The fifth annual Waterfront Film Festival began Thursday, June 12, on the streets of downtown Saugatuck with the free outdoor screening and Midwest premiere of “Local Boys.” If that night was to be any indication, the remainder of the independent film festival would prove to be amazing and it was more than just that.
Over 7,000 people were expected to attend the event, and according to co-founder Judy Smith, the numbers were excellent. The not-so-summer-like weather did not hold back thousands of fans from coming out to enjoy the festivities. As the weather slowly improved over the weekend, so did the crowds. Thursday’s opening night events alone brought double the attendance of the 2002 opening night, she said.
At the conclusion of the weekend, the numbers were encouraging, she added. When all was said and done the ticket sales showed an amazing 40 percent increase over last year. “It’s not just a local festival anymore,” said co-founder Hopwood DePree who believes being named one of the top ten vacation film festivals in the U.S., immense press coverage, and diversity of the films helped to improve attendance over years past.
With more than 60 films including documentaries, comedies, dramas, shorts, and children’s programs, the line-up at this year’s festival proved to have a little something for everyone. “It was exciting to be able to showcase films of this quality and caliber,” raved DePree. The diverse selection of films offered everyone a chance to “select what fits them.” The festival, which concluded Sunday, also offered seminars on such topics as acting, filmmaking and screenwriting. Also, $4,000 in grants were awarded to aspiring student filmmakers.
Look for the 2004 Waterfront Film Festival to take place June 10-13.
For more post festival information, check out the Waterfront Film Festival website.