Filmmakers from across the region gathered at the GoggleWorks Center for the Arts Friday evening for the opening of the 2021 Reading FilmFEST. The 7th annual film festival runs the entire weekend in downtown Reading featuring impactful, inspiring and interesting films from Reading and beyond.
This year’s film festival will screen 80+ films, with many focusing on current, hot-topic social issues. “Our seventh season is all about embracing community and harnessing the power of film and other art forms to enrich our lives” said Cammie Harries, ReadingFilmFEST Executive Director.
“From opening day to closing night, we’ve intentionally entwined a mixture of art and culture. We’ve collaborated with dozens of non-profits and community partners to present an exceptional film festival and year-round programming that expands our impact in the community and reaches new audiences.”
During the opening ceremony, ReadingFilmFEST celebrated the life of Reading native, Emmy award winning actor, Michael Constantine. One of the original founders of ReadingFilm, he championed Reading as a film destination and shared his talents with local productions throughout his life.
Through an anonymous donor, organizers announced the film festival will receive $25,000 annually through a fund by the Berks County Community Foundation in honor of Constantine. The donation will be used to educate students and emerging filmmakers on how to develop and showcase their craft.
In addition to the films, the festival will feature an outdoor art exhibit in partnership with the Reading Arts Collective to showcase the area’s diverse arts culture. The exhibit, which features underrepresented artists, will be on display Saturday, October 2, from 12-5pm in the parking lot of the GoggleWorks Center for the Arts. Admission is free and features art pieces for sale, live demonstrations, a fashion show, music, dance and food trucks.
On Sunday, The City of Reading Presents a Special Closing Celebration. Reading FilmFEST special selection film, “Soy Cubana,” and closing night performances will pay tribute to the city’s rich Latin culture. Festivities begin at 3pm at the GoggleWorks Center for the Arts.
The film festival will close Sunday evening with an awards ceremony followed by a reception with a Latin twist featuring the Wanda Holdren Dance Academy, a salsa band, Pancho Bongo Y Su Orquesta and Latin cuisine by Mi Casa Su Casa.
A full list of films and show times is available at readingfilmfest.org. FYI, proof of vaccination is required to enter any indoor Reading FilmFEST events.