Q & A with the Creator behind the Saratoga Film Festival
Saturday September 17th Nightmare Code premiered at Bow Tie cinemas in downtown Saratoga Springs. This documentary was one of many that premiered throughout the day as part of The Saratoga International Film Festival. The film festival showed sixty-three films in downtown Saratoga and Skidmore’s Davis Auditorium throughout the day. The films were then followed by Q&A sessions with the filmmakers and talkbacks with the various casts and crews. It was in the Bow Tie Cinemas where I got to sit down and talk to one of the creators behind the film festival: Caitlin Stedman who runs her own production company and played a big part in bringing the film festival to Saratoga.
Q: How did this film festival come about?
A: In speaking with others in the industry it always seemed strange that Saratoga Springs did not have a comprehensive film festival of it's own. Eventually, we decided to at least look into the initial paperwork took the steps to begin a festival. We wanted to see if it was even possible. Once we discovered that it was and the steps to begin (registering the name, website and becoming a non-profit), we then began reaching out to contacts. Most of these contacts we knew from mutual parities. We had seen the others’ work and decided to cold-call/email them with our proposal and had a lot of excited responses. From there it just kept growing and everyone on the team took on something to push the festival forward.
Q: How do you choose which films go into the film festival?
A: Films were submitted on Withoutabox and Film Freeway. Our film review committee, comprised of area film professionals, viewed and critiqued each film. We narrowed down over 430 submissions to the 63 that were selected into the festival.
Q: In general, why do you think film festivals are important? And more specifically, why do you think a film festival in Saratoga is important?
A: My friends and I love film festivals and are filmmakers ourselves. We have attended area festivals as filmmakers and guests. The energy is always amazing and it's great to see stories from all over the world that you may never otherwise get to see. It's important for independent filmmakers to network and have their projects seen by wider audiences. It's also important to spark a dialogue and challenge movie goers to dig a little deeper by not only watching the film but participating in the festival screening process via Q&A sessions, surveys, panels or just by seeing films they otherwise would not. Festivals of any kind always create a boost to the local economy and draw in visitors from near and far.
Q: What is your experience in the film industry?
A: My experience in the film industry has been strictly on a non-union independent level. I am looking to expand my professional reach and portfolio in the very near future. Through my company Snarky Aardvark Films, LLC based in Glens Falls, NY I have written and directed many scripted and documentary shorts. I have also completed numerous commissioned projects for area businesses, non-profits and individuals. Our company was founded in October of 2012 so we are still fairly new. All of my work can be found on
Q: What advice would you give to students interested in pursuing a career in film?
A: My advice for a student going into the film world is to create opportunities instead of waiting for them to happen. If there is someone out there doing something you wish you could do, find out how they did it and go for it! Shoot short films with your friends, go to networking events, movies and live theatre, write essays about your favorite films just for yourself, think about what your favorite characters did after the film or in-between scenes. Never stop learning, growing and having fun!
Q: Do you predict that there will be future film festivals?
A: I am hoping that the region continues to grow as an entertainment destination. We are hoping to bring back our festival as a full weekend event to downtown Saratoga Springs next fall.