hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

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May 22, 2014

Film festival another welcome boost for downtown

The bustling downtown continues to boost the economy, but it’s good to see new twists to keep the heart of Haverhill pumping.

A tattoo parlor has opened. So has a boxing club.

An art gallery where participants can sip wine while taking painting lessons has also settled in.

The downtown even has a new gay-lesbian bar, which recently opened above the popular Chit Chat lounge.

The center of the city has regular festivals such as the Christmas Stroll to draw people and offer something a bit different, perhaps offbeat.

All these things are good because a restaurant row with popular eateries and lounges is not enough.

The area needs variety, new forms of entertainment — and that’s just what is coming this month.

The only experimental film festival in New England will set up in downtown Haverhill May 29 to June 1. (See story, Page 1.)

This is the second consecutive year the festival has been in Haverhill, and it’s all thanks to 25-year-old twin brothers Brendan and Jeremy Smyth of Bradford.

It’s been said in recent years that things like the popular restaurant row and Haverhill’s use of the Merrimack River have put the downtown on the map. The film festival accomplishes that in another way, drawing both Haverhill residents and outsiders to see and discuss the films that are shown.

And it’s nice to see locals involved, from the Smyth twins to one of this year’s exhibitors, Michael Bucuzzo. He is a recent college graduate who jumped right into the film-making business, pursuing his dream in New York City. At the festival, he will show a film titled “Eudora’’ — the name of the street in Haverhill where he grew up. It explores his family home through the eyes of his grandfather’s spirit.

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