Party kicks off NH Film Festival

Union Leader Correspondent
September 27. 2018 11:09PM
New Hampshire Film Festival Technical Director Nick Edgar and Executive Director Nicole Gregg watched the previews of movies to be highlighted at the annual film festival Thursday evening. (KIMBERLEY HAAS/Union Leader Correspondent)

Jordan Long and Tara Perry, of Los Angeles, were at the New Hampshire Film Festival party promoting their movie, "Squirrel," which was filmed over 21 days in Harrisville. (KIMBERLEY HAAS/Union Leader Correspondent)

PORTSMOUTH — Coordinators of the New Hampshire Film Festival held a kick-off party for the annual event Thursday evening in Portsmouth.

The film festival draws about 10,000 people to the city.

Jordan Long and Tara Perry of Los Angeles were at the party promoting their movie, “Squirrel.” Written by Matt Glass, the film was shot over the course of 21 days in Harrisville at Aldworth Manor.

Perry is a star of the film and Long co-directed with Glass. The comedy/thriller is about a couple lost in the woods who stumble across a mysterious cult who once harvested a strange, crimson maple syrup with healing properties.

Long said even though he lives in LA, he shoots films all over the world and tries to hire local talent wherever he goes. They hired eight production assistants from Keene State College to help make “Squirrel.”

“We were from very small towns, our cast and crew, and we were told this isn’t a reality,” Long said as he explained how he tries to provide inspiration to youth in rural areas.

NHFF organizers are proud that in addition to showing films created in the Granite State, they have 37 local filmmakers showing their work this year.

Scott Millette, who once served as snowboarding legend Scotty Lago’s agent, documented his experience losing nearly 80 pounds in less than five months in the short “Man Gets Revenge on Khloe Kardashian in Under Seven Minutes.”

Millette, 42, said he decided to start the journey because he realized life had taken a toll on him physically. He was inspired by “Revenge Body” and “Fat Sick and Nearly Dead.”

“I had been married to my business for eight years; that really got me away from the things I loved — like surfing,” Millette said.

Millette lives in Portsmouth where most of the material he used was shot. He said part of the reason he moved to the area from Amesbury, Mass., is because of the film festival and the community of artists who live here.

Katie Locke O’Brien, who grew up in Hampstead and attended Pinkerton Academy, says she is excited about her film “Have it All” because it is based on the true story of a morning that happened to her after having a baby a year ago.

“I was just starting to work again, and I was supposed to meet with my team of producers for this project. The meeting was set up last-minute, I couldn’t find a sitter … and in trying to be supportive of me as a new mom, the guys said I should just bring the baby to the meeting!” Locke O’Brien said.

Locke O’Brien said she realized it was important for her to tell a story about expectations on working women.

“I realized it was important to me to tell a story about how the baby is not the enemy, and the men who don’t understand are not the enemy either,” Locke O’Brien said. She filmed the short narrative at her current home in Los Angeles.

NHFF Executive Director Nicole Gregg said she felt like it was Christmas morning Thursday night as people filled up the back area of Thirsty Moose Tap House. She talked about the diversity of films being presented.

“There’s something for everyone; there always is. We want film to feel accessible to anyone,” Gregg said.

Over 100 films will be shown during the festival, which takes place from Oct. 11 to 14. Celebrities David Spade and Victoria Arlen are expected to make appearances.

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