Films Across the 401

From October 21 through 23, the 401 Film Fest ran its second event at The Arctic Playhouse in West Warwick. Organized and hosted by Adam Theroux, a local filmmaker and camera operator for The Rhode Show, the 401 Film Fest showcased a variety of short films, documentaries, music videos and even a feature film to over 300 audience members in six showcases over the course of three days. More than 50% of the films that were screened were made by Rhode Islanders. The featured filmmakers ranged from middle schoolers to local and international professionals.

Beyond his love of film, Adam Theroux is also a Big Brother, and his support for the Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ocean State formed the backbone of the 401 Film Fest. While admittance to the festival was completely free, $1 raffle tickets were sold at the event with all proceeds going to Big Brothers Big Sisters. The Arctic Playhouse was also given to Theroux for free, allowing all of the revenue that would have gone to the venue to go straight to Big Brothers Big Sisters. Last year’s 401 Film Fest raised over $1,000 for the charity. “I wished to match that this year and we friggin’ doubled it!” Theroux said about the $2,000 that the festival allowed him to donate this year.

Adam sees the causes that the festival supports as being twofold. The first, of course, is Big Brothers Big Sisters. The other cause that benefits from the festival is the independent filmmakers who have their work screened. Friends and family members pack the venue in anticipation of seeing what their loved ones have created, but many people also attend just to check out the local independent filmmaking scene. One woman in particular showed up on Friday evening after hearing about the event online despite not knowing a single filmmaker. She was there solely to support the Rhode Island artists, and, “She had so much fun she came all of Saturday and all of Sunday,” Adam said.

Our local filmmakers greatly appreciate the connections that they were able to form at the festival and the opportunity that it provided them to show their films to the community. “I hadn’t realized the local community of filmmakers was so large, so diverse or so interconnected,” stated filmmaker Charlie Hatton. “Most people I spoke with were working on multiple projects, often in various combinations with other creators represented in the fest.” Charlie and partner Jenn Dlugos submitted an episode of their web series “Magicland” to the festival. Since “Magicland” usually releases online “We don’t usually have the opportunity to watch it with an audience,” Jenn said. “401 gave us the opportunity to do that.” Jenn also collaborated with filmmaker Andrea Henry on the comedy short Weekend Getaway. Of the selection of films, Andrea stated that “They ranged from good-natured comedy to thought-provoking social commentary. It felt like a truly independent film fest.”

“I’ve known Adam for years now,” stated Holly Mello, writer and director of The Person You Could Have Become, “and it’s amazing to see him create this festival from scratch. I’ve had films of my own screen both years and it’s great to be a part of the local community of independent filmmakers.” Tim Labonte, who worked on “Magicland” as well as the music videos Cast My Vote and Only One You, stated, “This was my second year at 401 Film Fest as a filmmaker and attendee, and it’s because of Adam’s passion for film and the community. It’s  amazing how he uses both to help what he believes in, and he’s just an incredible human being. I’m looking forward to next year already.”

Next year is already a work in progress, as Adam tirelessly works on planning for the upcoming third installment of the 401 Film Fest in 2017, with submissions opening up on January 1 and running straight through July 31.

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