The first West Virginia FILMmakers Festival was held in the spring of 2001 at the Landmark Studio for the Arts in historic Sutton, West Virginia. Co-founded by Kevin Carpenter and Steve Fesenmaier to showcase West Virginia’s best filmmakers.
Films are now shown primarily at the Elk Theatre, a Historic 1930s one-screen theater on Main Street in downtown Sutton. Filmmaking seminars, other festival activities, and after-parties with live music are held at the Landmark Studio for the Arts.
Hosted every October, the festival has become the singular celebration of West Virginia Filmmakers. The festival is characterized by enlightening films, networking opportunities, live music, and great parties.
In Spring 2020, we witnessed many film festivals cancel for the year. We knew we didn’t want to cancel WVFF. Our research reflected festivals were running virtually (online) and live from location. We set that as our goal and in pursuit of it, we realized there was technical infrastructure work that needed to be done. For this reason, we are virtual only this year. Truth is, our festival and our filmmakers will have an even broader reach by embracing the option to screen virtually. We are seeing a lot of opportunities in opening the festival up online. We have the ability for more screening events throughout the year instead of one weekend. I admit, it’s not the same. As a FILMmaker or film goer, you want to see film in a theatre on a big screen with your crew, cast, family and friends. However, this whole year isn’t the same. So we adapt to survive. It is our plan to be both virtual and live in 2021, and screening live at the historic Elk Theatre in Sutton.
A great feature of a virtual festival is that you can watch the films on your schedule. You’re not tied to the screening time like you are in a live event. Just like any show you are streaming you can elect to watch Day One of the festival that’s best for you. You must order your ticket festival weekend and you have several days to view the films.
The West Virginia FILMmakers Festival is a wonderful venue for meeting filmmakers, actors, and industry contacts, while experiencing the latest produced films reflecting trends, techniques, and technology.
It takes the efforts of many over the years to make this festival happen. Thank you to all who have worked, supported, attended, sponsored and shared their films. We would not exist without you!
WVFF 2019 Board Members:
Caitlin Renée Campbell
Festival Editor / Content Manager:
Festival Jury Coordinator:
Chris Allen • Jason Brown • Ian Nolte
WVFF Social Media Guru:
Philip Hawken is a graphic designer originally from the UK. He studied Graphic Design and Illustration at the University of Hertfordshire. He’s been living in the US for the past four years and he has won 19 design awards since he’s been on this side of the pond! He’s also currently working on his first film, a low budget horror set in West Virginia.
Special Thanks to the Following for Their Contributions Over the Years: