ITVFest brings screenings to BBA


MANCHESTER — Burr and Burton Academy's performing arts and media departments are unique and far advanced for a typical high school.

That's why they're partnering with ITVFest for an upcoming screening of past festival winners.

The special series starts at 6:30 p.m. in the Riley Theater on March 24. It's free and open to the public.

The 12th annual Independent Television Festival will bring exceptional television writers, producers actors and more to southern Vermont in the fall, but organizers are starting to stir up excitement through events such as this one.

"You don't have to leave town to meet the most powerful people in TV and have the opportunity to have your show seen," Philip Gilpin, Jr. of ITVFest said. "Hollywood's TV pipeline now runs through Manchester, Vermont in a way that first sounds grandiose but it's real."

An upwards of 1,000 people are expected to attend the festival for a week in October. Formerly hosted in Dover, ITVFest is a worldwide community of television creators, executives, and fans that showcases television programs created on non-network budgets, according to a release. There are only three other alike television festivals in the U.S.

"To be able to have something like this in Manchester is great for the community but also great for the students," said Neil Freebern, BBA creative arts chair. "The ratio of students ready to go into cinematography to be able to have a bird's eye view of the business from having producers and actors coming to the community and negotiate deals — it's a pretty profound thing for the kids to see."

Freebern said through BBA's adjunct outreach program, the school is able to bring in professionals from the community to expose the students to real opportunities versus learning within the four walls of a classroom. He said it's all about establishing connections.

"What we have been doing is bringing specialists to work with students — cellist, professional opera singer, etc. and fundraise for it," Freebern said. "My philosophy is for integration with the community — bring professional artists into the classrooms, access to the people - learn from the people who are actually doing it. Education is changing rapidly."

ITVFest will be holding various screenings at Riley Theater during the week in October as well.

"It was a natural fit to have an outlet [for students to] experience the professional arts world on the television side," Gilpin said.

The March 24 screening will reveal a drama and a comedy — two pilots, Gilpin said.

The festival will also be involved with BBA's annual Gawlik Film Awards toward the end of the school year.

The ITVFest runs from Oct. 11 to 15 in various locations throughout Manchester. Learn more on

Reserve tickets for the BBA screening through

Reach staff writer Makayla-Courtney McGeeney at 802-490-6471 or @MC_McGeeney.


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