On Tuesday September 21 we decided to expand our social distancing plan for the festival so that it will now apply to the entire theater, severely restricting our capacity from 275 seats to approximately 100. Obviously, the financial impact of this decision is acute; the festival is now operating at a significant loss. Everyone involved in the festival is volunteering their time because we still want to provide a venue for local and independent filmmakers. No one at The Berkeley Springs Film Festival will receive any compensation.
The past 2 years have been rough on everyone, no less so artists. Many lives were put on hold and people are yearning to return to some form of normalcy for the sake of their mental health, finances, and dreams. Film festivals help filmmakers by providing a venue for their films to be show on the big screen. One young filmmaker that lives in the area said it is a dream-come-true to see his short film shown on the big screen at the Historic Star Theater that he so often frequents. We also are supporting accepted filmmakers by providing a free lunch and seminar (socially distanced) with a presentation and Q&A from a published author about marketing and distribution in a rapidly changing environment (theater vs. streaming vs. self distribution) that is shaking up the entire motion picture industry. And we are presenting awards that filmmakers can use for promotion, as well as opportunities to network.
No matter what stance we take with regard to COVID, we may upset some people. From the beginning our policy has been to follow any restrictions from government agencies and officials. Therefore, as long as restaurants, bars, hotels and theaters are operating we plan to hold our festival and support independent film arts. In that spirit we hope you will support the filmmakers as well, and join us on Oct 2 and 3.
Please see the diagram below. The left and right sides of the theater will be marked off for socially distancing of groups of 3 people or less. The seats in green are available for use, and the seats in red are blocked off to create 14 socially distanced pods of up to 3 persons each.
The seats in the center, currently marked in all green, are available for any number of people that are living/traveling together, to be able to sit together. To allow maximum flexibility, we have not marked off these seats. When you take your seat, please socially distance from other groups. There will be plenty of vacant seats to be able to do this.
Please do not come to the theater if you are not feeling well.
We will not be taking temperatures.
We will not be checking vaccination cards.
We will not be mandating masks. The CDC recommends masks when you can't socially distance, so we recommend wearing a mask through the small lobby until you reach your seat.
These rules are subject to change if ordered by government authorities.
Seats cannot be reserved. If you want a particular seat, please arrive early and wait in line until the doors open. If you don't like the seating available when you arrive at the theater, there will be an Intermission at lunchtime while the theater is being cleaned, and you may arrive early after lunch to get the seat you want. Please see the Program Guide for show times and when the doors open for seating.
We hope you have a safe and enjoyable weekend at the Berkeley Springs Film Festival!