Film festival will be great for Milford

Hollywood East Digital Media Association, the company started by former Speaker of the House James Amann, is planning a film festival in Milford next year, and it sounds like a great way to boost the local economy and spur the arts.

The Hollywood East Film Festival Committee is led by Honorary Chairwoman Christy Romano, a television, film, music, and Broadway star who was born in Milford. She will host a golf tournament fund-raiser Monday, May 12, at the Oronoque Country Club in Stratford for the film festival.

There will be celebrities, including Romano and University of Connecticut’s all-time leading scorer Chris Smith, who played for the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves, along with raffles and prizes, according to promoters.

Tickets are $225 for an individual, which includes 18 holes of golf, cart, lunch and dinner, and $250 for an elite package including 50 raffle tickets. Sponsorship packages range from $125 to $15,000.

All the funds raised will support the first-ever Milford-based film festival, called the Hollywood East Film Festival, scheduled for Sept. 4-7, throughout the downtown.

The film festival is expected to stimulate the local downtown economy, and bring Hollywood producers, writers, and actors and actresses to the city to showcase their work.

Amann predicts this will be one of the best Milford events each year, ranking right up there with the sandcastle competition at Walnut Beach and the Milford Oyster Festival.

The idea for the film festival began more than a year ago when Amann met with members of the city’s Economic Development Commission to devise ways to promote Milford and the region on a larger scale.

Amann said Romano, 29, who still has strong ties to Milford, was excited to get involved and take an active role in the film festival. Romano, the Disney star of Even Stevens and the voice of Kim Possible, filmed her new movie, Prism, in New Haven last month.

The film festival will feature offerings from high school and college students along with professional filmmakers. So far, other details about submissions have not been released.

There will be workshops teaching members of the public how to invest in movies, and celebrities will be present to answer questions and greet the public.

Movies will be showcased on the Green, at Fowler Field, and at the Parsons Government Center.

Amann helped bring numerous movies to Connecticut when he was speaker by offering tax credits. He said that in 2006 the economy was bad, and he saw that Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New York were attracting movie studios to their states.

In 2005 Connecticut generated $500,000 in revenue from movies, and after the General Assembly adopted tax credits in 2006, the state has received more than $1 billion in revenue and 15,000 jobs since 2007, according to an event press release.

More than 128 movies have been filmed in the state, and nine television series are now taped in Connecticut.

Anyone interested in more information, tickets, or sponsorship information for the golf tournament may call Amann at 203-521-1101.

We eagerly await more details about the film festival and its arrival here in Milford.