Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Forwardian Films at Origins Gallery

Photography by Paparazzi Paul.

On May 14th and 15th, The 2016 Forwardian Film Festival was held at The Origins Gallery in Stroudsburg, PA. It was the third festival The Forwardian Arts Society presented that featured original works from filmmakers throughout the Monroe County area and beyond. The first festival www.facebook.com/notes/paul-adam-smeltz/films-fit-for-a-forwardian/10150157262106232 was held on Friday April 15th, 2011 at a coffeehouse in Stroudsburg, PA called, “The Cheeky Monkey” that has since closed. The second festival www.facebook.com/notes/the-forwardian-arts-society/the-2nd-forwardian-film-festival/10153832489363761 was held at The SOHO in the BURG Gallery in Stroudsburg, PA www.sohointheburg.com on May 2nd and 3rd, 2015. The festival held at The Origins Gallery began shortly after the town's Annual Art on Main Festival www.facebook.com/notes/the-forwardian-arts-society/a-main-street-festival-for-the-arts/10154876350468761 concluded.

A number of changes to the film festival were made since the 2015 edition was presented. The first being the awards that were presented to filmmakers who endeavors proved worthy of special recognition from a panel of judges and from the audience in attendance. The next change was the addition of an Art Raffle which afforded those who came to enjoy the films an opportunity to win and bring something wonderful home with them. The festival also received a great deal of publicity prior to the event. Most notedly a televised interview with the festival's founder, Paul Adam Smeltz (yeah that's me), on NEPA Live www.pahomepage.com/lifestyle/pa-live/pa-live-forwardian-film-festival and a radio interview with Paul Adam Smeltz (yeah that's still me) and Jody Singer, director of The Origins Gallery, on the Gary in the Morning Show www.pocono967.com.

However, the largest change was the assemblage of film lovers which made all other changes possible and manageable. These individuals were Jody Singer, Ashley Catherine Fontones www.ashleyfontones.com, and Lorelei Whitlock (aka Sands) of DynaCore Films www.dynacorefilms.com. Dreams and how to bring them to a tangible reality were explored and manifested throughout the weeks prior to the festival. Their endeavors to allow The 2016 Forwardian Film Festival to realize its full potential is commendable and a deep appreciation by all who subsequently became involved in the event bespeaks to be expressed.

The first day of the festival took place on Saturday May 14th and featured films not exceeding 15 minutes in length. A gathering of film lovers filled the venue to near capacity as an excited chatter was heard among the crowd prior to the event's commencement. It was at the appointed time when an unexpected announcement was made that The Lost Ramblers were to start off the festival with their musical talents. The bluegrass band consists of Neil Morris on Vocals and Guitar, John Updike on Banjo and Vocals, Jim Schaefer on Upright Bass, and Dave Husic on Fiddle. It was a delightful and satisfying way to begin the festivities.

It was after this performance did Jody Singer stood before the gathering to share his welcoming words along with announcements relating to the gallery and the artistic endeavors being planned for the community in general. It was after this did Paul come up to share his welcoming and appreciative sentiments while sharing his insights about the festival, introducing the judges who were Wanda Farber, Daniel Fuica,and Jarred Stagen, and naming of the assemblage of film lovers who were mentioned earlier in this article.

The screenings began with an introduction given by Daniel Gallagher who made the film titled, “The Pondering” which was a comedic tale involving ghost hunters. The film was followed by a question and answer period which was very lively. The next film was introduced by Teddy Hazard of Hazard Studios www.teddhazardstudios.com who presented a number of animated shorts known as “Krust Toons” to the audience that were shown intermittently throughout the evening. They were titled, “Simon and Rusty-Keep your eyes on the Ball,” www.youtube.com/watch?v=oUM_40rLZfM “Krust Toons - A Very Krusty Christmas,” www.youtube.com/watch?v=MtaMaaR_osg and “Whine and Dine-Pumpkin Flavored Everything.” www.youtube.com/watch?v=tZFZWg8zaYo A great deal of laughter was heard throughout the room as the characters' antics were found to be as funny as hell. It was after the conclusion of the final film in the series did Mr. Hazard take questions from the joyfully engaged audience.

In the meantime, Trisha “Buddy” Thompson of Gorilla Productions
www.gorillaproductions.webs.com introduced the film “Broken Dreams” www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOOusQKjMdY which is about a man's attempt to rebuild his life after several bad turns. The screening was followed by a question and answer period. The next film was created by Riley DeHority and titled, “My First Documentary: The Park Day” www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=m0XE7HeLioQ which (as the title implies) recorded the events in a park late in 2015. The filmmaker wasn't present to introduce or hold a Question and Answer session but the film was enjoyed by the gathering. The next film was “The Healer” www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2XG9P7vSns by Albert Shivers of Shivering Fish Productions www.facebook.com/shiveringfishproductions which is about an artist as she explores the avenues that define the realities of her everyday life in contrast to those inspired by her art. The filmmaker wasn't present to introduce or hold a Question and Answer session.

As the film,
“The Healer” by Albert Shivers, concluded, “Redemption” www.youtube.com/watch?v=SCickulb0N4 by Louise Devery www.louisedevery.com was shown. The film is about the attempts of an actress to be casted and how she finally succeeds. Although Ms. Devery wasn't present to answer questions from the audience, Trisha “Buddy” Thompson (who served as the film's Executive Producer) shared insights and answers relating to the work. The film scheduled to conclude the first day of the festival was titled, “Pocono Pete” www.youtube.com/watch?v=glosp0KXGq4 directed by Wayne Atchison with Matt Cordisco of In The Woods Entertainment www.inthewoodsentertainment.com serving as Executive Producer. The film is about the making of a horror film with a surprise ending. After an introduction was given by Mr. Cordisco, an attempt was made to show the work. However, technical difficulties arose and the screening was delayed for the next day.

It was soon after this decision did the judges leave the room to deliberate in order to determine which films would receive their awards while the festival's organizers tallied the votes casted by the audience for the film they enjoyed the best. The announcement that the results were in was met with a great deal of excitement. The results were Third Place Best Short Film Award was given to Daniel Ferron on behalf of Albert Shivers for his film “The Healer,” the Second Place Best Film Short Award was given to Daniel Gallagher for his film “The Pondering,” and the Best Short Award was given to Trisha “Buddy” Thompson for the film “Broken Dreams” which also won the Viewers' Choice Best Short Film Award. It was at this point that congratulatory sentiments along with a mingling of adieus were shared while the gathering left the venue in anticipation for the continuation of The Forwardian Film Festival scheduled for the following day.

The festival continued the next day (Sunday May 15th) as the Run for the Red Marathon Race was occurring throughout the town and beyond. Yet, in spite of the challenges in attaining a parking space, a gathering of film lovers equaling that of the previous day filled The Origins Gallery. Many were present during the first day while a number of those who attended did so for the first time. After welcoming words and introductions of those involved in the festival and the judges were given, it was announced the technical difficulties that kept the screening of the film, Pocono Pete, from being shown was resolved. And, it was shown to the appreciation of all who were present.

It was after this screening did David Madison come before the audience to introduce his film titled, “Middle Village” www.middlevillagemovie.com which is a documentary reflecting his love for his childhood hometown of Middle Village, New York. The screening was followed by a question and answer period which included a sharing of stories by audience members who lived in the town. It was then announced that Mr. Madison would be available for the remainder of the festival to sign copies of the film's DVD as well as a previous film he made titled, “Mr. Hush.”

After this, it was the final film of the festival to be shown. “A Quick Buck” www.youtube.com/watch?v=IzT9WlD0LZM by Matt Duffin of Parton Pictures is about a man who rejoins the mob to make ends meet. Mr. Duffin shared his insights relating to the film during his introduction of it and answered questions about the film from an inquisitive audience afterwards. It was at the conclusion of the film were the decisions of who would receive the awards for the day were made. The recipient of the award for the Best Feature-Length Film was Matt Duffin for his film “A Quick Buck” which also won the Viewers' Choice Best Feature-Length Film Award. The award given to the Best Overall film shown during the festival went to Trisha “Buddy” Thompson's “Broken Dreams.” An abundance of congratulatory words were shared which led to the commencement of the Grand Raffle.

An excitement filled the room as Jody Singer read the numbers off each winning ticket while Lorelei Whitlock (aka Sands) held each item with an elegance and grace that deepened its desirability. The items included a variety of artwork, jewelry, and gift certificates to local shops and eateries. Those who donated their items to the Grand Raffle included Jane Mayhew MacHale, Janice Ortiz Takacs, Bush Linda, Stephen Glinane, Sarah Machen Fix, Jim Smeltz, Ronnie Dell'Aquila, David Madison, Wanda Farber, and Professor Michael Kessler. It was as the final digits of the last winning ticket were called that a great deal of appreciation for the film festival occurring was expressed. These solemn sentiments were mixed with an air of excitement as the gathering anticipated the return of The 2017 Forwardian Film Festival. I look forward to having it again, too. In the meantime, you'll find more photographs taken during the 2016 Forwardian Film Festival in our Forwardian Films at Origins Gallery at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10154878603378761.1073741970.91146283760&type=3.

The judges for The Forwardian Film Festival brought a variety of experiences and perspectives to the decision making process which aided them in determining which films of the high quality selection should be distinguished among others to receive awards. This was not an easy thing to do and they should be commended on their endeavors and accomplishments. The judges were Wanda Farber who graduated from East Stroudsburg University of PA (ESU) and enjoys many different types of movies and forms of performing arts, Daniel Fuica who currently attends Northampton Community College (NCC) majoring in the field of Radio/TV major and enjoys watching and analyzing movies with his friends, and Jarred Stagen who recently graduated from King’s College which is located in Wilkes Barre PA earning two degrees in Theatre and History and he is especially interested in combining avant-garde theatrical ideas with historical information to explore what can be truly learned from the past. Thank you for your wisdom.

With all the power I have to render an unbiased assessment of The Forwardian Film Festival, this year's event was the best one, yet. I thank Jody, Ashley, and Lorelei for lending their expertize, manpower, and loving support as we collectively sought to make this year's festival something truly wonderful. I thank those in the media who helped get the word out so film lovers around the area would know about the festival. I thank those who provided the technical equipment we needed to show the films as well as those who shared their knowledge on how to use the equipment so we could see them. I thank the Lost Ramblers for leading us in music. I thank all those who donated items to be offered during our Grand Raffle. I thank the filmmakers for bringing their talents to our festival which made our memories of it something to reflect fondly upon. And, finally, I thank those who expressed their love for the art of film by attending the festival. I am humbled by your presence and support. Thank you all.

In addition to presenting events like The Forwardian Film Festival, The Origins Gallery holds gallery exhibitions throughout the year. Their current exhibit is their Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words Exhibition which continues to be on display until June 1st. Their next art show will be their Incongruous Juxtapositions Exhibition. Artists are invited and encouraged to place their work in the exhibit by dropping their artistic endeavors off at the gallery on June 1st and 2nd. The Artists' Reception is scheduled for Saturday June 4th beginning at 6pm. It will be great to see you there.

The Origins Gallery is located on the lower level of The Gamers Edge Comics and Games Store www.facebook.com/TheGamersEdgeStroudsburg?fref=ts which can be found at 580 Main St. in Stroudsburg, PA. The Origins Gallery is a contemporary arts gallery within the Pocono Art District having one of the highest and fastest sales records in the Stroudsburg area, provides a space to those who teach the arts to those who would like to learn from them, and continues to do everything with the local community in mind. You can learn more about The Origins Gallery and all they have to offer by exploring their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/OriginsGalleryStroudsburg or their Website at www.originsgallery.org.

In addition to The Forwardian Film Festival, the fellowship publishes a literary and arts magazine titled, “Forwardian” www.issuu.com/forwardiandude/docs/vol_i_-_issue_11?e=7885182/33136452 whose 12th issue is scheduled to be available on line in June 2016. The Forwardian Arts Society will hold their Cover to Cover V exhibit/competition at the Origins Gallery to determine which image would appear on the upcoming issue's front cover. The exhibit will be a shared one with that featuring photography. The Artists' Reception is scheduled for Saturday June 18th with artists and photographers encouraged to place their work in the exhibition. The drop off dates are June 15th and 16th. If this wasn't enough, The Forwardian Arts Society also posts articles and photographs of recently held art related events on line.

The Forwardian Arts Society is a fellowship for people who love the arts which began in the October of 2001. The Basic Art Lover Membership in the group is free and open to anyone who has a love for the arts and a desire to become a member. An advanced Passionate Art Lover Membership is available at an annual fee for those who are able and willing to support the fellowship financially. Please feel free to learn more about The Forwardian Arts Society, what they have to offer, and how to be a part of their fellowship by exploring their Website at www.forwardianarts.org for more information.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

A Main Street Festival for the Arts

Photography by Paparazzi Paul.

It was a bit of a chilly day throughout the town of Stroudsburg, PA on Saturday May 14th during the annual Arts on Main Festival. Still, the warmth generated by the art, the energetic music, and the friendliness of the vendors lining the streets created a welcoming loving sensation that heated the soul. The day began with offerings from Monroe Farmers Market www.monroefarmersmarket.com who had a variety of fresh food and other items available for purchase at the town's Courthouse Square from 8am until noon. The festival officially began at noon and continued to present art, music, and other performances in various locations throughout the day until 5pm.

I arrived in town a bit late in the day so most of what was scheduled to occur was either ending or had ended beforehand. However, I did get to town in time to experience guitarist Vanessa Marchiano who performed in the vacant lot located between Josephine's Fleur-de-lis and The 14KT Outlet’s Fine Jewelry Design. The hypnotic qualities of the songs she shared were enhanced by her voice and instrument. I walked down the street after a while to the sidewalk in front of Brite Cleaners where I encounter a band known as “A Season Underground” www.facebook.com/aseasonunderground/?fref=ts who consists of Amber Sauls on vocals, Katie Evans, on bass, and Rafael Pimentel on percussions. The voice of Ms. Sauls and the musical abilities of her band mates touched spirit of not only the songs they performed but created new souls for the compositions that found themselves dwelling within the essence of each listener.

It was after a while that I left the site where A Season Underground were and strolled over to the town's courthouse square where a number of artists and other vendors were gathered. Artist Carly Kripps art.ck20@gmail.com, Rachel Black of Rachel's Animal Art www.etsy.com/shop/RachelsAnimalArt, Melissa Benzinger of Dancing Vulture Designs www.DancingVultureDesigns.com, Tracy Gross of Trae Be True Design www.etsy.com/shop/TraeBeTrueDesign, Artist Maria Ferreris www.fineartamerica.com, and Azizi Dayo of Soap Muffin www.SoapMuffin.com were among those whom I met. It was during my time exploring the courthouse square and all its offerings did I hear the familiar sounds of the duo known as “Woodrow” www.facebook.com/wearewoodrow which consists of Theresa Ratcliff on vocals and Brian Brancamp on vocals and Guitar. The duo played a number of tunes with the transcendent style and interpretations they have become well known. I then left the couple to enter The PoconoArts Community Cultural Center presented their 2016 PoconoArts Council's Membership show. www.poconoarts.org

The array of images, which numbered over 70, filled the senses as I moved from one piece to another. A flourishing energy was sensed throughout the gallery as the stunning variety of the work and the artistic approaches they embraced moved into the subconscious spheres of the mind's reality. The PoconoArts Council Members' Exhibition continues until May 27th. Their next exhibition will be their Watercolor Exhibition with an Artists' Reception scheduled for Saturday June 4th beginning at 5pm with the work continuing to be on display until June 25th. Local Artists are invited to participate in the exhibit and the Drop off date is Thursday May 31st. I could not stay for the artists' reception for Members' Exhibition, but I did know what prizes were to be given out later that day.

Awards were given to outstanding works in several categories. The recipients in the category designated as “Oils” were Mary Cebone who received the 1st place award, David Palmer who received the 2nd place award, and Margie Cohen who received the 3rd place award with Honorable Mentioned going to Joyce Everitt. The recipients in the category designated as “Acrylics” were Linda Stockman who received the 1st place award, Patricia Cartledge who received the 2nd place award, and Wil Daskel who received the 3rd place award while Stephen Kruger was awarded Honorable Mentioned. The recipients in the category designated as “Watercolor” were Jan Swift who received the 1st place award, Paula George who received the 2nd place award, and Linda Kreckel who received the 3rd place award. The recipients in the category designated as “Works on Paper” were Jim Gloria who received the 1st place award, Morgan Weissbach who received the 2nd place award, and Debbie Procopio who received the 3rd place award while Armando Baez was awarded Honorable Mentioned. The recipients in the category designated as “Photography” were Clavertis Miller who received the 1st place award, Christine Medley who received the 2nd place award, and Sherwood Samet who received the 3rd place award while John Yetter was awarded Honorable Mentioned. The recipients in the category designated as “Mixed Media” were Iraina Caramelli who received the 1st place award, Linda Mutchler Rushin who received the 2nd place award, and Clair Marcus who received the 3rd place award while Susan Obaza was awarded Honorable Mentioned. The recipients in the category designated as “Fine Crafts (Functional)”were Lenore Fiore Mills who received the 1st place award and Jorge Cruz who received the 2nd place award. Andrea Robbins Rimberg received the award in The 3-D Works Sculpture and Non-Functional Category and Cynthia Smith received the award for Best of Show for her watercolor work titled, “Me, Me, Me.” The Jurors were Leah Gottlieb, Lalaine Bangiln Little, and George Shortess.

The Arts on Main Festival also featured other galleries located throughout the town who were continuing to display exhibits that began earlier in the year. The SOHO in the BURG Gallery www.sohointheburg.com presented their 50 Shades of Green exhibition and will do so until May 18th. Their Summer Show will hold an Artists' Reception on Saturday June 4th. Local Artists are invited to participate in the exhibit and the Drop off dates are May 19th - 21st. The Origins Gallery www.originsgallery.org presented their Outta Space exhibition and will do so until May 18th. Their “A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words” Exhibition will hold an Artists' Reception on Saturday May 21st. Local Artists are invited to participate in the exhibit and the Drop off dates are May 18th and 19th. DR's Custom Framing and Art Gallery in Stroudsburg, PA presented the work of Sean Turrell and will do so until May 31st. I did not visit these galleries during the Art on Main Festival as I had to be elsewhere to prepare for The Forwardian Film Festival that would be held at The Origins Gallery. There will be more about that in another article. In the meantime, you’ll find more photographs taken during The 2016 Arts on Main Festival in our A Main Street Festival for the Arts Gallery at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10154873957358761.1073741969.91146283760&type=3.