The Williamstown Film Festival was founded in 1998 to fill a cultural gap in a part of Massachusetts known for its world-class museums, theater, music, and dance – the Berkshires. Because film seemed the missing link in an artistically rich region, some two dozen local residents and graduates of Williams College felt strongly that a film festival could bridge the gap. After many meetings, the Williamstown Film Festival was incorporated as a non-profit organization and began planning. The goal was tripartite: (a) to honor America’s film past in the shape of classics, (b) celebrate the present day through panels, seminars, and q-and-a’s between audiences and the actors, writers, directors and producers of indie film, and (c) explore the new technologies which are carrying the art of film into the 21st century.
The Christopher and Dana Reeve Award was initiated in 2006 and is the only prize that WFF gives. Named for two longtime supporters of the Festival, it’s presented to each season’s top short as determined by audience vote. The winner receives an original signed artwork by internationally known artist, WFF Board Member, and Williamstown resident Stephen Hannock. The 2010 and 2012 Reeve winners, Luke Matheny’s God of Love and Shawn Christensen’s Curfew, both went on to capture Academy Awards.