Lights, camera, action

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MANCHESTER — ITVFest is back starting Wednesday for its 13th annual festival and second in Manchester, and there are ways area residents can get involved.

The highlights include a summit between state officials and TV and film industry stakeholders, set for Thursday at the stART Space gallery on Depot Street; film screenings from Wednesday through Sunday; panel discussions Wednesday through Saturday; and a red carpet gala capping it all off at Maple Street School on Sunday.

The festival, born in Los Angeles, moved to Manchester from Dover in spring of 2017, and held its first festival here last October.

Area residents who want to attend have two options for attending screenings and panels at a discounted rate, or even for free:

- Volunteers receive free day passes for their assistance in putting on the event. They are needed for ticket checking, ushering, box office sales, event setup, hosting, and transportation.

Time slots are available between the hours of 8 a.m. and 9 p.m.

- A discount of 30 percent on passes is available for local residents. It can be applied when using the promotion code "VTLOCAL" at the online ticket checkout. See https://www.itvfest.com/tickets for details.

New wrinkles in this year's ITVFest include the sponsorship of the Television Academy — the folks who administer the Emmy Awards — and the establishment of a "marketplace" where creators and decision makers can schedule meetings to pitch potential shows.

That interaction and juried contests awarding the best comedies, dramas and reality programs are still the highlight of the festival, particularly since winners will receive development meetings with HBO, one of the festival's main sponsors. But an event scheduled for Thursday, the Vermont Film and Television Production Summit, has broadened the focus to politics and economic development.

The festival's executive director, Philip Gilpin Jr., as well as local supporters and some TV and film producers and stakeholders, have been lobbying Montpelier for incentives and industry specific career training to grow the industry in the Green Mountain State. Proponents say tax incentives and credits are needed to make Vermont competitive with neighboring states and Canadian provinces that offer such incentives. State officials, potentially including Gov. Phil Scott, are expected to attend the session.

Single-day and multi-day passes and tickets for the event's Sunday red carpet gala are on sale to the general public and available at https://www.itvfest.com/tickets or at Eventbrite. Passes allow the bearer to attend any screening or panel. A full schedule is available at https://www.itvfest.com/schedule.

- The festival's keynote "fireside chats" this year feature a pair of industry executives. On Friday. Oct. 12, Gary Pearl, the creator and executive producer of the cable romantic comedy "Jane The Virgin" will speak about the show and his experiences at 3:45 p.m. at stART Space (seating is limited).

- Saturday at 6 p.m., also at stART Space, Bruce Gersh, executive vice president and president of People, Entertainment Weekly, People en Espanol, and Four M Studios for Meridith Corp., will speak (seating is limited).

- Writer and filmmaker Billy Hanson ("Spider Season") and book and screenwriter Dave Wedge ("12: The Inside Story of Tom Brady's Fight for Redemption") will hold book signings at the Northshire Bookstore in conjunction with ITVFest. Hanson will appear on Friday at 4 p.m., while Wedge will speak on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

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