From behind bars in Boston to a renovated turkey coop in the backwoods of Maine, the Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival has geared up to bring viewers on its annual ride.
The festival takes over Chilmark March 13 through 16, screening films at the community center, library and school to create a campus-like feel. With an added day of programing, 20 films and three new venues, the festival will screen more films than ever before in its 14 year history.
“There have been so many fantastic films in the past that we’ve had to say no to,” said Brian Ditchfield, managing director and head of programming at the festival. “Now we get to add to our schedule and we don’t have to turn people away.”
The festival opens on March 13 with Fading Gigolo, starring Woody Allen as a pimp to John Turturro’s gigolo. The film screens at Entertainment Cinemas in Edgartown at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. The Harbor View Hotel is offering special packages for a two-night stay and festival passes starting at $439. Click here more information on that offer.
One featured film is Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger, an inside look at the notorious Boston gangster’s murder and corruption trial. And as a bonus, after the film, Hank Brennan, Mr. Bulger's defense attorney, and Steve Davis, the brother of a victim, will be there to offer their own insight from their unique experiences.
Ever wonder who the face is behind Burt’s Bees? The festival presents Burt’s Buzz, a film by director Jody Shapiro that takes a look at Burt Shavitz, the beekeeping co-founder of the skin care line. Mr. Shavitz has been detached from the lotion and lip care company for decades and now lives in a renovated turkey coop in Maine. The director, Ms. Shapiro, will discuss the film after the screening.
Social worker Dan Cohen will discuss his film, Alive Inside: A Story of Music and Memory, which follows his move to bring iPods into a nursing home. The response from residents suffering from Alzheimer’s disease is awakening, as Mr. Cohen and neurologist Dr. Oliver Sacks discover the power of music on the aging brain.
There’s also a story of survival in the winter wilds. In North of the Sun, two young Norwegians challenge themselves to spend nine winter months surfing a secret uninhabited Arctic bay and do so happily.
The festival will also be full of free children’s activities, including a documentary filmmaking workshop. The final product will be shown on the evening of March 16 at the festival. Kids can drop in anytime, while parents can chose from three different films to watch. Free family-friendly films will also be shown at the library throughout the weekend.
The festival team has reserved a time slot at the end of the festival for an encore showing of the most popular flick, the likes of which will be determined by crowd favorite.
Visit their website for more information about the festival.
— Remy Tumin