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Inaugural Cabin Fever Film Fest hits Purcellville this weekend

When Purcellville resident Elizabeth Stinnette learned about the first annual Cabin Fever Film Festival at Franklin Park Arts Center, she was excited to submit the screenplay she wrote a few years ago titled “The Screenwriters.”

Stinnette did not expect, however, to have it selected as the premier film for the weekend, which will be shown at 7 p.m. Jan. 19, followed by audience questions and a catered reception in the lobby.

Stinnette's project was backed by writer and producer George Escobar, who is the founder of Advent Film group and is “really passionate” about giving young students opportunities in film making, she said.

Their 76-minute film was produced in 2016 and includes nine cast members. It was filmed locally at what is now Hoof and Paw Veterinarian Clinic with a $20,000 budget.

“The Screenwriters” is a lighthearted drama set in the 1940s, telling the story of two screenwriters who must hash out a feature-length screenplay in under 24 hours.

“It was such a fantastic experience to see how a film comes together and see my words on the screen was so surreal,” Stinnette said.

She said the entire crew was made up of local residents and “quite a few” of them have gone on to continue their careers in the field.

“Making this film was the beginning for me. I am always writing screenplays and am trying to make connections in the industry,” she said.

Stinnette said she is “thrilled” to be part of the Cabin Fever Film Festival and it was an honor to be chosen.

“I am excited to see the other films which were submitted and hope this festival will get a lot of buzz and interest. I am so pleased that local students have the opportunity to share their art with the community.”

The idea for Purcellville's first film festival originated from Liz Jarvis, chairwoman of the Purcellville Arts Council. She has attended film festivals around the U.S., including larger events at Sundance and Santa Barbara, Calif., and thought it would be great to have one in Purcellville to highlight the growing interest in filmmaking.

The Purcellville Arts Council discussed holding it when there is nothing else going on – and January, after the holidays, seemed to be the perfect time of year, Jarvis said. She is grateful that Franklin Park was willing to host the event and serve as co-sponsor.

“It is the first year and we are hoping that it will grow – it's a great time of year to have an event like this as it is a surefire cure for cabin fever,” she added.

"This film festival is what I refer to as 'hyper-local' -- we are promoting the local artistic talent and hopefully creating the forum where films reflect the vision of local filmmakers as well as establishing Purcellville as a film location. The slate of films we received are great examples of independent, local filmmakers. We did not receive any vintage home movies from Purcellville area residents but hoping to feature some of those next year,” Jarvis said.

If you go: The 1st Cabin Fever Film Festival kicks off Jan. 19 at 7 p.m. at Franklin Park Arts Center, 36441 Blueridge View Ln, in Purcellville. The film “The Screenwriters” will be followed by a Q&A session with the film's creators and a catered reception. Tickets are $8 per person.

The festival continues Jan. 20 at 10 a.m. with the documentary “Nichols: The Last Hardware Store” by Sarah Huntington, to be followed by a discussion. After a short break, several student films will be shown including “Teo and Jake Play Chess” submitted by Michael Chirillo, “Exploring Corolla” submitted by Maddy Wade, “The Ghoulie Girls: Summoning Charles Dickens” submitted by Maddy Wade. Tickets for the Saturday screenings are $5 per person.

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