It’s that time of year again. Halloween has come and gone, Thanksgiving is still on the horizon, and there’s one thing everybody likes to do around now – watch movies.
That’s why it’s the perfect time for the 2018 SNOB Film Festival, back for a 17th year and loaded with high-quality movies and associated events.
This year’s festival will take place Nov. 8 through 11, and all films, as usual, will be screened at Red River Theatres. There will be 52 films in total, ranging from feature-length narratives to ultra-short PSAs, and everything in between. Almost all of the movies have been created by independent, up-and-coming filmmakers, including several from New Hampshire.
A couple of years ago, the festival was going through somewhat of a transition. Long referred to simply as SNOB – an acronym for Somewhat North of Boston – Executive Director Jay Doherty thought it was time to update the name to reflect the fact that the festival deals with a whole lot more than movies. As the festival grew to include a craft beer element, food and live music, Doherty decided to call the festival the New England Indie Fest. That name didn’t last long.
“Last year we talked to people in the different film blocks what they thought, and everyone was in agreement that SNOB Film Festival is the name that should stay.”
So here we are.
While there are food and beverage elements that play a big role in the festival, the heart and soul has always been the movies. Films are divided into categories – feature-length documentary, feature-length narrative, short documentary and short narrative. Within those categories, there’s no limit to the variety of the content of the films – there are comedies, tragedies, PSAs, experimentals and everything else you can imagine. There will also be a couple films you may be familiar with.
In keeping with a tradition that’s been running about seven years now, SNOB will screen a couple big-time movies that had wide releases across the country, even if it was a decade or two ago.
One is the cult (and now mainstream) hit The Breakfast Club. Doherty said that after showing The Room, another cult hit from yesteryear, at last year’s festival and after seeing how much people enjoyed it, he wanted to do it again with a film with a similar kind of following. The Breakfast Club also ties into another SNOB event – the N.H. Breakfast Beer Tasting.
“The Breakfast Club came out of the beer tasting we’re doing,” Doherty said. “We just moved it from Red River to the Hotel Concord lobby upstairs. Six breweries are bringing two different beers each, a New England IPA and a dark porter/stout – kind of the two different flavors of breakfast – to tie in to the whole breakfast theme.”
The beer tasting won’t actually be held anywhere near breakfast time (thankfully, or unfortunately, depending on your style) – it’s scheduled for 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, with the movie starting at 7:45. The beer tasting is free, and doesn’t require a ticket, so anyone is welcome to show up just for the beer tasting if they’d like. And if you note the times, the beer tasting runs through the first 45 minutes of the movie, for those who would rather sip than sit.
The beer tasting will feature offerings from Concord Craft Brewing, From the Barrel, Great North Aleworks, 603 Brewery, Rockingham Brewing Co. and Henniker Brewing Co.
From the Barrel, based in Derry, is the featured brewer for this year’s festival, having created a New England IPA called Take 17, which is the official special release beer of the festival. The name is a reference to movies and also a reference to the 17th year of the festival. It’s a super-juicy New England IPA made with citra, mosaic and El Dorado hops. That will be available at Red River as well as Barley House, Dos Amigos, True Brew Barista, Penuche’s, Area 23, O Steaks & Seafood, From the Barrel and Cask and Vine in Derry. Only a limited amount of the beer was made, and it’s expected to be a big seller, so make sure you get out there soon and try it before it’s gone.
Before the beer tasting even begins, the festival will begin in sort of a low-key fashion with a “starting film” called On Main, a rock documentary. That film starts at 6 p.m. Thursday and will be getting out right as the beer tasting is kicking into high gear.
“That film will get out and most people will get out and likely come sample some beers,” Doherty said.
The other “big” movie that has become highly popular over the years that will be shown is Office Space, which will be screened Saturday at 7:45 p.m.
“For Office Space, it was just a fun film,” Doherty said. “We thought it’d be a fun Saturday night film for people to go out and see, quote along with it.”
Let’s be honest, though – we’ve all seen The Breakfast Club and Office Space, probably a dozen times or so by now. The SNOB Film Fest is all about bringing in movies you’ve never seen or heard of, made by people you’ve never heard of – unless you know them personally, which there is actually a decent chance of considering all the local filmmakers involved.
One of the local films that will be shown is called Intelligent Lives. This documentary by Concord filmmaker Dan Habib – you’ve probably heard of him, and you may even know him – follows the lives of three young adults living with some sort of an intellectual disability and the challenges and successes they encounter along their journeys. The film just had its theatrical premiere at Red River last Thursday, and it will be shown during SNOB on Saturday at 11:45 a.m.
Junker is a film that may look familiar to Concord residents. The short film classified as a romance was made by Concord resident and Colby Sawyer College professor Craig Greenman and his student Abhineet Kumar, and was shot in downtown Concord. The film, which will be shown Thursday at 9:30 p.m. and Saturday at 6 p.m., follows an aging collector of low-priced antiques who “finds a true treasure.” One can only imagine what that means.
Another Concord-centric film is Climb to the Clouds Featuring the Pleasure Evo. This short documentary takes a close look at the annual Mount Washington Hillclimb Auto Race. Directed by Nick Czerula of Concord, this movie follows a driver named Alexander Grabau, who puts his 20-year-old car to the ultimate test going up against some of the top rally drivers in the world. The movie contains some stunning shots, Doherty said, and as the executive director of the festival, I’m inclined to take his word for it. It will be shown Saturday at 4:30 p.m.
Apart from the movies and beer, the food element is still a big part of the festival. Once again, Dos Amigos has concocted a special burrito just for SNOB, which will be available throughout the festival. The Barley House has also created another signature burger for the event. Word on the street (aka Doherty said) is that the restaurants may be tweaking their recipes to fit into the breakfast theme of the beer tasting event, so make sure you check them out and see what they’ve come up with.
Finally, live, independent music is also part of the festivities. In the past, there have been concerts around downtown that have been performed in association with the festival. The same is expected to take place this year, although as of last week the details of the music side of things were still being worked out.
In terms of other festival fun, there will be a filmmaker meet-up Saturday at 10 a.m., in which aspiring filmmakers and movie fans will get to hear directly from the folks who created some of the films in SNOB. On Sunday, there will be a special event for kids. Starting at 1:30 p.m., a block of films created by students – elementary and middle school students who have teamed up with ConcordTV or other organizations that offer film camps – will be shown.
Awards are given out Sunday right after the kids’ event. Audience members will be voting all week using ballots that will be handed out upon entry. The criteria will be simple – rate each film on a scale of 1 to 5. Whichever films score the highest will win. There are typically eight categories, plus Best of the Fest, which goes to the top film overall.
As far as admission, you can buy individual tickets, full-day passes or full-festival passes. Day passes vary in price depending on the day, and the full-festival pass is $75, $70 for Red River members, and gets you into everything over the whole festival.
A complete list of films including the festival schedule can be found at snobfilmfestival.com and tickets can be purchased at redrivertheatres.org.