When Village Pump Restaurant owner Jackie Finger co-founded the Kelleys Island Film Festival, she wasn’t sure what to expect. However, early on she realized the event was destined to become an island staple.
“I would say I knew it was special the second night of our first year when we showed ‘The Wizard of Oz,’” Finger said. “Just looking out into the crowd and seeing all the happy faces on families and children, it was great.”
The Kelleys Island Film Festival, which she co-founded with island cabin owner and Cleveland International Film Festival originator Alan Glazen, boasts a 40-foot inflatable screen and plenty of popcorn for “Madagascar” and “The Great and Powerful Oz” on Aug. 10 and “Skyfall” on Aug. 11 at the Kelleys Island Pavilion. Both nights begin around dusk.
“Every year we get to pick the movies and this year out of the choices we thought ‘Skyfall’ was perfect,” Finger said. “We always try to do one or two very child-friendly movies. So we encompassed both of those on Saturday night. And because ‘Skyfall’ is such a long movie, we actually had to run it alone. We couldn’t do a double feature. We have noise ordinances.”
The free event actually costs roughly $10,000 to host, with Finger stressing sponsorships are covering the expense. Any proceeds from the sale of food, beverages and souvenirs will be donated to The Audubon Society of Kelleys Island, Kelleys Island EMS and Kelleys Island Fire Department.
“This year since we’ve raised so much money, we’re going to buy a permanent projection system for our town hall so that movies can be shown indoors year round at any time for both the islanders and visitors,” Finger said.
Previously the Kelleys Island Film Festival was a three-day event but normally Mother Nature rains out one of the nights. Also, Finger said the Saturday and Sunday schedule makes more sense for families.
“The Kelleys Island Film Festival has grown from just a little small area in the pavilion at the ball diamond to now encompassing the whole ball diamond,” Finger said. “We have people who bring their lawn chairs and blankets, as well as 50 to 100 golf carts and probably 50 cars all enjoying the outdoor film festival at the same time.”
Finger estimates anywhere between 500 and 1,000 people enjoy the Kelleys Island Film Festival, which ends a week long of fun beginning with the Kelly Miller Circus (Aug. 5 and 6).
“It is a really fun-packed week here on Kelleys Island, and it has become one of our biggest revenue weeks bringing people here because of the circus and film fest,” Finger said. “People who have never experienced it are missing a great night underneath the stars with their family. It’s just like experiencing the old drive-in movie.”
For more information, visit www.kelleysisland.com/information/kelleys-island-film-festival