Editorial: Movie fest!

Films are an astounding art form. Not just words — storytelling, character, insight. Not just visual image — shape, color, movement. Not just sound — footsteps, birdsong, music. But all of them, the full repertoire of the human senses, in the hands of artists whose mission is to absorb your consciousness into another world of their creation.

The still-young art form will put its power and audacity on display this weekend as the second Ridgefield Independent Film Festival shows off the work of established and aspiring filmmakers.

There’ll be 55 films, from 19 different countries, playing in five locations around town — the Prospector, the Ridgefield Playhouse, the library, the Aldrich Museum, and Keeler Tavern — over three days, May 19-21.

The festival will include master classes by and for filmmakers: on storytelling, visual elements, voice-over acting.

And there’ll be the movies. The Buddy System is Wilton filmmaker Megan Smith-Harris’s documentary on the bond between children on the autism spectrum and the assistance dogs that help them. It’s at the Playhouse at 11 Saturday, and Smith-Harris and some of the film’s subjects will participate in a post-screening discussion. Shallow Waters, the Public Death of Raymond Zach, by Jaime Longhi, won best documentary at the 2016 New Hope Film Festival. It tells the story of a mentally ill man’s suicide by drowning within full view of onlookers and emergency workers at a beach on Memorial Day. Sunday’s showing at 12:35 at the library will be followed by a question-and-answer session with the filmmaker. What Children Do, a comedy about estranged sisters, shows Saturday night at 7 in the Playhouse. Director Dean Peterson will lead cast and crew members in a post-screening talk-back session.

And, yes, there’ll be “horror night” starting at 10 Friday at the Keeler Tavern, headlined by a zombie movie, Michael Imielsk’s Dead Sunrise.

Today’s Arts and Leisure section offers more, as does www.RIFF.website. The film festival, in its second year on the town’s culture calendar, offers a looks at the great stuff that non-Hollywood filmmakers are up to these days. Who’d want to miss it?