ffow-woods-hole.jpgSixteen years ago, the Woods Hole Film Festival was small, a one-day event in which five short films were screened. But those screenings were packed. And three of the five moviemakers showing their work were Bill Plympton, Kate Davis and Robert Stone–big-name talent for a start-up festival, or any festival for that matter.

Since that first event, the Woods Hole Film Festival has grown in stature and popularity. It is now the oldest independent film festival on Cape Cod, and part of what has allowed it to age so gracefully is its desire to form connections with likeminded people and organizations, resulting in programs like The Reel BlueFest and Filmmaker in the Schools. “We have been able to expand our reach by creating these relationships,” says Judy Laster, executive director of the festival. “The Reel Blues Fest takes place each summer during the film festival, and the film festival always programs music-related films to screen during the Blues Fest,” says Laster. “We have also developed Filmmaker in Schools through which the film festival gives back to the local schools through offering filmmaking classes to middle school students.”

From that modest one-day shorts festival 16 years ago, the Woods Hole Film Festival has developed into something much, much bigger. It’s a destination for moviemakers, but the festival has also become an important part of the community. That’s one distinction not every festival in an increasingly-crowded festival circuit can claim.

Entries are currently being accepted for the 2007 Woods Hole Film Festivals, which will take place July 28th – August 4th. Log on to www.woodsholefilmfestival.org for more information, or to submit your film.

Sound Off: Besides forming relationships with groups and other film festivals to create the best possible film festival it can, the Woods Hole Film Festival is committed to its community. Does the strength of a festival’s ties to its community impact your decision to go to it? Let us know in our comments section!

–Dante A. Ciampaglia