Ballston Spa to hold first film festival

Ballston Spa might not come to mind when considering star-studded localities the village doesn't have a movie theater but come the first weekend of August, one might just mistake it for a smaller version of Hollywood.

Ballston Spa will be holding its first ever film festival that weekend. The festivities will begin Thursday, July 31, at 8 p.m. with a premiere party at Manna's Restaurant, and conclude with a 4 p.m. award ceremony at Coffee Planet on Sunday, Aug. 3. In between will be showings of 28 films created by both local and world-renowned artists.

The festival is an extension of the free movies that have been offered as part of First Fridays in Wiswall Park. Like that program, the festival is the brainchild of Daniel DeFabio and supported by the Ballston Spa Business and Professionals Association. DeFabio teamed up with Nicole Coady and Eric Vollweiler. All three moved to the area after working in Los Angeles.

In fact, DeFabio and Coady ended up living on the same street in Ballston Spa.

"A neighbor introduced us, and so we met," said Coady. "Daniel was really the one who came up with the idea for the festival."

All three, however, have been using their connections to bring films and judges to Ballston Spa since November.

That has resulted in the sizable slate of films and a panel of judges filled with big names from the film industry. Marcus Fuller, Anne Mari Lizzi, Daniel Fried and Jim Jermanok will be in town for the festival, while Daniel Pyne (who was the screenwriter the films "Any Given Sunday" and "The Manchurian Candidate") will be judging the films remotely.

The films themselves will be a mix of local productions and world-renowned reels.

"We felt it was important to have local films and student films," said DeFabio. "But we also wanted to make sure those works were showcased alongside the best of the best."

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