The first-ever Beverly Film Festival kicks off tonight with an open reception at LPF Studio on Cabot Street, followed by a block of five short films at 8 p.m., and a documentary feature film at 10.
The festival, organized by Per Hanson, the owner of LPF Studio, and his employees, features 41 short and feature movies of varied genres from all over the world - local and student films included - over three days at the modest studio in the heart of downtown Beverly.
"I think the only genre we don't have is horror, but everything else is pretty much covered," Hanson said in a phone interview. "It's definitely an international mix of films - plenty of domestic films, obviously - but we got films from all over Europe and Asia, Russia, the Middle East. I'm not sure exactly how many countries are represented but we've certainly got an international mix of films that were submitted, and many of those are going to be screening."
Tonight's reception, which begins at 5 p.m., is free, and will feature refreshments and a D.J. prior to the first block of films. Ticket prices for films can be found on the Beverly Film Festival website here. Following the final film on Sunday night, awards will be handed out for Best Feature Film and Best Short Film during a ceremony at 9:30 p.m., with a $500 and $200 cash prize going to each filmmaker respectively.
The weekend schedule with a full list of films can be found here.
"Really we wanted it to be a fun event where people who are interested in films can get together and meet," Hanson said.
Space at the studio is limited - capacity in the theater area is only about 49 people - but Hanson indicated the possibility of moving it to a larger venue as early as next year if all goes well this weekend, as he hopes to turn the festival into an annual event.
"We're looking forward to it, it's going to be exciting," Hanson said. "Don't really know what to expect. We could be taken by surprise as far as people who are interested in it, but I mean we really have no expectations. We just sort of wanted to do it and hopefully the town and the local area will be as interested as the filmmakers."
Ryan Mooney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @mooney_ryan.