To most people around here May brings to mind daffodils, sunshine, and the promise of summer. To the students of the IMS film elective it also means film festival! i.e.; the opportunity to showcase to the entire IMS community (including parents and friends) the myriad of movies that they write, direct and produce in class over the course of the school year. Last May was, in fact, the fourth annual IndiMountain Film Festival and by all accounts was as successful and well received as its predecessors. Chocked full with documentaries, spoofs, music videos and dramatic shorts, there was also the much anticipated “guest speaker,” a celebrity from the industry who not only has an impressive list of credits and accomplishments to his or her name but also has some connection to either our local area or to Indian Mountain School itself. Always a highlight of the evening, past guests have included John Avildsen, Jim Becket, Natasha Richardson, Mamie Gummer, Campbell Scott, and most recently for the fourth annual, the spirited Kristen Johnston, who has a home in a nearby town and was kind enough to accept our invitation.


Kristen Johnston is probably best known as the husky-voiced, no-nonsense Lt. Sally Solomon on the hit NBC fantasy sitcom 3rd Rock from the Sun (1996-2001) — a role she played, opposite heavyweights John Lithgow and Jane Curtin, for the entire six-year run of the series. Kristen parlayed her success from that show into several hit movies, including Austin Powers’ The Spy Who Shagged Me, Music and Lyrics, and Bride Wars. Subsequently, she has become ever-present as a character player in the supporting casts of numerous successful Hollywood feature films and popular television shows.


After briefly talking to the audience about her career and showing a few favorite clips from her reel, Kristen bravely allowed Mark Devey to open up the floor to a Q&A session. Parents and students alike were then treated to Kristen’s unique brand of honesty and bold sense of humor as she answered questions and reenacted lines from an Austin Powers movie. Her visit was a big success and upon leaving she promised to come back and conduct an acting workshop for the film and drama elective students of the following year. “We hope to take her up on that offer,” says film teacher Tory Jadow, who oversees the Film Festival every year.


While the films for this year’s film festival are currently in production and a long way off from being completed, the film department is already making plans to secure next year’s guest, whose identity will be announced when he or she is confirmed. If you are going to be in the area, mark your calendars (May 26, 2011) so you don’t miss what will surely be, once again, a creative and inspiring event, the fifth annual IndiMountain Film Festival.