Nonviolent film fest moving to Mystic

Nonviolent film fest moving to Mystic

By MICHAEL SOUZA for The Westerly Sun

Monday, July 15, 2013

MYSTIC — The Moondance International Film Festival, known for featuring artistic and socially aware movies, is moving from Boulder, Colo., to Mystic as of Sept. 26-29.

“This is the festival’s new home. We plan to stay in Mystic a long, long time,” Hans Hartman of Stonington, director of the festival, said in a telephone interview. “Mystic is such an arts-based community,” he said. “It also has a history with films such as ‘Mystic Pizza’ and ‘Hope Springs.’ The festival will add to that connection. We are very happy to be here.”

By moving the festival to the Northeast, Hartman said he hopes to draw interest from both the New York and Boston areas as well as from across the country and Europe. He estimates the event will bring about 50,000 enthusiasts its first year. It has been held in Boulder since it began in 2000.

Although many details are still in the planning stage, one possible venue could be the Olde Mistick Village Art Cinemas. “They have been very open to the idea and could be a major partner,” Hartman said. Other potential venues or participants include Mystic Seaport, Mystic Aquarium, The Inn at Mystic and Flood Tide Restaurant, but no plans are final.

Hartman said the weekend would also include panel discussions, seminars and workshops, as well as a variety of receptions, parties and opening and closing night galas. It is expected to feature more than 100 films.

Moondance is an independent international festival. “We present great quality films that have nonviolent conflict resolution,” Hartman said. “We are coming from a higher place and we want to make a difference. We’ve taken the lowest common denominator out of the picture.”

All attendees will be encouraged to attend screenings of as many films as they are able to see and ticket prices will be below the normal prices of first-run films.

One new feature will be a “film market,” where filmmakers will have an opportunity to sell their film. “We want people to experience everything and to be a part of filmmaking,” Hartman said.  By having an open forum market, the festival can provide maximum connections for all attendees.

One definite award presenter will be Linda Vilhjalmsdottir, line producer at Sagafilm and Pegasus Pictures, Iceland, for HBO’s “Game of Thrones.” She is also the production coordinator for “Game of Thrones III,” “Thor: The Dark World,” which will be released on Nov. 8, and Ridley Scott’s “Prometheus.”

Hartman started as a child actor in 1968 and has worked in almost every stage of film production over the years. He was appointed as a member of the advisory board of the Connecticut Office of Culture and Tourism in 2011.

The Moondance festival was founded by film technician Elizabeth English, who currently also serves as its executive and artistic director.


NOTE: The paper has printed a correction, at my request: Elizabeth English is the founder, executive director, artistic director, and co-producer of the annual Moondance International Film Festival, which is moving from Boulder, Colo., to Mystic in September. The festival promotes nonviolent conflict resolution and encourages alternatives to violence through many of the films that are screened. In addition to her festival work, English is an award-winning filmmaker, producer, director, screenwriter and playwright, an acting and voice coach, and a professional consultant on screenplays, films and music for film. Her background was incorrectly described in the Monday edition of The Sun.

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