Over 800 film lovers braved the frigid cold to greet leading actor and North Country alumnus, Viggo Mortensen, at the third annual Snowtown Film Festival, held this evening at the Dulles State Office Building in downtown Watertown, NY. Mr. Mortensen was on hand to present his 2016 feature film, CAPTAIN FANTASTIC, and take questions from the hometown crowd.
Event organizers took the occasion to honor Mr. Mortensen with a North Country Inspiration to Artists Award for his dedication to the North Country, his contribution to film and his inspiration to fellow artists. Mr. Mortensen, renowned for his love of crows, was presented with “Rascal,” a crow sculpture created by Omar, NY artist, William L. Salisbury. The sculpture was commissioned by Snowtown Film Festival for the occasion.
Mr. Mortensen has been celebrated with numerous accolades and nominations for his role in CAPTAIN FANTASTIC including for two Screen Actors Guild Awards for “Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role” and “Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture,” and was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for “Performance by an actor in a motion picture – Drama.” He also received a nomination for a Critics Choice Award, Spirit Award for Lead Actor, and CAPTAIN FANTASTIC was named by the National Board of Review as one of the 'Top 10 Independent Films' of the year.
William L. Salisbury began sculpting in the 1960s, having traveled to Florence, Italy and attended Henry Moore’s lifetime retrospective while there. He has served as a bronze finisher in the foundry at “Montoya Art Studios” in West Palm Beach, FL and was also the shop foreman for “Nile Design” in Palm Beach, FL. He is fluent in many sculptural mediums including clay, ceramics, stone, steel, resins and epoxies. He opened his current studio in Omar, NY in 1991 and has shown many works in NYC Galleries in SoHo, NY. He has gained regional fame for his creation of the “3 Crows” sculptures on Interstate-81.
In addition to the “3 Crows” and “Rascal”, many of Mr. Salisbury’s works have been collected by the “Elizabeth Collection” in Rochester. Previous commissions include the ‘‘Tree of Knowledge” for the Hawn Memorial Library in Clayton, “Breaching Muskie” for Frink Park, and a “Standing Bear” weathervane for Comfort Island.
Mr. Mortensen participated in a 60-minute conversation regarding CAPTAIN FANTASTIC and his filmmaking career. Local TV personality Alex Hazard of ABC 50 led the conversation and facilitated the discussion with members of the audience.
Snowtown Film Festival continues on Saturday, January 28th at 11:00AM with six official selections and twenty-eight short films competing for the festival’s Grand Prize award. The event closes at 7:45pm with a screening of KEEPERS OF THE GAME, followed by a panel discussion with individuals featured in the documentary.
Photo taken by Justin Sorensen Photography.