For Martha’s Vineyard Film Society founder and executive director Richard Paradise the coming of September is never a tearful farewell to summer. Rather, Mr. Paradise is enthusiastically gearing up to host the 13th annual Martha’s Vineyard International Film Festival, a six-day long celebration of feature-length and short films that offer a diversity of cultural perspectives.

“My whole point of doing the festival is to give our audiences a non-American perspective,” Mr. Paradise said at the Film Center in Vineyard Haven on Tuesday afternoon. “To give them a look at the world through the eyes of film, the filmmaker’s storytelling, and a view of what goes on in other parts of the world.”

The Saint Bernard Syndicate screens Friday, Sept. 7 at 9:15 p.m.

The international film festival began in the fall of 2006.

“I always felt like I didn’t have enough time and opportunity to show all the films I wanted to show, especially foreign language films,” Mr. Paradise said. “So I conceived the idea of doing a film festival that would give me the opportunity to show 20 to 25 foreign language films.”

This year’s festival will present 18 feature length films and two short film programs. The opening night gala takes place on Thursday, Sept. 6, but the screenings begin two days earlier, with Las Herederas on Sept. 4 and Zama on Sept. 5 respectively.

Mr. Paradise referred to the two screenings as a “festival warm-up.”

Benzinho screens Friday, Sept. 7 at 4:30 p.m.

“I don’t go into programming the festival with a pre-conceived theme,” Mr. Paradise continued. “But there always seems to be a theme that arises. This year the theme has been about examining the barriers, the walls, and the borders...whether they’re physical or the emotional ones we put up.”

Mr. Paradise said that an emphasis on Latin-American films has also become apparent in his selection of films. The opening night film, Feliz Año Tijuana (Happy New Year Tijuana) is set in the boarder city of Tijuana, Mexico.

“It has some overtones of what Mexicans think of this wall and border that has been created between the city of Tijuana and Southern California,” Mr. Paradise said.

The screening will follow the kick-off tent party at the Tisbury Marketplace in Vineyard Haven. Eric Johnson will provide the music while guests dine on traditional Latin-American style fare.

Zama screens Wednesday, Sept. 5 at 7:30 p.m.

“The theme is ‘let’s fiesta,’” Mr. Paradise said, smiling.

A number of the short films also harmonize with the festival’s theme. Both short programs will take place on Saturday, Sept. 8. The animation shorts showcase will be presented by Bill Plympton, whom Mr. Paradise considers to be, “the godfather of independent animation.” An Academy-Award nominated animator, cartoonist, and filmmaker, Mr. Plympton also curated the program, which will begin at 4:30 p.m. at the Film Center.

The international short film program will follow its animated counterpart at 6:30 p.m. at the Capawock Theatre, the festival’s partner location. The showcase is a submission-oriented, juried competition.

“Filmmakers submit their films over a six month period from January to July 15,” Mr. Paradise said.

The Day After screens Friday, Sept. 7 at 7 p.m.

A screening committee then ranked the submissions, ultimately deciding on 11 short films for the evening screening. But Mr. Paradise explained that the judging doesn’t end there.

“We have another set of judges during the festival that will actually decide which film is the best of the festival out of the 11 shorts,” Mr. Paradise said. “The best of the festival wins an $1,000 cash prize.”

A select group of actors and filmmakers will host question and answer sessions following some of the films. Mr. Paradise is working on finalizing the speakers, as many will be traveling internationally or talking with the audience via Skype.

“I really wanted the international film festival to represent world cinema,” Mr. Paradise said. “And I think we’ve accomplished that.”

The Martha’s Vineyard International Film Festival will run Tuesday, Sept. 4 through Sunday, Sept. 9 at the Martha’s Vineyard Film Center and the Capawock Theatre in Vineyard Haven. Visit for tickets and film schedules.