Ballston Spa Film Festival primed for second year

One year ago, the magic of the silver screen was brought to the small Village of Ballston Spa via a two-day film festival. This summer, that spell is set to be repeated on an even larger scale as the Ballston Spa Film Festival gears up for a second run from Thursday, Aug. 6, through Saturday, Aug. 8.

In just one year, the festival has grown by leaps and bounds, from 28 to 46 films and from two nights to three. Even more international and world-renowned films will be shown, including works from Italy, Spain, Japan, Rwanda, India, Ireland, England and Australia.

While about 300 people showed out for each of the four screenings in 2008, it's expected that attendance will easily top those levels this year, said festival organizer Daniel DeFabio.

With the expectation of larger crowds, a portion of Front Street, from Low Street to Spring Street, will be closed to traffic during showings in the park to allow attendees to make use of the street for seating.

We found that Wiswall Park isn't really as big as we need it to be with the size of our crowds, said DeFabio.

While 12 awards will be handed out at the conclusion of the festival, several films are already widely recognized. Chris Jones's "Gone Fishing" was nominated for an Oscar in 2008, Doug Karr's "Ten for Grandpa" was featured at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival and Lucas Figueroa's "Porque Hay Cosas Que Nunca Se Olividan" has won awards in over 100 festivals worldwide.

Though the festival is increasingly becoming a showcase for world-class talents, it also provides a unique opportunity for local and student filmmakers to put their work on display.

There will be many such films at this year's event, including the second season of "eScape," an 8-episode series produced by an entirely under-18 cast and crew of students from the immediate area. The first season premiered to much acclaim at Proctor's in 2008, but this year the students were having difficulty finding a venue with the space and time to air the entire 95-minute program all at once.

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