Local content creators bag meetings with executives during ITVFest

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MANCHESTER — From the perspective of young northshire residents, the town's inaugural Independent Television and Film Festival (ITVFest) provides a plethora of opportunities for not just individual creators like themselves, but the Manchester community as a whole.

While the festival brought over a thousand industry insiders from executives to content creators to Manchester, a number of locals also had the opportunity to network, socialize, and attend screenings alongside other events.

For 23 year old Carly Reilly, whose show "CitCom" airs on the local Greater Northshire Access Television (GNAT-TV,) the occasion provided valuable insight into the industry.

"It's been fun to have town bustling, especially with people that I'm so interested in talking to or networking with," said Reilly, who aspires to a career in media. "I'm looking to move to New York sometime in the new year, so it's cool to meet so many people who are in this field; many of whom are in New York."

Those networking opportunities were equally appreciated by filmmakers Spencer Fowler and Noah Kane, whose short film "Happy," was screened throughout the festival.

"Last night we went to a VIP event and we met this writer from New York who he gave us some super insightful advice, and shared so much knowledge with us," said Fowler, a senior at Burr and Burton Academy (BBA,) who is active in the school's cinematography program. "He told us about the industry and his struggle, and where he is now."

"The people coming here do not act like they're hot-shots," said Kane, a 2017 graduate of BBA and freshman at Emerson College. "They are willing to talk to you, teach you, give you advice, and work with you. I think that is something special about this event."

While Kane and Fowler are still working to coordinate a meeting with executives from HBO, awarded to them by ITVFest Director Phil Gilpin at BBA's 2017 Gawlik Awards, the young filmmakers are excited to see their work displayed at the festival.

"It's so interesting to compare our work to people who have been doing this for years," said Fowler. "To see their production value compared to ours, their acting skills, how they directed, and what their choices were behind their films; it was supremely interesting."

"It's weird to see our work on the same playing field as theirs," added Kane.

Reilly, on the other hand, had the opportunity to meet with Sal Tassone, the executive producer of Los Angeles-based Zen Master Films and a member of the newly formed Vermont Production Council.

"We sat down for about a half an hour, and he gave me some helpful feedback that was really on point," said Reilly. "It's just nice to pick the brain of someone who's been in the industry for 22 years and has a sense of how this all works."

"Really what I want to take away from this is learning how they got to be where they are, and learning where I can advance and how I can continue as I go further in my career," said Fowler on his upcoming meeting with executives. "I had no clue that this was going to bring so many passionate people to Manchester, it's incredible."

For these young Vermonters, the festival adds a compelling component to the Manchester community.

"What this is contributing to our local economy is awesome. I think this has the potential to be a really cool town; it's beautiful and it has this flow to it in certain regards," said Reilly. "I think what the festival brings here is great, and if we had more of a media infrastructure here I think that would be awesome."

"From a young person's perspective I think this is wonderful for Manchester; more stuff like this needs to happen," said Kane. "I know that Manchester's a great town, and having this kind of support for artistic communities like the film community can be really beneficial."

Reach Cherise Madigan at 802-490-6471.

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