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Salem Film Fest

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Salem Film Fest 2014 a Resounding Success!

The 8th annual all-documentary Salem Film Fest will be held March 5 – March 12, 2015, in Salem, MA. Like in all previous years, filmmakers are expected to be present for over half of the screenings, providing audiences with a unique opportunity to learn more about the documentary film making process.

The 2014 festival was a resounding success, with a strong line-up of 37 films from 14 different countries. Twenty-nine of these made their World, North American, US, East Coast, New England or Massachusetts premiere – the most “first looks” ever in the festival’s seven year history – including the World premiere of KASHEER, directed by Salem filmmaker Elayne McCabe.

Some of the 2014 highlights included the New England premiere of A FRAGILE TRUST, which tells the shocking story of Jayson Blair, the most infamous serial plagiarist of our time, and how he unleashed the massive scandal that rocked The New York Times and the entire world of journalism, as well as the US premiere of ELEKTRO MOSKVA, an “electromagnetic fairytale” showcasing Russia’s electronic music history; the New England premieres of WEB, a thought-provoking film that explores the human and societal impact of global connectivity; POWERLESS, which examines the class battle over electricity in India; EVERYBODY STREET, about the lives and work of New York’s iconic street photographers; and the East Coast premiere of Sundance Grand Jury winner RICH HILL. 

All film screenings were preceded by Salem Film Fest  unofficial filmmaker-in-residence program, the wildly popular shorts Salem Sketches. Shot, edited and produced by festival organizers Joe Cultrera and Perry Hallinan and a mix of Salem Film Fest alumni filmmakers and filmmakers-in-residence, these short vignettes capture the heart and soul of Salem and bring to light some of the city’s hidden gems.   

An exciting addition to the 2014 festival was the presentation of The Michael Sullivan FRONTLINE Award for Journalism in a Documentary Film, a $1,000 cash prize that will be awarded annually to the filmmaker judged to have presented a tough, controversial story through engaging and fair minded investigative reportage. The award is in honor of the late Michael Sullivan, a guiding figure behind PBS’ FRONTLINE as well as a Salem Film Fest participant and supporter. FRONTLINE Executive Producer David Fanning will be on hand to present.

For more information about Salem Film Fest visit, follow Salem Film Fest on Facebook ( and Twitter (@_SalemFilmFest).

SFF 2014 Award Winners:

  • Salem Film Fest Audience Award: MAGICAL UNIVERSE – Jeremy Workman, Director/Producer/Cinematographer/Editor
  • Salem Film Fest Jury Award: CHIMERAS – Mika Matilla, Director/Cinematographer; Markku Niska, Producer;  Mikko Sippola, Editor
  • American Cinematographer Magazine Award for Cinematography: METAMORPHOSEN – Sebastian Mez, Cinematographer/Director/Producer
  • Salem Film Fest Editing Award: HERE WAS CUBA – Emer Reynolds, Editor/Director
  • The Michael Sullivan FRONTLINE Award for Journalism in a Documentary Film: THE EXHIBITION – Damon Vignale, Director/Producer/Editor;  Miho Yamamoto, Producer;  Daryl Bennett, Editor/Composer
  • The Alliance of Women Film Journalists (AWFJ) EDA Award for Best Female Director: A FRAGILE TRUST – Samantha Grant, Director/Producer
  • Mass Reality Check Best Short Award: DRY STONE – Graham Deneen, Director


Salem Film Fest was founded in 2008 by filmmaker Joe Cultrera (HAND OF GOD), local businessman Paul Van Ness (CinemaSalem, Van Ness Creative), Executive Director of the Salem Chamber of Commerce Rinus Oosthoek and others from the community. Run and operated entirely by volunteers, the week-long festival has become a community wide event with screenings at CinemaSalem, the Peabody Essex Museum and the National Park Service Salem Visitor Center with filmmaker parties and music events held at venues throughout downtown. Fueled by great films, dedicated volunteers and enthusiastic audiences, festival attendance has grown 15 to 25 percent each year. For more information about Salem Film Fest visit, follow Salem Film Fest on Facebook ( and Twitter (@_SalemFilmFest).



The “Salem Film Fest” must be referred to as “Salem Film Fest,” or “Salem Film Fest 2015.”  Please use the word “fest” instead of “festival,” they are not interchangeable.
This is especially important because “Salem Film Festival” is the branded, established festival in Salem, Oregon.  We have worked hard to distinguish our fest from their festival.  Your cooperation and careful attention to this detail will help us better brand our fest.  Thanks!
Examples of incorrect usage:  “the Salem Film Fest,”  “Salem Film Festival,” or “SalemFilmFest”

Unique Points of Interest:

  • Largest All-Documentary Festival in New England
  • Two-thirds of filmmakers to attend and engage in post-screening dialogue
  • Unique financial model in which rather than pay submission fees, filmmakers are paid a screening commission sponsored by a business, individual, or organization from the regional community
  • Founded and organized each year by an all-volunteer organization of passionate film lovers