DOVER—Independent filmmakers wear many hats, from screenwriter to director to chief coffeemaker.
The executive director of the eighth annual Independent Television Festival (ITVFest) also wields a paint brush.
Philip Gilpin Jr. spent part of a recent muggy Sunday painting the movie theater in Dover, preparing the building to welcome the movers and shakers of independent television.
“I’ve been notifying the artists about which projects have been accepted,” said Gilpin of the juried submissions. “There is some amazing work coming in and going to be shown. I’m thrilled with the quality level of the content.”
ITVFest started in Los Angeles in 2006. The festival is known for connecting independent artists with top entertainment industry professionals.
In a press release, the festival coordinators wrote, “Technologically savvy and forward-thinking, ITVFest prides itself on being for and about the creators of quality content.”
Past ITVFest success stories include pilot scripts bought by NBC, Fox, Comedy Central, Sony, College Humor and others, and seeing writers staffed on “The Colbert Report” and talent signed by major Hollywood agencies such as UTA.
Gilpin said he wants to maintain the festival’s focus on independent, creative, and unique productions.
It’s not a popularity contest, he said. “It’s not about hair-dos.”
He added that Vermont’s authentic way of life will help maintain the festival’s independent nature.
Gilpin says he believes the Deerfield Valley is a perfect fit for the festival. The industry professionals are tired of the city, he says. Dover and its neighbors will provide an exclusive-feeling getaway.
The festival will bring industry professionals, television lovers, visitors, and their money, to the valley. Gilpin views ITVFest as part of his efforts towards economic development.
Gilpin, whose company Green Mountain Vermont (GMV) is hosting the festival, negotiated a contract with his friends — the festivals founders, Adam and Jenny Tesler — to hold the festival in Dover.
The contract was for three years, said Gilpin in a press release. He recently renegotiated the festival to remain in Dover indefinitely, providing at least 1,000 festival tickets are sold.
Gilpin said the festival can sell “unlimited” tickets until Aug. 15, but that he hopes Vermonters will purchase the first 1,000.
“It is now up to valley residents to show that they want ITVFest to become a permanent economic event by simply buying their tickets to this fun and exciting festival. I don’t think we could have made it any easier or more entertaining for valley residents to support economic development here at home,” Gilpin said.
After Aug. 15, Gilpin will have to order tents for the outside seating areas. After that, tickets will be more limited.
GMV raised an initial $50,000 to host the festival. The towns of Dover and Wilmington, The Wilmington Fund, Woodchuck Hard Cider, Honora Winery, People’s United Bank, the Richards Group, Paul Donohue, and Rich and Laurie Caplan pitched in funds to reach the $50,000.
Gilpin also credits the Hermitage Club, the Deerfield Valley Rotary, the Deerfield Valley News, WKVT-FM 92.7, the Dover movie theater, Ed Erhard and the Fat City team, Rutland Motorcars, Bobby Edwards, Memorial Hall, various valley inns and restaurants, and devoted local volunteers for donations of material and logistical support.
ITVFest passes start at $79 for access to all festival screening tents and music stages. Entrance passes to the red carpet awards gala are $159; VIP parties run $299.
According to Gilpin, in an effort to promote economic development beyond the television festival, Gilpin, Adam Grinold and the Mount Snow Valley Chamber of Commerce have teamed up to offer a discounted $60 dual pass, which allows access to both ITVFest and the Vermont Life Wine and Harvest festival, which occurs the weekend prior.