The 11th Annual Rehoboth Beach Independent Film Festival starts Wednesday, Nov. 5. Wednesday is dubbed "Locals' Night" and 16 films will premiere. Locals' Night will be a sampling of the festival's seventy or so films, which include features, documentaries and short films. The festival runs until Sunday, Nov. 8.
I was in Rehoboth Beach a couple of months ago where I was told that the town is now entering its second season. For those of you who are familiar, the resort beach towns have only two seasons, the busy season and the slow season. The busy season is of course the spring and summer, and the slow season is the fall and winter.
We're in that second season now, that time of year where kids go back to school, adults and tourists go back to work, and business in general slows down.
With the economy being what it is, this slow season is going to seem even slower. Yet, to keep things from coming to a grinding halt, the town will organize special events and festivals like this one to keep or bring in some cash flow, so the resort area is not completely ghost-like.
I recently talked to Joe Bilancio, the festival's programming director. I asked him about the various movies that are going to be playing. When wanting to know what to expect, Bilancio says, "We try to cater to everyone."
Notably, of the 37 features, 23 of them are foreign films, or films in a language other than English. Bilancio admitted, "This year we seem to have a little more subtitle, a little more international flair than we might have in past years." However, Bilancio said that wasn't done intentionally.
Bilancio said the festival is not there only to bring in small and obscure films. Quite the contrary, he says he tries to bring in independent films that their specific audience will enjoy. The films will definitely be an alternative from the mainstream fare offered in most multiplexes, as well as films that are a little more intellectually challenging. However, he said he bases his decision for what movies will play at the festival on one major rule, "It's well done, well made, and interesting."
Bilancio said that the number of international films should not turn off people. By chance, Bilancio has chosen a film to play at the festival that may have more mass appeal than some may think.
Let the Right One In is a film from Sweden that will have three showings at this year's fest. The film is a love story, involving vampires. With the recent interest this year in Twilight, a teen vamp flick that's expected to make millions of dollars and be the next Harry Potter, the new HBO series called True Blood, which is also about vampires in Louisiana, as well as the upcoming Underworld prequel, this Swedish escapist fantasy couldn't be more timely.
There are hardly any political films, which might have also been timely, being that the festival takes place the week of the 2008 presidential election. Bilancio said that quite a few amazing, and award-winning documentaries touching upon the World Trade Center and Hurricane Katrina would play at the fest. But, what's most appreciative is the festival will host four films from our region. One was even produced and filmed right in Sussex County, Delaware.
In addition, local film enthusiasts can hear from industry professionals and local film scholars. The festival will host three, free seminars. Anyone can join in discussions with veterans of the movie business as well as professors from Salisbury University on various topics regarding cinema and film studies.
Those discussions as well as all the movies screened will be held at the Movies at Midway theater complex on Route One between Lewes and Rehoboth Beach. For show times, dates and more information on ticket prices and how you can be involved, log on www.rehobothfilm.com/ .