SOMERVILLE, NJ - The inaugural Somerville Film Fest is the marquee event this weekend, featuring 48 films at seven venues throughout town, with Opening Night Friday, Oct. 4th, followed by parties and more screenings Oct. 5th and 6th.

In between films on Sunday, visitors might want to take a stroll down Main Street and visit hundreds of vendors who will set up on the street for the annual Fall Street Fair, selling specialty foods, beverages, crafts, textiles, clothing, jewelry and other items.

Main Street will be closed, with traffic detoured between Bridge Street and Doughty Street.

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Also on Sunday, St. John's Episcopal Church, 158 W. High St., invites pets and their owners to the 20th annual "Blessing of the Animals" at 3 p.m., with Rev. Canon Ron Pollock presiding. A reception will follow.

Ville Fest Inc. is committed to establishing an annual event platform dedicated to exposing the influence of storytelling through independent film and art, according to co-founder Steve Chiocchi, owner of Cheech's Own Coffee Company on Division Street.

“Our ultimate goal is to foster a permanent home for the arts community in Somerville and surrounding areas while contributing to the growth of our esteemed downtown with thousands of festival attendees every year,” he said.

Chiocchi has lined up a number of locations where there will be screenings, including United Reformed Church on Main Street; St. John's Lutheran Church; Verve Restaurant, Bar & Bistro; Project P.U.B. and Cheech's Own.

Chiocchi and partner Kyle Marino brought on Barbara Vasconez as director of Operations. She is a film graduate from New York’s School of Visual Arts who has been involved in various film festivals including Tribeca, Rooftop Films, Hamptons Film Festival and the Montclair Film Festival.

The Downtown Somerville Alliance is one of the sponsors of Ville Film Fest.

“We’re excited to help bring the film festival to Somerville,” said Natalie Pineiro, executive director. “It’s a big deal and should be a great event and we hope there will be room for growth. It certainly fits our plan to bring more art and culture to downtown Somerville."i

Chiocchi and Marino, who is a also a partner in the coffee business, held a red carpet gala to roll out the Film Fest in August at Village Brewing Company on Main Street. 

One- two- and three-day passes are available for the various film venues and parties. There will be an opening night party at Village Brewing Company, Friday, 10 p.m.-midnight, and a Saturday party at Project P.U.B. on North Bridge Street. Tickets can be purchased in advance. Visit villefest.org online for a schedule, tickets and further information.

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