Now in transition, city-based SENE Festival holding a fundraiser

Now in transition, city-based SENE Festival holding a fundraiser

From left are SENE founders Don Farias, Phil Capobres and Linda Dwyer.

PAWTUCKET – The Southeast New England Film, Music and Arts Festival, founded back in 2008 by Don Farias, Phil Capobres and Linda Dwyer, won’t hold its festival until next year, but a fundraiser planned this week will set the stage for that 12th event.

The SENE Festival has undergone a few changes over the years, Farias told The Breeze, and will be looking to use some of this money to add regular programming beyond the festival, including music and arts workshops for children. Additional offerings could also include Best of SENE events traveling around the area.

Farias, a Glocester resident and producing director and co-founder of the festival, said the new R.I. Spirits at 59 Blackstone Ave. has been hosting private fundraising events regularly, where the nonprofit gets a percentage of the revenue from every cocktail sold. A fundraiser to benefit the SENE Festival will be held this Thursday, Nov. 7, from 6 to 8:30 p.m.

The next SENE Festival won’t be held until next October, with this year’s festival held in the spring, leaving a wider gap than normal for planning and raising funds. The festival shows about 100 independent films each year, chosen from a larger selection of submissions.

Cathy Plourde, co-founder and distiller at the downtown Pawtucket-based distillery and tasting room, said SENE Festival has worked through a number of transitions but remains a well-loved organization, winning accolades internationally.

The SENE Festival is run entirely by volunteers, said Farias. Money raised goes toward theater rentals, trophies, and marketing, with the hope that future funds raised will go toward children’s or high school programming that runs for a few weeks at a time. Those involved with the organization want their programming to make filmmaking or drama fun for young people.

The board for the SENE Festival is undergoing significant change, with other members moving away or retiring. Co-founder Capobres, though he’s moved away, remains involved through reviewing movies online and other activities. The nonprofit is looking to add new people who want to be part of this rewarding effort, said Farias.

Southeast New England Film, Music and Arts is the nonprofit that hosts the annual SENE Film, Music & Arts Festival, one of about 7,000 or so film festivals in the world. SENE, which held its first festival in 2009 in Providence, has been recognized as one of the Top 50 Film Festivals worth the entry fee by MovieMaker magazine three years in a row. It is routinely recognized as one of the top 100 Best Reviewed Festivals by Film-Freeway, the top film submission platform in the world. This year, Jeff Daniels won SENE’s Best Actor and Best Screenplay awards.

In 2010, SENE co-founders worked with city employee Herb Weiss to bring the festival to Pawtucket, with films screened at the Blackstone Valley Visitor Center.

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