Since 2006, the Martha’s Vineyard International Film Festival has given Islanders an annual glimpse into the lives and cultures of people from around the world.

This year’s festival features a dozen films from 11 countries, and from Sept. 5 to 10 audiences can once again transport themselves to places far and wide.

“In years past, people have actually seen a film taking place in a certain region of the world, and they ended up going to that place because they were so taken with the film,” said Richard Paradise, executive director of the Martha’s Vineyard Film Society, which hosts the festival.

This is the film society’s fifth festival of the summer, one that attracts adventure-seekers, said Mr. Paradise. With a diverse array of films from countries including China, Estonia, Israel, Morocco and more in this year’s program, he is certain audiences will be inspired to explore new corners of the globe.

Finestkind was produced by seasonal Vineyarder Gary Foster. It screens Saturday, Sept. 9

“I can remember we once showed a movie about a special little art museum that collected all of the contraband art of the Soviet Union during Stalin’s regime... and some people actually went to it after seeing the film,” he said.

To prepare for the festival, Mr. Paradise spent more than a half-year watching hundreds of moves to curate the perfect lineup. He said that he is particularly excited about an American film titled Finestkind that has strong local ties.

The film was produced by seasonal Vineyarder Gary Foster, whose credits include Sleepless in Seattle and Tin Cup, among many others. It tells the story of two commercial fishermen who become involved with a crime gang off the coast of Boston. It was written and directed by Brian Helgeland, who wrote the screenplays for L.A. Confidential and Mystic River. Mr. Helgeland was raised in New Bedford and worked as a deckhand on several commercial fishing boats on the area.

After the film’s screening, Mr. Foster and Mr. Helgeland will join the audience via Zoom for a question and answer.

“The director was originally going to come in person... but he’ll be at Toronto [International Film Festival] literally the day before for its world premiere,” said Mr. Paradise.

Ramona, from Spain, screens Wednesday, Sept. 6.

The festival opens Tuesday, Sept. 5 at 4 p.m. with Golden Years, a Swiss film about a newly retired couple and their search for happiness. It is considered to be the most successful feature film from Switzerland since the beginning of the pandemic. To commemorate the festival’s opening, the film society will host a gala reception on Thursday, Sept. 7 at 5:30 p.m. on the waterfront lawn near the Tisbury Marketplace. A screening of The Eight Mountains, a film about two men living in the Italian Alps, will follow.

On Friday, as a bonus part of the festival, there will be an international short film competition. Since last November, a three-person committee has been reviewing more than 250 short films submitted from around the world. Nine of the best shorts will be shown to an audience and ranked by a jury of four.

“It’s a tradition that the last year’s winner gets to be on the jury,” Mr. Paradise said. “It’s all just so much fun.”

The closing night film, Totem, tells the story of a young Mexican girl and is described by the film society as a “choral film about life.” After its screening, Fish MV in Vineyard Haven will host a final party, complete with a Latin band, margaritas and Mexican Cuisine, said Mr. Paradise.

With only one more festival of the year on the horizon — Women in Film set for mid-October — Mr. Paradise said that he can feel the summer starting to ease. But his movie-watching schedule never ceases. To unwind after a long day of work, he still likes to do what he does best: watch a movie.

Scrapper, from the UK, screens Tuesday, Sept. 5.

“Old movies are like my comfort food,” said Mr. Paradise. “I’ll get home at 10 o’clock or maybe 10:30, put [Turner Classic Movies] on and watch an old movie until 1 or 2 in the morning. It’s crazy because I get up at 7:30 the next morning, but that’s just how I relax.”

To purchase tickets to the 18th annual Martha’s Vineyard International Film Festival and for more information, visit