The Music Hall in Portsmouth Takes The Reins of New Hampshire Film Festival

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Miles Woodworth photo

Nicole Gregg, Founding Director, NH Film Festival + Tina Sawtelle, Executive Director, Music Hall.

New Hampshire’s most successful independent film festival is joining the nonprofit Music Hall organization – positioning the festival for further growth 

Portsmouth, New Hampshire – As the New Hampshire Film Festival (NHFF) plans for its 22nd annual event, Founding Director Nicole Gregg announced that the NHFF will now be run by The Music Hall, the nonprofit organization that brings diverse performing arts and film programming to New Hampshire. Gregg says the current longtime festival team will remain in place but that she will step back as the festival’s Executive Director, with The Music Hall’s Executive Director, Tina Sawtelle, stepping in. Gregg will continue in an advisory capacity providing continuity and leading strategic partnerships for the festival.

She says the transition is already proving seamless; “NHFF joins an institution with resources including a full-time staff, professional leadership and New Hampshire’s most stunning performance venues. NHFF is better positioned for long-term success gaining instant experience and credibility. With The Music Hall’s industry connections and marketing reach, NHFF programming will achieve new heights and grow our audience.” 

The Music Hall Executive Director Tina Sawtelle says the move aligns with The Music Hall’s mission; “This is a perfect fit. Bringing independent filmmakers and filmgoers together for the four-day festival under the auspices of The Music Hall makes total sense. With our ticketing technology and other resources, we will build on the success of the New Hampshire Film Festival to attract even more producers, writers, directors, actors, and filmgoers to Portsmouth. We are excited to support the capable and experienced NHFF team to increase the festival’s impact on the regional and international independent film community.”  

The dates for this year’s festival are October 17-20, 2024. The Call For Entries for the 22nd Annual Film Festival is now open. Film and screenplay submissions can be made through the website at Longtime festival curators Dan Hannon and Ian McCarthy will continue their roles: Hannon with a focus on industry, workshops and panels, and McCarthy with film programming. 

The New Hampshire Film Festival is the longest running and most successful film festival in the granite state. It is ranked among the most prestigious in New England attracting an estimated 10,000 visitors to Portsmouth during its fall run. More than a hundred volunteers help put on the festival. For the last few years, the NHFF has been an Academy Award qualifying festival in multiple categories, allowing festival attendees to view Oscar winning films before they hit the film circuit. The festival attracts celebrities and well known actors, directors and producers to Portsmouth, taking part in panel discussions, viewing more than 100 independent films, competing for awards, and participating in industry social events. The public and film buffs can purchase passes for the entire festival or buy a day pass. The festival has one day dedicated to NH filmmaking – the other days are focused on international feature films, documentaries, short films, animated films, and more. The festival’s growth and professionalism has led MovieMaker Magazine to name it one of the top cinematic festivals in the country. 

About The Music Hall

The Music Hall is a nonprofit performing arts organization featuring curated entertainment from around the world in two theaters in its downtown Portsmouth, New Hampshire campus: The Historic Theater, a landmark 1878 Victorian theater, designated an American Treasure for the Arts by the National Park Service’s Save America’s Treasures Program; and the intimate Music Hall Lounge around the corner. 

For information on the Music Hall, visit 

Interviews available upon request.

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