February is typically rather bleak, and this year – once again – even Punxsutawney Phil can’t hack it. We don’t blame him. We’d be headed back to the burrow too, if not for a concerted effort up and down the Valley this year to make the coldest winter days feel a bit more warm and communal. Case in point: the new Fabulous February Fringe Festival, a Shelburne Falls event that seeks to promote films written or directed by women (the screening is sponsored by the Turners Falls-based Hermes Strategic Communications and by Women in Film and Video: New England, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting the accomplishments of women working in the film, video and new media industries).
This year’s theme is “love,” and over 900 filmmakers submitted works that run 20 minutes or less. The family-friendly screening of selected films (with free popcorn) will coincide with the village’s monthly Second Saturday celebration, which means attendees can shop, play, and eat around town in addition to meeting the filmmakers for a behind-the-scenes look at their craft. Also: don’t miss the second year of H.A.T.C.H. (the Shelburne Falls community art launch party) and the Shad Ladder Radio Hour, a new monthly variety-style radio program and podcast featuring stories and talent from Western Mass.
Fabulous February Fringe Festival: Saturday, Feb. 11. Festival from 2-5 p.m. for $10; H.A.T.C.H. from 5-7 p.m. for $5 (cash bar); Shad Ladder Radio Hour 7:30-8:30 p.m. for $12; come to everything for $20 (children under 12 pay their age). Shelburne-Buckland Community Center, 53 Main St., Shelburne Falls. (413) 625-2526, shelburnefalls.com.
— Hunter Styles, email@example.com