Photo by John Shea

October 18 – 27


“The Crandell Theatre in Chatham, N.Y., is the palatial setting for a thriving film festival.”
The Wall Street Journal

Two Decades of Award-Winning Films

FilmColumbia, Columbia County’s premier annual cultural event, screens the very best upcoming American and international films for ten days in late October.  Launched in 1999 as the Crandell Theatre’s “little local festival that could,” FilmColumbia is now an acclaimed, nationally recognized film event.

If a film screens at FilmColumbia, there’s more than a good chance that following its official release it will go on to be nominated for one of the industry’s top prizes. A look back at the festival’s award-winning programming year after year speaks for itself.

FilmColumbia’s special events are legendary. Among the most popular is the mystery “Saturday Sneak” preview film, which is only revealed to the audience moments before the screening. In recent years, the festival has also included special panels with filmmakers and industry leaders, a screenwriting workshop where participants can hear their work read by professional actors, and a children’s international festival of short films that is free to the community.

The festival is programmed every year by Peter Biskind and Laurence Kardish. Biskind is an author, film historian, contributing editor at Vanity Fair and Esquire, and past executive editor of Premiere magazine. His new book about the streaming revolution, Pandora’s Box: How Guts, Guile, and Greed Upended TV, will be published by HarperCollins in November 2023. Kardish is senior curator emeritus for film and media at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. Calliope Nicholas, the long-time director of the festival, is Co-Director and Manager of Residency Programs at Millay Arts, an international artist residency in Austerlitz, N.Y.

FilmColumbia was recently recognized by MovieMaker Magazine as one of the “25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World.” Said Tim Molloy, MovieMaker‘s editor-in-chief, “Obviously a lot of New Yorkers are now discovering the beautiful small communities just a short drive from New York City, and we think they’ll be delighted to learn more about FilmColumbia, a fest that blends a gorgeous location, local color (both people and leaves) and Oscar-caliber films, lovingly programmed by a revered team with exquisite taste.”

Peter Biskind, FilmColumbia Co-Executive Director and Co-Artistic Director

Laurence Kardish, FilmColumbia Co-Executive Director and Co-Artistic Director

Calliope Nicholas, FilmColumbia Festival Director

Listen to Biskind, Kardish, and Nicholas discuss highlights of a recent FilmColumbia lineup with Joe Donahue, host of The Roundtable on WAMC. (Recorded on October 12, 2022).

Listen to it here



Interested in advertising or sponsorship during FilmColumbia 2024?
Contact Dawn Steward at or (518) 392-3445.