Celebrates 15 years Williamstown, MA October 30 – November 2
It’s no wonder Alec Baldwin (see IMAGINE April 1998) has praised the Williamstown Film Festival [WFF] as “the best film festival in New England.” Tucked within the Berkshire Hills of western Massachusetts, the Festival offers all the charm of a small town with the finest in independent filmmaking. WFF doesn’t just give you the chance to see films, it guarantees you’ll meet the filmmakers – and who knows, maybe even share a glass or two of wine with them.
The Festival was founded in 1998 and is held in Williamstown, Massachusetts, home to Williams College, the Williamstown Theatre Festival and The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Museum.
At WFF, there are no velvet ropes or red carpets; everyone is part of the experience. Hear the story behind the story, learn about the process, and join in on conversation with filmmakers. “It is everything that’s great about living in a small town where you get to really know people,” says Joe Finnegan, WFF’s Board Chair and Vice Chair of the Williamstown Theatre Festival.
Another special attribute of WFF is that no two films are screened at the same time. Often, artists of short films feel “out of the spotlight” because their film is shown simultaneously with a starry feature. At WFF, all eyes are on you, no matter what the length of your film.
Steve Lawson, WFF’s Executive Director, recalls one memorable short film screening, “When it ended I noticed the director was near tears. I went over to make sure she was okay and she said it was the first time she ever saw her movie on the big screen and could witness the audience’s reactions.”
Over the years, WFF has had many moments like this to remember. “So many remarkable people have been here, from the very well-known to the not as well-known.” says Lawson.
In 2003, Paul Newman and his wife, Joanne Woodward, were shooting the HBO miniseries Empire Falls. They gave up their one day off to participate in a Q & A about their film MR. AND MRS. BRIDGE. “I remember the Newman’s stayed for an hour beyond when they were supposed to leave, and the discussion could have gone on for many more,” recalls Lawson.
Sandra Thomas, WFF’s programming consultant and Executive Director of Images Cinema (where many of WFF’s films screen) recalls one of her favorite memories. “I was volunteering at Images Cinema and walked in and saw Sigourney Weaver. She was next to Robert Redford, sitting there as a part of the audience like everyone else and I just thought, ‘where am I?’”
This year’s festival is a very special one, as WFF will be celebrating their 15th anniversary over the course of four nights and five days – from Wednesday, October 30th to Sunday, November 3rd. The festival will kick off with celebrated author John Irving showing clips from his Academy- Award winning film, THE CIDER HOUSE RULES and participating in conversation with the audience. The exterior for St. Cloud’s Orphanage was filmed at Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum in the nearby town of Lenox, MA.
Another event to look forward to is the screening of A CASE OF YOU starring Justin Long. Long has performed in plays at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, and Kat Coiro, the film’s director, will be in attendance. In addition, a few years ago two filmmakers had their shorts screened at WFF, and have now collaborated to debut their first feature, A BIRDER’S GUIDE TO EVERYTHING. The screenwriter, Luke Matheny, will be on hand to do a Q & A after the screening.
Thursday will be a special night of food and film. First to screen will be, DINER EN BLANC, about a very secretive, and very fancy, French dinner party. To follow is a film that couldn’t be more its opposite. THE GREAT CHICKEN WING HUNT is about a group of friends on a search for America’s best buffalo chicken wings. Both directors, Matt Reynolds and Jennifer Ash Rudick, will be in attendance and there will be delicious (and equally surprising) food to enjoy!
Another film screening, GOOD OL’ FREDA, is about the Beatles’ first secretary, who fifty years later talks about her close relationship with the Fab Four.
There will also be screenings of several locally made films. THE RIVER was filmed in Great Barrington, MA and directed by Sam Handel. Both he and the film’s star, Lauren Ambrose (Handel’s wife), will be in attendance. The documentary CHERRY COTTAGE, directed by David Simonds of Williamstown, is a saga of America seen through the prism of a Berkshire County house and the people who’ve lived there.
The 2013 Christopher and Dana Reeve Award winner will also be announced. This award was initiated in 2006 and named in memory of the actor and his wife – two loyal supporters of the Festival. It’s presented to the top short film as determined by audience vote. The winner receives an original artwork by internationally known artist, WFF board member, and Williamstown resident Stephen Hannock. The Reeve winners in 2010 and 2012 – Luke Matheny and Shawn Christensen – both went on to capture Academy Awards for their respective shorts.
Film is truly a visceral experience – not many things have the power to affect someone the way a film can. “There is this electricity, and you can tell it’s specific to the audience – at some point everyone levitates off their seats and floats to the ceiling together,” says Lawson. The WFF staff and Board work hard to make sure that this electricity continues long after the film has ended. Congratulations, WFF, on celebrating your 15th anniversary. I personally can’t wait to see what the next fifteen years will bring.
For the complete schedule and to purchase tickets for the Williamstown Film Festival please visit, http://www.williamstownfilmfest.com or call 413 458-9900.
Lauren Zink is the Communications Manager for the Berkshire Film and Media Collaborative. Reach her anytime at Lauren@berkshirefilm.com. To keep up-to-date with the western Massachusetts film scene, visit www.berkshirefilm.com
The Boston Jewish Film Festival turns twenty five this milestone year. Screening in multiple venues in and around Boston, the dates are November 6th through the 18th.
“The Festival has been making people think, laugh, feel, love, and dream for a quarter of a century,” says Artistic Director Amy Geller. “I am so proud and honored to be part of this rich cultural legacy.”
This year, there are forty six films from thirteen countries including Algeria, Egypt, Morocco and the Netherlands, and, of course, many from Israel and the U.S.; forty films are Boston area premieres.
Geller is particularly proud of the many films with local connections. “The New England area with its vital history of documentary filmmaking is also incredibly fruitful for Jewish cinema.” UNORTHODOX, made by Nadja Oertelt and Anna Wexler, who met as MIT undergrads and live in Boston, has its world premiere November 10th at the ICA. The tongue-in-cheek mockumentary YOUR GOOD FRIEND, also a world premiere November 10th at the Coolidge, stars Rabbi Lawrence Kushner, formerly of Congregation Beth El of the Sudbury River Valley. Finally, THE DEWEY STONE CONNECTION: FROM EXODUS TO INDEPENDENCE, the Closing Night film on November 17th at the MFA, celebrates the late Dewey Stone, a Zionist philanthropist in 1940s Brockton, MA, and “an unsung hero for Israel.”
The 25th year promises to be an expanded program for all Festival goers. “There’ll be more fun elements to heighten the Festival experience and reach out to a wider audience — more family programming, young adult programming, local celebrities, food, music and social opportunities.”
Programs include The Family Film Series, back by popular demand, with screenings for families with children age eleven and up, including THE ZIGZAG KID and JERUSALEM, a 3D IMAX® film at the Museum of Science.
BJFF FreshFlix – Not Your Bubbie’s Festival, a festival within a festival for the 20-40s crowd, kicks off with the 3rd Annual Short Film Competition. The audience will pick the winning shorts via text voting. FreshFlix also features the first BJFF midnight movie ever: Israel’s hit thriller, BIG BAD WOLVES. In addition, there are opportunities for young adults to engage, discuss, meet the director and schmooze before and after screenings.
LGBTQ Shorts Program: OUT Loud is a dramatic and emotional series of LGBTQ short films from Israel, Canada and the U.S. They will be screened at the ICA with Keshet moderating a panel discussion.
Diaspora Jews: Spotlight North Africa features three documentaries that shed new light on the fascinating but little-known history of Jews in Egypt, Morocco and Algeria. Today, there are very few Jews living in these North African countries, but there was a time when Jews thrived alongside their Muslim neighbors. The films explore what life was like for these Jewish communities, as well as the circumstances under which they emigrated.
Favorite Films from the Famous asks: which classic Jewish films have influenced local celebrities? Esteemed Poet Laureate, essayist and literary critic Robert Pinsky presents TEN FROM YOUR SHOW OF SHOWS, a hilarious compilation of sketches from the legendary and live 1950s television program, starring a riotous ensemble lead by comic genius Sid Caesar.
But it’s not just about throwing more options at viewers, Geller explains, “I also want to create more opportunities for artistic engagement and expand and strengthen community participation.” As a result, the Festival is launching the first BJFF Community Leadership Award, honoring a distinguished leader from greater Boston who has demonstrated a commitment to social justice and to improving our community.
The inaugural award recipient is Lisa Simmons, founder of the Color of Film Collaborative and co-producer of the Roxbury International Film Festival. The award will be presented on November 10th at the screening of the civil rights documentary THE LAST WHITE KNIGHT.
The Festival kicks off this very special year with a Silver Celebration on Sunday, November 3rd from 6-9:30 pm at the Ritz-Carlton Boston. Founding board member Shoshana Pakciarz and longtime trustee Barbara Resnek will be honored. The celebration will include a cocktail reception and dinner, an exclusive preview of festival films and a presentation by acclaimed Boston Globe film critic Ty Burr from his most recent book Gods Like Us: On Movie Stardom and Modern Fame.
The Boston Jewish Film Festival, a not-for-profit arts organization, celebrates the richness of the Jewish experience through film and media. Throughout the year, the Festival engages and inspires the community to explore the full spectrum of Jewish life and culture.
Venues are AMC Framingham, Arlington Capitol Theatre, Brattle Theatre, Cinema Salem, Coolidge Corner Theatre, Hollywood Hits Theatre, Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), Museum of Fine Arts (MFA), Museum of Science IMAX, Showcase Cinema de Lux Patriot Place, Somerville Theatre and West Newton Cinema.
Film descriptions, schedule and ticket information and sales are available now at bjff.org.
Tickets are on sale via the website. All films, with the exception of Special Events, are $14 general admission; $12 for seniors, students and members of the BJFF, Coolidge Corner Theatre, Institute of Contemporary Art, Museum of Fine Arts and WGBH. Special Events include Opening Night (November 6th), Mid-Fest Film (November 13th) and Boston Closing Night (November 17th): $26 General Admission/$24 Discount.
The Camden International Film Festival (CIFF) has announced its slate of feature films taking place September 26 – 29, 2013 throughout Camden, Rockport and Rockland, Maine. CIFF will present over 65 features and short films from all across the globe and from Maine.
Now in its ninth year, the Camden International Film Festival has established a reputation for presenting a snapshot of the cultural landscape through the year’s best non-fiction storytelling. The festival is recognized as one of the top 25 documentary film festivals in the world, and one of the 12 best small town film festivals in the US. In addition to the festival’s inaugural Engagement Summit: Aging in Maine, new partnership with The New York Times to bring the Op-Docs live pitch to North America, CIFF announces the main slate of films, including two programs with the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences and a panel on the all-too-timely topic of internet privacy.
“This year’s festival program is extremely diverse, showing the range of artistry and craftsmanship behind documentary filmmaking from both emerging and established artists,” says Ben Fowlie, Founder and Executive Director of the Camden International Film Festival. “Within each and every one of these films there’s a unique story that is being told, and I couldn’t be more excited to share them with our audiences.”
CIFF will introduce two new programs thanks to a grant from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. “Then and Now” pairs classic documentary films and filmmakers with new, visionary work from emerging non-fiction filmmakers. This program celebrates the current state of the documentary form by honoring its exceptional past and affirming its connections to the future. Additionally, CIFF will present “Process” a curated program of documentaries from the past and present focusing on artists, their work and the creative process.
“Thanks to support from the Academy, we’ve been able to expand on our tradition of examining the creative process through nonfiction storytelling, while also building on our repertory programming by screening work from artists who have laid the foundation for the current wave of documentary filmmakers” adds Fowlie.
Following a screening of the feature documentary TERMS AND CONDITIONS MAY APPLY, CIFF will feature an extended panel discussion with some of the nation’s leading thinkers and activists on the issue of internet privacy – including corporate data collection, government surveillance and what internet users can do to achieve greater control over their personal data. Panelists will include Ben Wizner (ACLU), Shahid Buttar (Bill of Rights Defense Committee) and Amie Stepanovich (Electronic Privacy Information Center).
“One of the themes running through this year’s festival and forum is the power of documentary storytelling to generate public dialogue about the social issues that matter most,” says panel organizer and Points North Director Sean Flynn. “We believe internet privacy and security is one of the most critical issues facing our society today – for both media makers and the general public – so we are truly honored to be bringing this timely conversation to Camden.”
CIFF has unveiled the lineup for its Points North Documentary Forum. In its fifth year, the Forum has quickly become the largest gathering in New England of filmmakers, key decision makers and thought leaders in the documentary field. The three-day conference program runs concurrently with the festival from September 27 – 29, 2013 at the historic Camden Opera House in Camden, Maine, and Union Hall in Rockport, Maine. This year’s program will feature a wide range of panel discussions, workshops, case studies, networking events and two public pitch sessions. Points North is dedicated to providing independent documentary filmmakers with unique opportunities for both professional development and creative inspiration, helping build a vibrant regional filmmaking community while sustaining a conversation about new directions in nonfiction storytelling.
This year, some of the documentary industry’s leading broadcasters, distributors, funding organizations and executive producers will convene at the Points North Pitch, a public pitch session held during the Forum on September 28. Seven filmmakers will be given an opportunity to pitch their works-in-progress and receive critical feedback from industry delegates before a live audience. The event, which will be free and open to the public, is a unique opportunity for filmmakers to secure vital support for their projects and audience members to see how documentaries are developed in their early stages. This year’s panel will include representatives from PBS, Sundance Institute, POV, Al Jazeera America, Cinereach, LEF Foundation, DirecTV, Naked Edge Films, LEF Foundation, Fledgling Fund and Documentary Educational Resources.
One project will receive the Points North Pitch Award and Modulus Finishing Fund, which comes with a $1000 cash prize from Documentary Educational Resources, a $10,000 post-production package from Boston-based Modulus Studios, a $3000 tuition scholarship to Maine Media Workshops and three consultations with the Tribeca Film Institute. Last year’s winner, IN COUNTRY, has gone on to receive the Garret Scott grant and has been selected by the Hot Docs Forum and IFP Labs, while being recognized by indieWIRE as one of the “50 indie films to look out for in 2013.”
“We’re honored and very excited to have the opportunity to continue to develop a platform for filmmakers to introduce their projects to some of the most influential decision-makers in the documentary industry,” says Ben Fowlie, Founder and Executive Director of the Camden International Film Festival.
On September 28, the Forum will host the inaugural Points North Engagement Summit: Aging in Maine, in which approximately 15 Maine-based nonprofit leaders and healthcare professionals in the field of aging will converge in Camden for a daylong closed-door strategic summit meeting with documentary filmmakers focused on aging issues. The purpose of the meeting is to explore how their work can be supported and enhanced through the use of powerful documentary films focused on the experiences of older adults, their loved ones and caretakers. The summit agenda will be designed and facilitated by Working Films, an organization that specializes in connecting storytelling with community engagement and action.
During the festival, there will also be an Aging in Maine sidebar of film screenings, including a highlighted screening of Banker White and Anna Fitch’s THE GENIUS OF MARIAN. Following the festival, CIFF will work with participating organizations to implement the ideas developed at the summit and spearhead a screening tour of selected films in 8 -10 communities across Maine. The Aging in Maine program is made possible by support from The Fledgling Fund, Camden National Bank, Pen Bay Healthcare Foundation and The Bingham Program, as well as partnerships with the University of Maine Center on Aging, the Portland Press Herald and The Conversation Project.
This year, the Forum will debut a speaker series called Doc/Tech, featuring innovators and thought leaders working at the intersections between storytelling, technology and social activism. Confirmed speakers include Alexander Reben (Creator of the BlabDroid documentary filmmaking robots), Elaine McMillion (Director of the groundbreaking interactive documentary HOLLOW), Sasha Costanza-Chock (MIT Professor and transmedia activist) and Nonny de la Pena (Creator of Gone Gitmo and Hunger in Los Angeles virtual reality journalism projects). The session is made possible by support from the Maine Technology Institute, and will be hosted by the MIT Open Documentary Lab’s William Uricchio.
The opportunity to meet one-on-one with visiting industry delegates is another important part of the Points North experience. The 2013 program includes a session called Social Media Audit, in which filmmakers have a chance to spend twenty minutes receiving tailored feedback on their film’s online presence from social media and audience engagement gurus Kristin McCracken (former VP of Digital Media at Tribeca Enterprises) and Christie Marchese (Founder/Executive Director, Picture Motion).
For filmmakers interested in strengthening their storytelling craft, Points North will feature an editing masterclass led by Jonathan Oppenheim, editor of “Paris is Burning”, “The Oath” and the 2013 CIFF selection, “William and the Windmill”. For those who want to delve into the history of documentary film, filmmaker and Harvard professor Robb Moss (“The Same River Twice”, “Secrecy”) will lead a masterclass on the of nonfiction storytelling techniques and the ethical and aesthetic issues that have shaped documentary filmmaking since the 1950s.
“We’re really honored to be bringing in such a diverse, talented and inspiring group of participants to Camden for this year’s Forum,” says Points North Director Sean Flynn. “Whether you’re developing a feature, producing a short for the web, getting into interactive media, using media as a tool for social change, curious about film history or interested in craft of documentary storytelling – there’s something here for everyone.
The Points North Documentary Forum is made possible by the generous support of the LEF Foundation, Virginia Hodgkins Somers Foundation, Maine Arts Commission, The Fledgling Fund, Camden National Bank, the Pen Bay Healthcare Foundation, The Bingham Program, Maine Technology Institute, Modulus Studios, Documentary Educational Resources, Maine Media Workshops and the Tribeca Film Institute.
A full conference schedule and list of industry delegates is available online at http://camdenfilmfest.org/pointsnorth
Jewishfilm.2013 The National Center for Jewish Film’s 16th Annual Film Festival presents a vibrant program of new independent films and classic cinematic treasures from around the world. Please visit www.jewishfilm.org for complete festival information.
The National Center for Jewish Film is a unique independent nonprofit film archive, distributor, resource center, and exhibitor. The Center’s collection of 15,000 reels of film is the world’s largest outside of Israel. Since 1976, NCJF has rescued, restored, and distributed films that document the diversity and vibrancy of Jewish life. To date, NCJF has restored 100 “orphan” films, including 44 Yiddish and silent feature films. Long recognized as a world leader in the collection and exhibition of Jewish film and culture, NCJF provides programming consultation to 7,000 educators and programmers each year. NCJF is also a major distributor of new films with Jewish content, representing 100 filmmakers from around the world.
Jewishfilm.2013 is directed and curated by NCJF’s co-directors Sharon Pucker Rivo and Lisa Rivo.
Start/End date: April 10, 2013/April 21, 2013
Location: Museum of Fine Arts, Institute of Contemporary Art, Kendall Sq.
Cinema, West Newton Cinema
As fellow filmmakers we at the Mass Indie Film Fest understand the importance of reaching the right audience. Our goal since starting the festival has been to give filmmakers the exposure they need to help their films find a wide and appreciative audience. We want to present a diverse group of films and filmmakers, and showcase the best in independent film. The Mass Indie Film Fest, a festival by filmmakers for filmmakers!
The Buzzards Bay Film Festival is a celebration of Buzzards Bay, a 233-square mile estuary in Southeastern Massachusetts nestled between the mainland shore, western Cape Cod, and the Elizabeth Islands. The Buzzards Bay Film Festival will focus on the Bay, its watershed, and the 360,000
people who live in its surrounding towns and cities.
The Festival will take place on the evening of November 9, 2012 at the First Congregational Church, Falmouth, Massachusetts; the evening of November 10, at Gallery X, New Bedford, Massachusetts, and November 11 at the Zeiterion Theater in New Bedford.
The Festival will present films that have been shot in whole or part on the Bay or in its watershed, have the Bay as their subject, or promote the Bay’s preservation and restoration. The Festival welcomes narrative films, documentaries, animation, features, shorts and cellphone videos.
All proceeds from the Festival will be dedicated to the Buzzards Bay Coalition, a membership-supported nonprofit organization dedicated to the restoration, protection and sustainable use and enjoyment of Buzzards Bay and its watershed.
Deadline for entries is October 10.
Title: Woods Hole Film Festival
Location: Woods Hole Film Festival PO Box 624 Woods Hole, MA 02543
Link out: Click here
Description: The 21st Woods Hole Film Festival is an eight day event
featuring daily screenings, workshops, special events, music, parties and
more in the beautiful village of Woods Hole located on Cape Cod, MA.
Tickets are on sale now.
Start Date: 2012-07-28
End Date: 2012-08-04