Cape Gazette

Rehoboth film festival must go forward

By Rita Hanuschock and Sarah Friebert | Jun 26, 2014

The Rehoboth Beach International Film Festival will celebrate its 18th anniversary this November. It has continued to break its own records in numbers of attendees, members and ticket sales. Most people are very aware of the positive contribution it provides to the area through both far-reaching economic impact and rich educational opportunities.

Sue Early and her staff, on a very small budget, put an enormous amount of work into planning and producing a festival that has earned significant national recognition. Let’s not overlook the fact that much of the festival’s success can be attributed to its affiliation with the Movies at Midway Theater: for many, the two have become synonymous. The festival has brought business, recognition, admiration and respect to the theater; because of the festival, people, including us, have grown to love Movies at Midway, giving it business all year.

Our primary residence is Cleveland, Ohio; all year long, we look forward to making the 500-mile trip to attend Rehoboth’s Film Festival. We are grateful for the hard work of the staff of the festival and the theater, as the festival has been so valuable and rewarding to us. In fact, cultural enrichment opportunities such as the festival are one of the reasons we have bought a home and intend to retire here.

Like that of Rehoboth, Cleveland’s International Film Festival takes place in a privately-owned, multiplex theater, whose owner allows the festival to use all 11 screens for 12 days. The owner, a highly-respected Clevelander, is able to negotiate contracts with major film distributors to accommodate the festival. We wish the same could be done for the Movies at Midway in order to accommodate Rehoboth’s festival.

Meanwhile, we pray that the changes brought on by the separation spur a community-generated long-term solution that will ultimately bring the festival greater success and recognition. Along with other RBIFF members, we will continue to support the film society’s endeavors towards growth.

Rita Hanuschock and Sarah Friebert
Cleveland, Ohio

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