Parsons has a number of connections to Cooperstown and Otsego County.
Parsons’ mother was born in Otsego County and Parsons grew up in Utica. Parsons is a graduate of the Cooperstown Graduate Program in museum studies offered by the State University College at Oneonta. She also has a house in Cooperstown.
Parsons said she was inspired to put together the festival because she didn’t see a great deal of organized film in Cooperstown.
“When I lived here there was a great movie theatere on main street,” said Parsons, reffering to Smalley’s Theatre. “That’s gone now.”
She also noted the positive impact that film festivals can have on communities.
“It’s a wonderful sort of social event,” said Parsons. “It’s a great thing to bring families in.”
As for why she gravitated towards an environmental theme, Parsons cited the area’s natural beauty, and an awareness of environmental issues stretching back to the writings of James Fenimore Cooper.
“It just seemed the right sort of place to focus on the environment,” she said.
Parsons was chiefly responsible for selecting the films that will be shown at the festival this year.
“I thought it would be good to have films that were beautifully filmed,” said Parsons, who also cited getting movies that had had an impact at other festivals and incorporating international films as some of her other considerations.
Parsons said that every film that she asked to be a part of the festival agreed to participate.
In addition to its environmental theme, Pope noted the importance of the festival’s economic component.
“One of the main reasons we wanted to launch this is the economic impact,” said Pope, explaining that Otsego 2000 hoped it would bring more people to the area and cause increased patronage at local businesses.