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Berkeley Springs Film Festival Showcases Cinema

A canopy over the entrance to a movie theater.
The Star Theater in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia will be the home to the Berkeley Springs Film Festival.
Cecelia Mason/West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The Berkeley Springs Film Festival is showcasing both local projects and international movies in the Eastern Panhandle this weekend.

The festival will feature 28 films over three days, including narrative features, documentaries and foreign films that were submitted by independent filmmakers. Ten of the films being screened were made regionally.

Managing Director Brett Hammond says he and a friend started organizing the event after not being satisfied with other options.

“A lot of organizations, nonprofits, will run a film festival just as a fundraiser,” Hammond said. “They’re not really all that interested in helping the filmmakers. And so we wanted to do a festival by filmmakers, for filmmakers.”

This year’s festival also comes as the state’s film office tries to boost the film industry workforce. The state’s film tax credit went into effect in July, and the office is sponsoring a practical makeup workshop at the festival Saturday to help prepare for a boost in film productions. 

That seminar, scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday, is being hosted by John Caglione, Jr., who won an Academy Award for 1990’s Dick Tracy and is the personal makeup artist for Al Pacino.

An earlier seminar is scheduled at 8 a.m. for aspiring filmmakers to learn cinematography and how to get their films selected for other small festivals.

“We get a lot of entries where the filmmakers make the same mistakes over and over again, like poor audio,” Hammond said. “And there’s certain things that don’t take a whole lot more work, but dramatically increase your chances of being accepted to a film festival.”

The festival is scheduled for Friday through Sunday at the Berkeley Springs Star Theater. Day and weekend passes are available online