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Beyond The Reel: The Philadelphia Film Society

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PFS LogoOpening credits fill you with hope and anticipation as the larger than life screen reveals the early moments of a story that captivates and excites your senses. The Philadelphia Film Society encourages such passionate sentiments, as it is “dedicated to the presentation of film and video in the Greater Philadelphia area as a powerful form of artistic expression and a unique force for cultural diversity and international understanding.” Formed in 2001, The Philadelphia Film Society has been cultivating the local film scene by offering programs that honor the past (via screenings of classics), while also celebrating innovation with a festival that supports cutting-edge independent creations.

As the warm summer air is shifting into a crisp fall breeze, the PFS staff is also embracing change by moving their film festival from the spring to this October (15th-18th). This year’s festival, 18 ½ Philadelphia Film Festival, will feature approximately 40 world-class films that have been hand selected by PFS Staff from several festivals (Cannes, Toronto, Venice, etc). This 4-day film extravaganza will be programmed “under the expertise of new Artistic Director Harlan Jacobson,” a renowned film critic and co-founder of Talk Cinema.

While their annual festival embraces novelty and a forward thinking approach to film, The Philadelphia Film Society also believes in taking a step back in time with their Filmadelphia Classics series. The timeless masterpieces have varied in both era (1940’s-1990’s) and genre, and have included A Few Good Men, Double Indemnity, Pulp Fiction, Chinatown, etc. Given that trips down memory lane tend to conjure stories and thoughts, each Filmadelphia Classics screening is followed by a moderated discussion that is lead by a film critic or historian. And considering that thoughtful dialogue sparks endless conversations, PFS reserves a section at a local brewery, Triumph, where film lovers can interact, imbibe and inspire new perspectives of classic films. Catch the next classic screening on September 16th, featuring Sunset Boulevard, and indulge your love of nostalgia with scenes of Hollywood in the 40’s.

Beyond rejoicing in the past, The PFS celebrates contemporary creativity with their monthly Filmadelphia Independent screenings that “promote the spirit of independent film by bringing seldom seen features to an eager audience.” This series truly brings these fresh films to life, as members of the cast, crew, directors or writers attend the screenings. In an effort to add a local element to this series, the PFS has recently reached out to students and independent filmmakers in the Philadelphia area, requesting that they submit their short films to be considered for upcoming screenings. The mission behind this request is “to unite current film-lovers and ignite new interest in Philadelphia. A step toward reaching that goal is exposing Philadelphia to the work of local up-and-coming talent.”

Jared Miller, PFS Membership Coordinator, notes that, “Philadelphia is on the verge of becoming a major participant in the international art community; with film being one of the most accessible of all art forms, we're just excited to do our part for our city's reputation.” The Philadelphia Film Society truly deserves a standing ovation for their efforts to foster film appreciation while encouraging local creative expression. Bravo!

For more information about The Philadelphia Film Society visit their website, blog or take a peek at their twitter page.