Inaugural Live Free or Die Film Festival Officially in the Books

Posted by Leah on 8/16/2016 11:43:40 AM

        The inaugural Live Free or Die Film Festival took place this past weekend (August 12 and 13, 2016) in Manchester, NH. Prior to the festival I’d spoken to its creators Dorothea and Robert Daniel about the program and what attendees could expect. Robert told me that they had tried to program the films in such a way as to feel like a living art gallery exhibit, and they certainly accomplished that, and more!
        Peppered in the screening schedules of several of the film blocks were films that would classify as “contemporary performance art” and “interpretive art” pieces. While these particular films were not my cup of tea, they did attain numerous reactions from the audience, which is exactly what Dorothea and Robert had hoped. In speaking to Dorothea about these particular films during the after party at Margarita’s Mexican Restaurant on Friday, she told me that the reaction, whether negative or positive, is what she was looking for. “Good art is supposed to solicit a reaction. Whether that reaction is happiness, sadness, anger, joy or even annoyance, the important thing is that it made you feel
something,” she said.  
Robert Daniel and the cast of Head

Robert Daniel and the cast of Head

        But it wasn’t just the unconventional films that got a reaction. All of the films seemed to affect people in different ways, all be it some more traditionally than others. Some of the films, such as
Head, This Time its Shopping and Truth Cocktail had people howling with laughter. Other films, such as The Chain, Dear in the Headlights and C.I.T.  had people choking back tears and gasping in shock. And still other films, such as Calling in Demons, The Long March and Faux Leather left people with mixed emotions. These reactions are proof that film is among the highest of art forms.
Chris Goodwin and Topher Hansson talk to Robert Daniel about Truth Cocktail

Chris Goodwin and Topher Hansson talk to Robert Daniel about Truth Cocktail

        From 5:30 pm to 8 pm each day there was a break during which attendees could grab a bite to eat at one of the many local restaurants that surround The Palace Theatre. From 7 pm to 8 pm both days a filmmaker cocktail hour was held, which included a humongous spread of food, wine and cucumber infused water. Had I known such a spread was to be put on I certainly would’ve skipped having dinner beforehand! Food aside though, this was a great opportunity to meet and speak to many of the filmmakers who were at the festival, both about the films they had submitted, and about other projects they’re currently working on.

        Saturday night, after the final film screening, the awards ceremony was held. I’m not sure how they were able to choose the winners, (except for the Audience Choice Award, I DO know how that one works!), given that all of the films in the festival were so spectacular. But they can’t all be winners, so here’s the list of who won what:

•  Audience Choice:
The Chain

•  Bare Budget: This Time it’s Shopping

•  Spirit Award: Schlaflahmung

•  Artist Choice: The Long March

•  Best in Show: Silver Skies

•  Honorable Mention: Truth Cocktail, Sabra, Head, Flow, C.I.T., anexperimentalviralvlog, and A Beacon in Havana

        I’m currently working on interviews with several of the filmmakers and reviews of their films. I’ll be sure to bring you those as I complete them.

        As it is with most things in life, getting through the first of something is always the most difficult. Dorothea and Robert Daniel were both beyond exhausted by the end of the first ever Live Free or Die Film Festival, but they can hold their heads up high for putting on such a great event. I haven’t yet had the chance to speak to them to gauge how they thought things went overall, but I’m sure there are things they’re proud of and happy about, and things they’ll change when planning next year’s festival. The first is always the hardest, but if audience and filmmaker reactions say anything, it’s that everyone is excited to see what next year will hold!

        More information about the Live Free or Die Film Festival, including festival photos, a complete list of films screened and more can be found here:

  • Live Free or Die Film Festival Website
  • Live Free or Die Film Festival on Facebook
  • Live Free or Die Film Festival on Twitter