11:30 p.m.: Wow. What a day (and night). Juston McKinney was great kicking off the evening program. Not only did he work in Red Sox drinking in the clubhouse and Michele Bachmann jokes, but he also worked in some local humor, with wise cracks about the Memorial Bridge and the Route 1 Bypass. He was so good that I was afraid the films that came after him would pale in comparison.
I was wrong.
The New Hampshire Night program was fantastic. The early session started off slow, although I really enjoyed "Starsucker," featuring a surprisingly touching turn by Tom Arnold (yes, that Tom Arnold). But the other three films, "Come on Down and Pick Me Up," "Anywhere But Here," and "Back" were less impressive, in my opinion.
The final session of the evening featured some real gems. As a longtime Seacoast resident, I particularly enjoyed "In Danger of Being Discovered," about the booming music scene in Portsmouth and the surrounding towns in the '90s. Many of those musicians are still playing regularly in this area, and it was fun to look back on some of the bands from my younger days.
Then there was "Dirty Night Clowns," a cool little short featuring some funky marionettes, set to great music. I also really liked "Good Men," which featured Ed Asner, and "Thule," about a group of young men stationed at a remote Air Force base in Greenland. It was a fantastic finish to a great day of film.
Check back first thing tomorrow morning for a full list of winners of the New Hampshire Night Awards.
6:55 p.m.: The New Hampshire Night opening ceremonies are about to get underway, with comedian and Portsmouth native Juston McKinney serving as the host. Then there are about nine shorter films, followed by the New Hampshire Night awards to close out the day at 10.
6:45 p.m.: Just finished watching "Superheroes," by Concord's Mike Barnett. It's a fantastic, funny documentary with heart about the growing Real Life Super Hero (RLSH, for short) movement in America. It spotlighted real costumed crime fighters in cities like Brooklyn, Orlando and San Diego (sorry, none in Portsmouth yet). There's Mr. Xtreme, who moves out of his mother's house ("The Xtreme Cave") to fight crime. And the Busch beer guzzling Master Legend. And of course, the husband-wife duo of Zetaman and Apocalypse Meow.
Barnett definitely poked fun at the mostly-delusional wannabe superheroes, but he also showed that there are some people left out there who still care about what happens to the less fortunate. That, and they also like dressing up in cool costumes.
This is what I love about film festivals, and the NH Film Festival in particular. Sure, I loved "Moneyball," and I've seen some other good movies this year. But "Superheroes" may be the funniest one I've seen, and if it weren't for this event, I probably would have missed it.
If you're interested in seeing it, it's going to be showing again on Saturday at 11. Check it out.
2 p.m.: I was able to check out the morning session, with the two High School Short Film finalists, and a documentary about painters and authors who have chronicled the White Mountains over the years.
I really enjoyed the two high school entries. "Etz Chayim: Tree of Life," was a short, silent film about a young girl suffering from depression after her sister's death, and how nature helps heal her wounds. I found "Cravings" even more interesting. It told the tale of a young woman suffering from bulimia and how she is haunted by the need to be eating constantly, even seeing images of people wearing pig masks. Again, this was silent, except for a bit of music, and quite haunting.
"Brush and Pen" was interesting, but not really my cup of tea. It was a historical look at the many people who have written about and painted the White Mountains, but it was slow moving, with many readings from written works.
10 a.m.: That's right, the New Hampshire Film Festival begins in less than an hour. Today is New Hampshire Day and Night, meaning all of the films being screened either were made by a resident, or have someone in it who is from the state.
I attended New Hampshire Day last year, and saw some truly fantastic films, and I'm looking forward to covering today's events as well.
Everything kicks off at 10:45 at The Music Hall, with the High School Short Film finalists "Etz Chayim: Tree of Life," and "Cravings," followed by "Brush and Pen," about the 19th century painters and authors who visited New Hampshire's White Mountains
I'm especially looking forward to seeing "Superheroes" at 5:15 p.m., about some of our nation's real life superheroes. The film is directed by Mike Barnett of Concord. The best of the New Hampshire movies will also be honored tonight at 10 at the New Hampshire Night Awards.
Check back throughout the day today and all weekend for more updates on the New Hampshire Film Festival. You can also follow me on Twitter @NHPatch for up-to-the-minute information.