Letter: The first Film Festival’s closing credits

There’s a saying that making something look effortless requires a lot of effort. It was the herculean effort of a small team of dedicated volunteers which culminated in an amazingly successful weekend of film and fun at RAAC’s first annual Film Festival at Little Washington.

In recognizing these volunteers, we start with our three talented filmmaker partners — Dee Dee Slewka, Tracy Mazza and Mathieu Mazza — who proposed the concept and worked tirelessly throughout the process to bring their high standards to the festival. Our filmmakers (with the help of family members, Horton Beebe-Center and Felix Mazza) set up and operated all the audio-visual equipment, giving moviegoers a state-of-the-art viewing experience. On top of that, they also managed to conduct a young filmmaker workshop for 22 Rappahannock County students!

Heidi Lesinski and Megan Smith (who was also our charming emcee) led the sponsorship efforts with the help of Laurie Emrich, and did an incredible job raising not only funds, but also enthusiasm and excitement in the community along the way. Our sponsors, including Rappahannock Media, took a risk on a speculative venture, and Heidi, Megan and Laurie were instrumental in building the foundation for support. Heidi also coordinated the Hopkins Ordinary “Mingle with the Filmmakers” event giving movie lovers an opportunity to interact with the filmmakers, while sampling delicious locally brewed ales.

During the festival weekend, Cheryl Toth and a core of dedicated volunteers worked night and day to staff the box office and concessions, greet the filmmakers, and keep the Theatre at Washington running smoothly. Cheryl was always the first person to arrive and the last to leave. On top of everything else, she also helped coordinate the Hopkins Ordinary event!

Numerous supporting actors also deserve recognition, including Bill Pragluski, the graphics designer who created our eye-catching promotional materials, Tim Ayers, our PR expert, who helped spread word of the festival near and far. Rappahannock’s own celebrity weatherman Bob Ryan, who opened the festival, and two other local favorites, Roger Piantadosi and John Sullivan, acted as our guest hosts on Saturday. And finally, our talented social media maven, Joanie Ballard, kept us front and center on Facebook.

Lastly, we’d like to recognize those who made all the effort worthwhile: those who make films and those who love watching films. We couldn’t have done it without you!

Thank you,

Pat Burke and Karen Crow
Co-Chairs, Film Festival Committee

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