The 2021 Reading FilmFEST 4-day festival ended last Sunday with an awards ceremony honoring the best films of the festival followed by a Celebration of Reading’s Latin Community.
This year’s festival included a number of collaborations including a presentation of LunaFEST with the Reading Chapter of AAUW, a pop-up art show with Reading Artists Collective, events for filmmakers at Reading Film Studio, a script reading with Reading Theater Project, as well as more than 80 films screened at the GoggleWorks Boscov Theatre and R/C Reading Movies 11 & IMAX.
“The quality of films received this year was incredible. There was definitely something for every film lover across genres” stated Creative Director Tracy Schott.
During the awards ceremony, Reading Mayor Eddie Moran presented a proclamation honoring the festival. “The Reading FilmFEST has evolved and set the standard for the City’s thriving film industry with its dedicated category of locally – filmed productions Made in Reading; and the ReadingFilmFEST uplifts and supports aspiring filmmakers, actors, and movie enthusiasts by going beyond the festival weekend with year-round programming” said Moran.
“The ReadingFilmFEST also leaves a substantial impact on its attendees by featuring films that highlight social issues such as racism, gender identity, minority ethnicities, and women empowerment, among others, and the City of Reading and I take immense pride in the evolution, growth and national recognition the Reading FilmFEST have gained, becoming the most important one in our region.”
A few notable award winners included People’s Choice Best in Show – WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER, People’s Choice of Reading – THE STAKEOUT, Best Narrative Feature Film – SIMIN by Morteza Atash Zamzam, Best Documentary – INTO THE CANYON by Pete McBride, Best Documentary by a Female Filmmaker – THE VOW FROM HIROSHIMA by Susan Strickler, Social Impact Award – NO TIME TO WASTE: The Urgent Mission of Betty Reid Soskin by Carl Bidleman, Best Made in Reading Film – FOLLOW ME AND I WILL BE BEHIND YOU by Kyle Allison and Taryn Habel, Best Short Film – DUET by Mika Orr, and Best of StudentFEST –THE FINAL MASTERPIECE by Patrick Hanser.
Following the awards ceremony, the WH Dance Academy wowed the audience with incredible dancing followed by salsa music by Pancho Bongo Y Su Orquesta. The event was free to the public thanks to support from the Reading Musical Foundation and The City of Reading. “It was a true celebration that honored both our visiting filmmakers and the local community” remarked Reading FilmFEST Executive Director Cammie Harris.
Reading FilmFEST is supported by grants from the PA Department of Community and Economic Development, The Edwin Barbey Charitable Trust, Berks County Community Foundation, Berks Community Action Program, The Holleran Foundation, Berks Arts Council, The City of Reading, and the Reading Musical Foundation.
The festival organizers are already looking forward to 2022. “It’s not too early to learn how you can get involved in next year’s event! It takes an army of volunteers and the support of the community to make this happen!” said Harris. “A big thank you to everyone who came out this year!”