Piermont, a popular location for filmmakers, hosts its own festival

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"The Oh Gees," written and directed by Shira-Lee Shalit, starring Didi Conn & Kathryn Kates, will be screened at the Piermont Film Festival.

The Piermont Film Festival is playfully billed as “a small film festival in even smaller rooms,” but that belies the scope of an event that reaches beyond its local ties to feature selections from around the globe.

Marcia Robins, managing director of the two-day festival, is presenting a mix of mostly short films, plus a handful of feature-length movies, from the U.S. as well as Iran, Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom, Ukraine, Portugal, Lebanon, India, and Egypt.

The selections were chosen by a panel of judges composed mostly of filmmakers. The films will be presented in high definition, with subtitles for the foreign features.

The 19 films cover genres including animation, documentary, drama, comedy, and musicals and are scheduled to be shown in four venues from noon to 8 p.m. on Saturday, June 11, and Sunday, June 12. All showings are free and admission is on a first-come, first-served basis; there is no pre-registration.

This is Robins’ third year presenting the festival, and she’s hoping that COVID concerns will present fewer obstacles this year. The main venue — Goswick Pavilion — provides an open-air setting. The indoor venues — The Turning Point, Bunbury’s Coffee Shop and the Piermont Library — are smaller, and those showings may have to be moved to the pavilion. Festival goers are encouraged to check the website for updates.

Robins is well known to many in Rockland for her connections to The Red Rail and more recently The Turning Point, and for starting what may have been the first woman-owned music booking agency in the county in the 1970s.

She learned the ins and outs of the film industry during a 17-year stint on the West Coast during which she acted, wrote, shot, directed and edited films, as well as producing her own cable access show. All prepared her for presenting her own film festival, she said.

“It’s my gift to Piermont,” said Robins, who envisions the event as a boon to movie lovers as well as local merchants rebounding from the pandemic.

“It’s an eclectic, independent, international film festival,” she said. “There’s something for everybody.”

Festival highlights

The festival’s two Iranian shorts are especially poignant, she said. House of Fortune and Naji were made by male filmmakers exploring feminist themes, Robins said.

“They’re telling things to us that they are not allowed to tell in their own country, she added.

Tiger is Strolling Around is a Japanese-language animated short made by Ukrainian filmmakers who fled to Germany from Kyiv, Robins said.

One of Sunday, June 12's highlights will be scheduled appearances by actress Didi Conn, a Piermont resident known for her roles in the movie Grease and TV’s Benson and Law and Order: Special Victims Unit.

Conn co-stars in the comedy short, The Oh Gees, scheduled to be shown at The Turning Point, along with the 1981 Oscar-winning short film Violet, which she starred in. She’ll also do a Q&A. Afterward, an animate short that Conn voiced, Raggedy Ann and Andy: A Musical Adventure,  is scheduled to be shown at the Piermont Library.

Two films by John Gray, who created the TV series Ghost Whisperer, will be screened: Welcome to Forever, and The Little Drummer Boy.

Another highlight is Pass The Matzoh featuring Renée Taylor, an actress, writer and producer perhaps best known for her role in the sitcom The Nanny.

Between showings, there’ll be musical performances by Adam Falcon and Tim O’Donohue (Saturday); and Pat Keating and Liz Graham (Sunday).

If you go

  • What: 2022 Piermont Film Festival
  • When: Noon to 8 p.m. on Saturday, June 11, and Sunday, June 12.
  • Where: Goswick Pavilion, The Turning Point, Bunbury’s Coffee Shop and the Piermont Library.
  • Admission: All showings are free and on a first-come, first-served basis; there is no pre-registration. Admission is limited to those 18 and older, except for Didi Conn’s appearance at the Piermont Library, and no pets are permitted.
  • Check for updates: Festival goers are urged to check the website beforehand as the schedule and venues may change.
Filmmaker John Gray and musician Tim O'Donohue will be part of the 2022 Piermont Film Festival. Contributed photo
"Pass The Matzoh!" with Renee Taylor and Michele Greene, will be screened at the Piermont Film Festival.
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