Traditionally, Hamilton New York International Film Festival has brought music producers from all over the world to spend a week in the city showing their films and sharing intimate secrets after their creation.
This year, however, the 12th annual event will only be held online, due to preliminary coronavirus measures.
The hosts of the festival Grant and Todd Slater of Slater Brothers Entertainment are former Hamiltonians who say they always hope to return to Central New York. They agreed that they had the pleasure of presenting their first hometown with a diverse and engaging group of films, who have always felt warmly welcomed by the people of Hamilton.
But when the coronavirus closed their seats in Hamilton and traveled internationally limited, the brothers had to make other plans for this summer.
“We decided very early on in the planning process that this year we will have to make some adjustments if we want to introduce the festival,” Grant Slater said. “We saw so many other organizers cancel their events and for a good cause. But we felt like going to a virtual festival this year was the right direction for us. It gives the artist a platform to showcase their work.” and that gives movie fans around the world a chance to experience independent filming. ”
Todd said when the pandemic began, they began communicating with their creators regularly to notify those Slater was receiving their suggestions from state and community leaders and health care officials. As the pandemic escalated and places like the Hamilton Movie Theater were forced to close, the organizers decided that the best and safest course of action was to build an online version of the festival.
“We still wanted to give all the extraordinary filmmakers we had chosen for this year’s festival a platform to present their amazing work and at the same time we wanted to make sure that all those people in the community – and elsewhere – who were excited to participate in this year’s festival lineup had a forum to see the content, ”Todd explained.
The Hamilton New York International Film Festival is available for viewing now by visiting hnyiff.com. As part of the virtual festival, the organizers have also produced a promotional video to show Hamilton and the area around the world.
In its 12 years, the event has grown from a small weekend festival, which featured regional filmmakers to a seven-day film event, attracting filmmakers and movie buffs from around the world. The festival is currently recognized as one of the Top 100 Most Reviewed Filmfreeway Festivals in the world, the largest film delivery platform in the world representing more than 9,000 festivals worldwide.
Last year, Hamilton Ben Coddington’s film “Eyes” was one of the highlights of the final day of the weekly showcase. Coddington said he enjoyed not only the opportunity to screen his film during the festival, but was also able to meet so many professional filmmakers during the event.
“It’s really interesting to be able to meet all these people,” he said. “I like to hear how they’re making a living in filmmaking because that’s what I want to do as well.”
Gazanfer Biricik came from his native Paris to show his films “Gab” in 2018 and “Heart of Fire” in 2019. On his first trip, Biricik admitted that he had taken quite a bit of the heartfelt reception he experienced while watching “Gab” sitting in the theater with new friends.
Biricik enjoyed the opportunity to share his film personally with the festival audience and said he likes to visit Hamilton.
“I really appreciate the chance to come here,” he said.
Todd promised that this year’s festival will include, as always, a truly diverse and international line. One summary will be “She’s in Portland,” a film that Todd said the Slater brothers are personally proud of because their company executed and produced and sold it. A complete list of all movies is available on their website.
“We continue to look for content that provokes thoughts from around the world,” he said. “We’ve spent a lot of time going through submissions and we’ve had a lot of internal discussions about what to show and why. We hope that people who sign up and participate in the virtual festival will be moved by some of the choices.”
Todd noted that over the years they have had many friends and Colgate’s friends ask to see the movies, saying they couldn’t travel back to the village for the festival because they were too far away or just had a busy summer schedule. Expecting a virtual festival this year will allow even more people to share the fun of the film, he explained.
“The only thing that has come out of this really difficult time is that we created a platform and an outlet to show these movies online to anyone in the world who wants to watch them,” he said. “Now people can really attend the festival from anywhere. There’s still something special about watching a movie on the big screen and talking to that filmmaker five meters away about what it was like to create his art or its but through technology, we can still offer a pretty delightful experience from a distance ”.
Slater agrees that they are certainly looking forward to returning to Hamilton next summer with all the live interactions they have enjoyed across the community for their first decade. The festival traditionally goes beyond just showing movies at Hamilton cinema. There are also workshops at the Colgate Library, social time at the Colgate Inn and Good Nature Farm Birraria and other beneficiaries across the area.
Slater Brothers recently completed three feature films which will be released in North America this fall. Their projects include “Odd Man Rush” starring Jack Mulhern, Trevor Gretzky and Dylan Playfair, set to go nationwide on September 1st; “She’s in Portland,” starring Minka Kelly from the TV series Friday Night Dights; and the long-awaited action movie, “The Last Three Days.”
As brothers from Hamilton who grew up in the countryside and spent a lot of time there over the years, Slater said they want to go back there and introduce the community to filmmakers and content creators from around the world. They have welcomed people into the village as close as Hamilton and as far as Russia, India and Sweden – and many countries in between – over the years to attend the festival.
“It’s great for people living in Central New York to have a chance to interact with these people, and we also want filmmakers to try everything we want for Hamilton and the greater Central New York area,” they acknowledged.
For the latest information on the Hamilton New York International Film Festival, visit HNYIFF.com.
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