Parties & Openings
April 14 – Pittsfield
Susan Merrill Exhibit Opening
April 7 – Ghent
Ghent Playhouse Gala
March 31 – Hudson
Lil' Deb's Commitment Ceremony
Berkshire Film & Media Commission Makes Movie Magic
Cultural correspondent Bess J. M. Hochstein reports from Pittsfield: In the Berkshires, it often seems as if all the world’s a stage, but at the first annual Berkshire Film and Media Commission gala on Saturday, November 6, the Masonic Temple in Pittsfield was literally transformed into a soundstage as partygoers were given a script, a costume, a makeover (by pros such as Arthur Oliver, left) and a bit of time to get ready for their close-ups. Camera-shy guests had the option of working behind the scenes as part of the crew that directed, shot, and created green-screened scenes which were seamlessly spliced into vintage black and white footage, or they could just enjoy watching the frenetic filmmaking activity and bid on auction items while nibbling tasty tidbits by caterer Kate Baldwin. Whatever the role, it was a delicate act to navigate the room, which was filled with elaborate set-ups of lights, cameras, screens, and scaffolding—just as it was difficult to hear the live auction through periodic bullhorned announcements of “Quiet on the set!” Nevertheless, items such as a signed guitar from James Taylor and movie memorabilia signed by Karen Allen and Elizabeth Banks inspired dramatic bidding.
Porches & Red Lion Inn owner Nancy Fitzpatrick with Ventfort Hall’s Nannina Gilder; photographer Lincoln Russell with custom builder Lou Boxer.
Mark Hohlstein and Brad Fittz; filmmaker John Whalan, president of the board of Community Access to the Arts, who served as the executive producer for the evening’s film shoot, and Kate Whalan.
Sean Finnegan and his father, Joe Finnegan, the general manager of the Williamstown Theatre Festival and president of the Williamstown Film Festival, with Berkshire Film & Media Commission executive director Diane Pearlman and Kristen Johanson, a member of the Williamstown Theatre Festival board.
Matt Syrett, producer of the documentary Freeheld that was directed by his wife, Cynthia Wade, with Barbara Newman, a member of the BIFF Advisory Committee; actresses Stephanie Hedges and Elizabeth Aspenlieder of Shakespeare & Company with filmmaker Marc Maurino.
Arts consultant Catharine Deely, PR consultant Kimberly Rawson, and Studio Two’s Kevin Sprague; Nikki Carchedi of Stone House Properties with radiologist Britt Limes and Najwa Squailia.
Ballet teacher and jewelry designer Katie Burkle with actress and knitwear designer Karen Allen.
Brad & Ellen Spear, the president and CEO of Hancock Shaker Village; Cultural Pittsfield’s Megan Whilden with the Berkshire Museum’s Stuart Chase.
Actress Hilary Somers Deely with Karen Beaumont, a professor of theatre at Bard College at Simon’s Rock.
Eliza Eldritch with her mother, Jill Eldritch; sisters Jenn & Rosalyn Frederick.
Sculptor Dai Ban, Berkshire Property Agents co-founder Tim Lovett, and Robin Ban, the owner of Seeds in Great Barrington; Shay Barnes, Joshua Needleman of Chocolate Springs, and Buffy King.
Filmmaker Karen Slade with Jessie Baez.