One hundred and ten independent films. Fifty-two percent directed by women. And two major films— the ghost story Widow’s Point and the documentary The Man Behind the Mask, which follows Kip Weeks, star of the horror classic The Strangers. All this and much more is at the 8th annual Shawna Shea Film Festival (SSFF) opening Wednesday, Oct. 2 in Worcester with a Short Film Program screening at Nick’s Bar & Restaurant, 124 Millbury St.
SSFF 2019 continues Thursday through Saturday, Oct. 3-5 at the festival’s home base at Starlite Gallery, 39 Hamilton St., Southbridge; and Thursday and Friday, Oct. 3 and 4 at the Ruth Wells Center for the Arts, 111 Main St., Southbridge; and Saturday, Oct. 5 at the Southbridge Hotel & Conference Center, 14 Mechanic St., Southbridge. Four days of film programming puts women filmmakers front and center, with dozens of movies made and directed by women.
This year’s program includes feature films, shorts, and several documentaries. The schedule has something for everyone, from horror shorts to experimental films to drama to comedy.
Special highlights of SSFF includes the presentation of the annual William C. Gerrity Award which this year goes to Gregory Lamberson, an award-winning author and independent filmmaker who specializes in the horror genre and is one of the hardest working filmmakers in the genre. Greg’s film “Widow’s Point” will be screening at SSFF on Oct. 5. The late Bill Gerrity, father of Kate Travaline of Uxbridge, is a Hollywood giant and acclaimed director and producer known for his work on movies like French Connection, The Owl and the Pussycat, Sophie’s Choice, Klute, Patriot Games and the 1960s ABC series “Naked City,” to name a few. In 1983, he received one of the highest honors the film industry bestows: the Directors Guild of America Frank Capra Achievement Award. And SSFF is equally honored to remember him and expose his work to a new generation of filmmakers.
SSFF will also present its prestigious 2019 Woman in Film Award to Massachusetts filmmaker Raeshelle Cooke, an SSFF award winner and founder of the production company RMC Pictures. Raeshelle writes about the many misadventures of love, with music and spoken word often leading the narratives. She also writes films with social commentary regarding the current state of the country and the errors of human nature in general.
All SSFF 2019 awards will be presented at the closing ceremonies on Saturday night, Oct. 5, at 10 p.m. at Starlite Gallery.
The Shawna Shea Film Festival celebrates independent films and the people who make them. Established in 2012 as a program of the Shawna E. Shea Memorial Foundation Inc., SSFF honors Shawna’s unique independent spirit by bringing audiences films that share the same quality. www.shawnasheaff.org. All proceeds benefit the Shawna E. Shea Memorial Foundation, Inc.