Hollywood vet Bill Pullman chairs the Catskill Mountains Film Festival

Top:  Bill Pullman with Jessica Vecchione, the founder of the Catskill Mountains Film Festival. Photo by Riikka Olson, via the CMFF Facebook pageAbove: Bill Pullman explains his relationship to the Catskills. Video shot by festival founder Jessica Veccchione. 

Bill Pullman, a Hollywood vet whose best-known role is a stalwart president facing down aliens in the 1997 blockbuster Independence Day, is the honorary chairman of the new Catskill Mountains Film Festival, which is launching this May. 

The festival, which was founded by local videographer and filmmaker Jessica Vecchione, is accepting submissions until March 21. (Pullman has an adorable call for submissions on the festival's website.) 

Pullman grew up in upstate New York and attended SUNY Delhi before getting the acting bug and transfering to SUNY Oneonta. From there, he went on to Hollywood, where he starred in some of the biggest movies of the 1990s, including Independence Day, While You Were Sleeping, and Sleepless in Seattle.

In a video interview promoting the festival shot by Vecchione (see above), Pullman explains why he wants to support the festival:

"When I first came to the Catskill Mountains, it was because Delhi had this program in building construction and I thought at that point I was just interested in building barns. 

It was so beautiful and felt like the kind of place where you could step away from the world, and you could form as a person. The thought of being able to tell stories about that area, in film, is really exciting to me."

According to the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin, Pullman won't be at the festival in person. But he'll be there onscreen, as the star of one of the films being screened: The Fruit Hunters, a 2012 documentary about a cadre of obsessives who love rare and interesting fruits. 

According to a 2012 article in Bon Appetit, the documentary shows Pullman as a "fruit obsessive and a hardcore orchardist." 

The Catskill Mountains Film Festival, May 2, 3 &4, 2014. SUNY Delhi. Accepting film submissions until March 21, 2014. For info on how to enter your film in the festival, click here. The Watershed Post is one of the sponsors of the Catskill Mountains Film Festival. 

Below: The trailer for The Fruit Hunters, starring Bill Pullman.