Claudia Becker

Owner, Big Picture Theater, Waitsfield, VT

May 6, 2009
Outside Magazine
Claudia Becker

I came to the Mad River Valley in 1996 to train Icelandic horses and moved up here with my family from New York after 9/11. I started the Mountain Top Film Festival in 2004 at the local theater as a form of social and political outreach. My husband, Eugene Jarecki, is a filmmaker, but I was a teacher in Germany and had never done anything like it. I went to the local businesses and asked for $50, $100, and got great support. Then the theater closed down and everyone was looking at me to buy it. I'd never spent more than $1,000. I literally got that book How to Write a Business Plan. I started out doing it almost all by myself: making popcorn, showing movies, sweeping floors. Now I have 15 staff members, we've added a café, and we're the focal point of community activity. It's so much more than I ever imagined.

Filed To: Film, Politics

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