Greenbelt’s very own, very special Utopia Film Festival happened last weekend and was, by all accounts, a big success! A project of Greenbelt Access Television, the festival started in 2005 and shows a wide variety of films (features, documentaries, and shorts) from independent filmmakers from the DC area and beyond. With the mission of “Seeking a better world through film,” the festival showed 36 films this year, at the New Deal Cafe, Greenbelt Cinema and Greenbelt’s Municipal Building.
The festival kicked off with an opening reception at Greenbelt Council Chambers for filmmakers and festival-makers, with Peter Teuben as the official photographer. (Unless otherwise noted, photos here are his.)
Above, the filmmakers who traveled to Greenbelt for the festival. From left to right they are Jonathan Alexander (“Namesake”); Diane Powell (“Intersectionality”); Renee L. Green (“The Coal Woman”); Diane Steimel (“Shantyboat – Rediscovering a River Way of Life”); Kate Wood (“The Hoof Trimmer”); Giselle Muse (“Birds of the Air”);’ Nikki Hevesy (“A Year to Life”); and Brandi and Al Mertens (“Thank You, Amelia Earheart”). The creators of “Thank You, Amelia Earheart” traveled from Oklahoma and others may have come even farther for the event.
Left to right: Greenbelt Access TV board members Jennifer Dudley, Alan Haley, executive director Sheila Tilert, president Frank Gervasi, with Greenbelt City Manager Josue Salmeron. (Festival manager and program designer Deborah Hartwick missed the group photo due to illness.)
Filmmakers were introduced and asked to describe their films.
Greenbelt News Review managing editor Anna Bedford-Dillow filmed Diane Steimel addressing the crowd. Photo by Danielle Towers (a George Washington University student doing her photojournalism thesis on Greenbelt).
Clockwise from upper left: Barry and Becky Holober serving, Mayor Emmett Jordan welcoming attendees, Nancy Tillotson and Patti Stack serving, and Festival Director Chris Haley
Above, after a screening at the New Deal Cafe, Diane Steimel answered audience questions about her film.