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Wiederspahn honored at NH film festival

Aaron Wiederspahn, program director of the Monadnock International Film Festival and owner of either/or films, and Laina Barakat, MONiff executive director and producer at either/or films received honors with the feature film, “Only Daughter,” shot entirely in New Hampshire over 10 days in 25 locations and with a $20,000 budget.

At the N.H. Film Festival held in Portsmouth on Oct. 17, Wiederspahn won N.H. Filmmaker of the Year and Best N.H. Film, and Morganna Ekkens of Keene won Best N.H. Film Performance.

At the Orlando (Fla.) International Film Festival on Oct. 20, “Only Daughter” was one of 220 films screened taking two awards.

Wiederspahn won for Best Screenplay and Emily Seymour, originally from Keene and now attending Atlantic Acting School in New York City, won for Best Performance. Wiederspahn also was nominated for Best Supporting Performance and Best Director, as well as Best Picture for “Only Daughter.”

Both Barakat and Wiederspahn were instrumental in creating the inaugural 2013 Monadnock International Film Festival, where more than 1,500 people attended the three-day film festival that included 14 films and brought almost $130,000 to the city in direct and attendee spending.

In their roles as executive director and program director respectively, they are at the helm of creating the year two festival, to be held in Keene April 10 to 12, 2014.

MONiff is unique in that both audience and guest artists are able to interact with one another. In an effort to make the film festival a regional endeavor, activities will expand to Peterborough next year with a festival weekend on April 4-5, including an educational component at ConVal High School.

Beginning Oct. 29, Wiederspahn will work with 22 students over 18 weeks to teach the art of screenwriting. Selected scripts will be read as part of the Peterborough festival weekend. Events also are being planned for Jaffrey in conjunction with the restoration efforts of the Park Theatre, to be held prior to festival weekend in Keene.

MONiff will once again feature the Jonathan Daniels award, presented in 2013 to filmmaker Ken Burns of Florentine Films for the documentary, “Central Park Five.” The award is a unique addition to the event, recognizing socially conscious filmmakers of great artistic merit whose work echoes Daniels’ courage, purpose and spirit by using film in a powerful, transformative way. Artists will be invited to submit proposals for the 2014 award design.

The Monadnock International Film Festival is a non-profit organization, started in June 2011, whose mission is to bring world-class film and filmmakers to the Monadnock region.

For more information, contact Laina Barakat at 757-3929 or monadnockiff@gmail.com or visit www.moniff.org.

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