Six years ago, Frank and Patrice Galterio harbored a dream that one day the Litchfield Hills would be home to a film center.

The Kent couple took a giant step toward realizing that dream last weekend with the debut of the Litchfield Hills Film Festival in downtown New Miford.

The past five springtimes witnessed a growing presence for the Galterios' original concept, the Kent Film Festival, in their hometown.

This year, with a change of venue and name, the burgeoning film fest offered more screenings than ever courtesy of the Bank Street Theater and other sites in the historic New Milford village center.

"As always, we challenged ourselves to make the festival even more exciting, diverse and appealing than the previous year," the Galterios said in their festival brochure.

"We are pleased, that the festival provides a tremendous economic boost to New Milford and the surrounding area, in addition to enhancing Litchfield County as a cultural destination,"they added."

The four-day event opened April 7 and closed Sunday with Gov. Dannel Malloy and his wife, Cathy Malloy, among its guests on the final day.

In all, the event featured 125 films, including 22 documentary films, which have been a staple of the festival since its inception six years ago, and films from 14 countries. At least 53 filmmakers were in attendance.

Highlighting the festival was last Saturday's reception and awards ceremony, recognizing "the development and education of artists with a creative vision."

Among the awards:

Lynn Redgrave Award: "Fake."

Feature, feel good: "Rocksteady."

Feature, cinematography: "Dandelion Man."

Feature, screenwriting: "The Fiction."

Feature, foreign: "Der Sandmann."

Albert Award, documentary: "Genocide Revisited."

Documentary short: "Harlequin's Entree Into Venice."

Documentary, cinematography: "John Muir In The New World."

Betsy Award, short: "The Tailor."

Short soundtrack: "Room Enough."

Short, foreign: "Ela Veio Me Ver."

Young filmmaker: "April's Heart."

Student: "Madness Of War."

Animation: "Kidnap."

Experimental: "Wild Turkey."

Director's choice, short: "Breaking Out."

Director's choice, documentary: "Reflections Of The Past."

Extraordinary achievement in documentary filmmaking: Gary Null.

For more information, visit or the festival's Facebook page and Twitter account.

To become a sponsor or make a tax-deductible donation, visit the website, the main office at 26 Bank St. in New Milford, or mail a donation to P.O. Box 846, Kent, CT 06757.

-- Norm Cummings