at 10:30 a.m. The film features characters from Sesame Street teaching children and families about the issues of hunger and food security.
Williamstown resident Ali Benjamin, who served as the researcher, casting director and story consultant for part of the film, will be present as the guest speaker.
At 1 p.m. on Saturday, "Edible City" will be shown. The documentary, directed by Andrew Hasse, depicts people working to create environmentally sound and economically stable local food systems in their community. Curran said during the showing, soup from Wild Oats will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Brian and Alicia Gibbons of Berkshire Organics, a market and delivery service for local food, will be present at the film's showing to discuss the organization's work, Wasser said. " Because 'Edible City' focuses on ways a community can be built and strengthened on local food systems, we thought this would be a really interesting way to parallel the message with what's happening in our area," he explained.
Curran said the festival's showing of "More Than Honey" marks the East Coast premiere of the documentary. Directed by Swiss director Markus Imhoof, the film profiles people around the world who work with honeybees.
Tony Pisano and Alethea Morrison, members of the Northern Berkshire Beekeepers Association, will hold a local honey tasting at the film's showing.
"A Home Movie," a documentary by local filmmaker Bette Craig, will be shown on Sunday at 4 p.m. Craig frames Williamstown's farm history through the eyes of the Rhodes family of South Williamstown. Much of the family still lives on what had been a 300-acre dairy farm. Craig interviewed many family members to create the documentary.
Wasser said Craig will be present at the showing, and possibly members of the Rhodes family as well.
"They will be able to answer questions, and hopefully give even more insight to the rich agricultural history of South Williamstown," he added.
Cricket Creek Farm of Williamstown will donate cheese for the showing of "A Home Movie," Curran said.
Books from Storey Publishing which reflect themes in the films will be sold at the festival, Wasser said.
Fresh Fest is sponsored by The Sustainable Food and Agriculture Program at Williams College, Storey Publishing and the Center for Environmental Studies at Williams College.
The essentials ...
What: Fresh Fest, a food and farm film festival
Where: Images Cinema, 50 Spring St., Williamstown
When: Saturday, March 9, films at 10:30 a.m.,1 p.m.(with soup) and 4 p.m. (with honey tasting), and
Sunday, March 10, film at 4 p.m. with reception to follow
More information: www.imagescinema.org