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Out & About: WRIF starts virtual theater, Eric McDonald performs for Library Arts Center series

  • Norwich film maker Nora Jacobson, right, director of photography Ben Silberfarb, left, and camera assistant Adam Maurer, middle, check the composition of a shot while filming plein air painters at Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site in Cornish, N.H., Monday, July 24, 2017. Jacobson is directing a 52 minute film about the history and people who made up the Cornish art colony. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to James M. Patterson

  • Eric McDonald will perform in the Library Arts Center’s Three Bridges Concert series beginning at 7 p.m. on Friday on Facebook Live. Courtesy photograph

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 5/13/2020 9:37:38 PM
Modified: 5/13/2020 9:37:29 PM

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — When the COVID-19 pandemic started to spread, White River Indie Films was getting ready for its annual film festival.

“It kind of hit us at our most fertile season and we kind of regrouped,” said Samantha Davidson Green, president of the board for the nonprofit organization.

In honor of Earth Day, the White River Junction-based group partnered with the Sierra Club Upper Valley Group for a screening of Earth, a documentary by filmmaker Nikolaus Geyrhalter. Viewers could pay $12 to watch the film on Vimeo through WRIF’s website prior to joining a panel discussion about climate change.

“I think it went well,” board member Lamar Moss said.

This week, WRIF is hosting a similar event. From now through Saturday, people can view Ken Loach’s drama Sorry We Missed You for $12 via the organization’s website. At 7 p.m. on Sunday, viewers can join a discussion about the film moderated by film critic Craig Sterritt. The discussion is free and participants must RSVP by emailing

“We just felt like the film is really topical,” Davidson Green said about Loach’s film, which centers on the gig economy.

WRIF has some experience with using video conferencing technology during events to bring in speakers after an in-person film screening.

“It’s still been new for us and exciting. Having a virtual screening experience is definitely new territory for WRIF,” Davidson Green said. “We’re always looking for the frontier of visual storytelling.”

On Tuesday at 7 p.m., viewers can discuss The Poetry and Life of Ruth Stone, a works-in-progress documentary by Norwich-based filmmaker Nora Jacobson. People can watch the film via prior to the discussion with Jacobson.

In a sense, virtual discussions share similarities with the discussions that an audience would have after viewing a film together.

“People sort of bring the culture of film festivals to the event,” Davidson Green said. “I think having that prior experience of festival culture is helpful to bring rules of social engagement in.”

It’s also helpful to have a producer who can handle the technology, such as gathering questions from the virtual audience to give to a moderator, who can in turn address the panelists.

“It does help to have someone at the beginning to have someone who is designated as the tech person/producer who can orient the audiences,” Moss said. “Making them feel comfortable, I think, is the biggest thing.”

More virtual screenings are in the works.

“I think what we’re going to be doing is ‘festival-ing’ throughout the year,” Davidoson Green said. “It’s busy, but it kind of feels purposeful. We want to remain relevant and meet people where they are.”

WRIF is also going forward with its Freedom and Unity Young Filmmakers Contest.

Here are some other virtual events to check out over the coming days.


Howe Library librarians will lead a program titled “What Are You Reading?” from 5:30-6:30 p.m. where people can discuss what books they’re reading and get ideas for what to read next. Email for a Zoom invite.

■Bradford, Vt.’s nonprofit co-working space The Space on Main will host its own “Silent Reading Party,” based on Seattle alt-weekly The Stranger’s Silent Reading Party. From 7-8 p.m., tune in virtually and read a book of your choice while musicians Don Sinclair and Jenn Grossi provide an acoustic soundtrack. Donations are welcome. Sign up at

■Brandon Taylor, author of Real Life, and Alexander Chee, author of How to Write an Autobiographical Novel, kick off Still North Books and Bar’s inaugural “Still Queer” reading program via Crowdcast from 7-8:30 p.m. Donations from the program will benefit the Dartmouth Student Emergency Relief Fund. Register at

■The Hopkins Center for the Arts Hop@Home program has two offerings on Thursday night. The first is a live chat from 8-8:30 p.m. on YouTube Live with Aisha Tyler, an award-winning director, actor, voiceover artist, comedian, author, podcaster, activist and Dartmouth alum. Fiddler Patrick Ross will perform on YouTube Live beginning at 9 p.m. For more information on both programs, visit


■From 11-11:30 a.m., join Montshire Museum of Science staff for an interactive, live program about cockroaches during a webinar appropriately titled “Creepy Crawly Cockroaches.” Sign up at to receive a Zoom link.

Patrick Ross continues his Hop@Home programs with a performance for children on YouTube Live from 1-1:30 p.m. Visit

■Avant-folksinger/songwriter-violinist Emma Back performs from 7-7:30 p.m. as part of Fairlee Community Arts’ concert series. Find the link at

■Musician Eric McDonald will perform in the Library Arts Center’s Three Bridges Concert series beginning at 7 p.m. on Facebook Live. Admission is by donation. Visit for more information.


■The Norwich Farmers Market takes place from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on Route 5.

Patrick Ross returns again to perform for children on YouTube Live from 11-11:30 a.m. through the Hop@Home program. Visit


■The Chandler Center for the Arts has pulled together a playlist of songs from musicians who have performed over the Randolph-based nonprofit organization’s 30 years. View it at

■The Vermont Historical Society has made its Green Mountain Chronicles radio series available online. The 52, five-minute clips were recorded from 1987-88 and tell the stories of Vermont in the 20th century. For more information, visit

Editor’s note: Please submit Upper Valley-based virtual events to the Valley Calendar at or Liz Sauchelli can be reached at or 603-727-3221.

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