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Individual screenings beginning to sell out at Ely Film Festival

by Parker Loew

Several individual screenings at this year’s film festival have already sold out with more soon to follow, according to festival director Jacob White.

White and festival organizers encourage people to buy tickets now and secure their seats at preferred screenings before more inevitably sell out.

“We kind of push ‘Go buy tickets now!’ so people can pick what they want to attend,” said White. “Many screenings will sell out this year, and some people may be upset when they don’t get tickets to the screenings they want.”

White says they are off to a good start this year with ticket sales and have sold around 125 festival passes.

“We are right on track with where we were last year for attendance. It might even be a bigger turnout,” he said. “We’re hoping that everyone will turn up and the weather holds out for people traveling from other places.”

Festival passes are currently available on the Ely Film Festival website for $95 and include passholders breakfasts, after parties, panels and workshops and a discount on t-shirts. Individual screenings start at $10.

Ticket sales support the entire festival, from the theaters showing the films to the team putting the festival together and making it work.

The festival will include 15 feature films, 11 blocks of short films and a few auxiliary events that celebrate independent filmmakers, many of whom created films with locally relevant themes.

This year will have a mix of adventure/nature-themed films, indigenous films, regional films, films about human nature, and some different genre films such as western, thriller, and slasher films.

White explained how people can make the festival into whatever they want it to be and can go to as many, or as few screenings as they want to.

“It’s a choose-your-own-adventure type event,” said White. “Some people want to see as many movies as possible and others just pick one or two a day.”

Festival pass holders will have the option of going to any screening they want, but must still select the screenings they want to attend on the website to reserve a seat.

“When you log in, it unlocks that free ticket option on the State Theater website, and you can choose which screenings you want to attend,” said White.

For individuals who are not as tech-savvy, festival passes and tickets for individual screenings are also available at the State Theater.

White explained how last year some people voiced concerns over how many movies there were and how they didn’t know how to pick and choose what to attend.

To fix this issue, White and the festival directors have created a festival guide explaining what people should expect from each screening.

“The guide gives the moviegoer all the information they need to make an educated guess on which movies they may want to go to,” said White. “The guide says, ‘If you’re more interested in these types of stories, see these films. If you want to meet the filmmakers, do this one. If you want to be exposed to new things and new ideas, do this one.’”

The guide will be released on the Ely Film Festival website in the next few days.

White also encourages people who buy tickets to screenings to show up 20 minutes early to beat the crowds.

“When the staff print out your tickets for the whole day, then you can skip the lines throughout the rest of the day, but you do have to check in and have the theater staff print your tickets.” said White.

The festival is currently looking for volunteers to help with festival operations such as receptions, facilities, merchandise sales, festival pass distribution, passholder breakfast support and off-site event support.

Most shifts will be around three hours long.

All volunteers will be asked to attend an in-person training program on Wednesday, Feb. 7 at 5:30 p.m. at the State Theater.

If you or someone you know is interested in volunteering, visit and click “Support” and then “Volunteer.”

White and festival organizers want to thank everyone who volunteered for the homestay host program, which houses filmmakers at the festival with a host in town.

The festival called for volunteers a few weeks ago for their homestay host program and received an overwhelming response.

“All our housing needs have been met. We can’t thank everyone who volunteered enough for their support,” said White.

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