17 July 2011

Picton Picturefest

Last weekend Small Pond Arts hosted its largest event to date, Picton Picturefest.  The fledgling  film festival was the brainchild of lifelong friends Peter Knegt and Jennifer MacFarlane, who grew up in neighbouring Trenton.

The brilliant poster that so beautifully captures the Small Pond Arts farm by Meagan Durlak and Sebastian Speier
Small Pond Arts was Picturefest headquarters, and over the course of the weekend some 70+ people camped in our woods, watched an outdoor film screening of The National Parks Project, enjoyed a concert by Kris Ellestad, chased fireflies and laughed well into the night around the roaring campfire.

Shooting a scene from Cirque du Foret in the silo.  Photo by Maddy Pilon. 
Amongst the merry band of cinephiles who descended on Small Pond were seven young filmmakers from across Ontario.  Over the weekend they were mentored by established filmmakers and the group wrote, shot, and edited an extremely entertaining short film, Cirque du Forêt.  Not only are Milé and I in the film, but it was all shot at Small Pond and includes some of my puppets as well as artwork from many of our resident artists.

By all accounts the inaugural Picturefest was a smashing success.  The screenings were well-attended, the community rallied behind the festival providing support and sponsorships, and to the relief of one and all, no major disasters presented themselves!

Outdoor film screening at Small Pond.  Photo by Ian Lefebvre.
I first saw Peter more than a year ago at a Creative Minds networking event at Angeline’s, where he bravely stood up in front of a room full of strangers and pitched his (crazy?) idea of starting a film festival in Picton.  I didn’t get a chance to talk to him that night, but as luck would have it, the following morning I saw him standing on the ViaRail platform in Belleville, as we both awaited the train to Toronto.  I approached him and introduced myself, and in the months that followed he visited us numerous times as plans for Picturefest unfolded.  Peter eloquently chronicles his experiences in his article, How To Start Your Own Film Festival: The Story of Picton Picturefest.  Peter and Jennifer are a true inspiration; they are two amazing young people who had a dream and worked their backsides off to make it happen.  Bravo, my friends!

Picturefest organizers Jennifer MacFarlane and Peter Knegt -
the newest members of our extended Small Pond family
We were thrilled to be able to provide our space as a venue to the Picturefest folks, secure in the knowledge that an infinite number of happy memories would be made here.  We look forward to future Picturefests, and to all the other unknowns that lay ahead for Small Pond.  Should you see us on the train platform of life, please do stop and say hello; who knows what magic we may be able to conjure together? 

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