PORTSMOUTH — One of the featured films at this year’s New Hampshire Film Festival stars Adam Sandler, who grew up in Manchester.
The famous comedian plays a diamond dealer with a gambling addiction in “Uncut Gems.”
The movie hits theaters nationwide on Christmas Day, but it impressed critics at the Telluride and Toronto film festivals earlier this year.
Nicole Gregg, executive director of the New Hampshire Film Festival, said during a kickoff party Thursday evening that of the 117 films to be shown at the Portsmouth festival from Oct. 17 to 20, 51 have ties to the Granite State.
Sandler’s film is the featured film on Friday night.
On Saturday night, the spotlight will shine on “The Lighthouse,” written and directed by Robert Eggers.
Eggers grew up in Lee and is known for his critically acclaimed feature “The Witch,” which was widely released in 2016 and grossed more than $40 million.
Gregg describes “The Lighthouse,” starring Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe, as a “psychological horror/thriller.”
“It’s the perfect film for October and for a fall film festival,” Gregg said.
Some of the films appearing at the festival have New Hampshire ties because they were filmed in the state.
“Love in Kilnerry,” directed by Daniel Keith and Snorri Sturluson, was filmed mainly in Portsmouth. The movie is about the elderly residents of a small town who panic when changes to their chemical plant cause an increase in their sex drives.
Filmmakers used special effects to make Portsmouth look like it is in Ireland by adding mountains in the background of some shots.
Steve Scott, senior vice president of The Provident Bank on Daniel Street in Portsmouth, took part in the movie during his spare time and said he portrayed the role of “Man in Jeep.”
“There’s a scene where the priest and the mayor are duking it out. They’re having a fight in the gym at the middle school. It’s actually the middle school from Rochester, but they run out of Portsmouth’s middle school. They wanted a car to come up so the mayor could try to get into the car,” Scott said. “I didn’t really have a line; I just had to scream.”
Bringing quality films to the Seacoast and getting local artists and citizens involved in movie-making is what the New Hampshire film festival is all about, according to Dan Hannon, who is one of the festival’s founders.
“We wanted to start it with the mission of bringing films from outside the area for people to see before they are in movie theaters, but also to hone the craft, support the arts, educate ... with the young filmmaker’s workshop, for example,” Hannon said.
“You can track it, that kids have gone on to study it and they are working in the industry now, and they make films and they submit them to us, and we play them,” Hannon said.
The New Hampshire Film Festival started in 2001 and attracts over 10,000 people every fall.
More information about this year’s event is available at www.nhfilmfestival.com.