Some of the world’s top filmmakers flock to the area each year for the Annual West Chester International Short Film Festival. This three-day event has screened 55 to 75 short films since 2004, attracting movie buffs throughout the Brandywine.
“It’s an opportunity for the people of West Chester to see this great art form of film,” says film liaison Kevin Fitzpatrick. “What we are looking to do is provide an outlet for good short films to be seen in the Brandywine Valley in Chester County.”
The festival occupies an entire weekend, during which film lovers watch multiple short films ranging from animation to drama to experimental genres, all screened in different venues throughout West Chester. Each film is up to a half-hour long.
Eventually, the festival hopes to have its screenings in a new performing arts center in the Borough of West Chester. It is not only an exciting opportunity for attendants to enjoy the artwork of independent filmmakers, but also for filmmakers themselves. It gives them a platform to show what they have to offer for the medium. Throughout the years, the festival has exhibited the work of up-and-coming directors as well as those who are established in television and film.
“This year, we have a film submitted by Skeet Ulrich, who is a television actor, director and producer,” says Fitzpatrick. “You really get a cross-section of what up-and-coming filmmakers have to offer.”
Ulrich is well known for his roles in Scream, As Good As It Gets, and Jericho. The Festival has also screened Oscar-winning films and numerous Oscar nominated short films. Winning filmmakers at the West Chester Film Festival receive custom designed, hand-blown glass awards called the “Chesters.”
The festival is a social event as much as it is cultural. It hosts several parties throughout town. Filmmakers are invited to attend screenings and parties to discuss their contributions.
The opening night party on April 24 takes place at the Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant, serving cocktails and hors d’oeuvres from 5 to 7 PM. There is also a Meet & Greet with the filmmakers taking place at Pietro’s Prime on April 25 from 5:30-6:30 PM. “We always get really positive feedback from the filmmakers who attend,” says Fitzpatrick.
With film, food, and the opportunity to meet fun, creative people, the West Chester Film Festival is a time for locals to spice up their weekend. The charming town of West Chester expects a large turnout this year, predicting 2,000 attendants. Purchase tickets here or at the doors of the screening venues. Tickets are $8 for a 2 hour block of films, $6 with senior citizens or a valid student ID, $5 with a WCFF membership, $5 for the Young Filmmaker block and $5 for all patrons over 10 at the Children’s Block. A $50 festival pass allows you access to as many film blocks as you want. Dim the lights, kick back, and enjoy a film-filled weekend in West Chester with family, friends, film lovers and connoisseurs!