This week marks the debut of an exciting new venture for Narrowsburg, which has become a destination for enthusiasts of many art forms. Visitors come from far and wide to experience fine dining, great shopping, RiverFest, art galleries and the beautiful views of our magnificent eagles soaring above the majestic Delaware River. Like the river itself, the town is always changing, ever growing and redefining it’s place in the Upper Delaware valley, and with that in mind, the Delaware Valley Arts Alliance (DVAA, www.alliancesite.org ) has risen to the occasion and created the Big Eddy Film Festival (www.bigeddyfilm.com ).
DVAA communications director Tina Spangler is “thrilled to be spearheading the project,” but is quick to point out that the festival is a “collaboration with many, without whom it would not have been possible.” Spangler, a film maker herself, has been working closely with Troy Bystrom, who “brought the idea to the DVAA when he started out as a board member... and we became so excited at the prospect of what the festival could become, that I took the reins and became involved in every aspect of this project.
“Troy’s expertise is internet and digital,” Spangler continued, “and he created the website, which is fantastic. We wanted to give the film festival its own identity, and are hoping that this inaugural year will be the first of many more to come.” While based in Narrowsburg, with all films being screened at the Tusten Theatre, the festival is “by no means just for residents. In fact, we have a wide variety of films on the bill, including shorts, documentaries and six full length features being screened over three days.”
While some of the film makers are local, the roster of talent represents reaches far beyond the confines of our region and the subject matter ranges widely. “We are so fortunate to have such a diverse pool of talent right here at home,” Spangler said, “screenwriters, producers, directors and actors, and there are films made by residents of some local towns, including Lackawaxen and Ellenville. There’s even a documentary that centers on fly fishing (“Low and Clear”), but it’s really about the cycle of life and is a beautiful meditation on friendship.”
Hollywood star Matthew Lillard has directed one of this year’s films, “Fat Kid Rules the World,” which is based on the young adult novel of the same name, written by local author K.L. Going, and is “about teens who don’t fit in,” according to Spangler, emphasizing the variety of films that the festival will be presenting. “We’ve gotten a lot of calls about Jessica Yu’s documentary ‘Last Call at the Oasis,’ which deals with the world’s water crisis, and although hydrofracking does play a small part in the film, it is the larger issues at hand that take center stage,” she said.
Local writer/director So Yong Kim’s film “For Ellen” will be screened as well, having already garnered attention at the world famous Sundance Film Festival, and the Big Eddy festival gives Kim an opportunity to have her third film shown locally. “This exciting experience is for everyone,” Spangler said. “There are films that will appeal to young people and adults as well. Anyone who appreciates well-made films will find something interesting over the course of the event. If people think this is exciting and want to see the festival grow, this is the time to come out and show your support. We want to reach the widest audience possible, and with the array of films offered, we feel confident that there is something for everyone.”
The Big Eddy Film Festival takes place at the Tusten Theatre in Narrowsburg from September 14 to 16 and tickets can be purchased on an individual basis or with an “all screening pass.” Visit www.bigeddyfilm.com  or call the DVAA at 845/252-7576.