In August we begin thinking about what September will bring. Back to business as usual just preys on everyone’s mind toward the end of summer and that’s where we’re headed, but not quite yet…

There are still film festivals to plan for and attend. And right now we are examining just how our industry in Massachusetts escaped any capping or alterations to our hard fought for 25% Film Tax Credits this year and how do we prepare for next year. It’s true that we have our tax credit intact for another year. Although, we do have to deal with the fact that we do not have as many votes or support in the Senate as we did have when our original legislation was passed and updated or as we did during the vacillation of our previous governor

Right off it’s important that we acknowledge the support that we did have. If your Senator or Representative supported our industry during this last tough fight there are important things you can do right now. Let them know you appreciate their support all year long. Support them for their re-election, attend their events, particularly if they are opposed with whatever financial or volunteer effort you can afford. It is not only during the legislative season that we need to attend to these matters; it’s a year round responsibility and only fair if we want to ask for their focus when it matters to us.

And if your Senator or Representative did not support our industry or efforts during this last legislative campaign, let them know you will oppose them if they have an opponent. It is important to know that their opponent is amenable to supporting the Film Tax Credit and the production industry first, of course.

I will have more on this for you in our next edition where we will have an in depth look at the November elections in New England and how we can enhance our chances for 2017.

Meanwhile, back to summer, the film festivals we heralded in our last issue are coming off as planned. Congratulations to Judy Laster, Executive Director of the Woods Hole Film Festival, and her team for a successful 25th year celebration. It’s the oldest festival on Cape Cod. In keeping with the festival focus many of the festival’s winners were from the region though films from all over the world were in the mix.

Rhode Island resident Kris Avdisian’s DONALD CRIED, the hilarious comedy shot in Rhode Island won the Jury Award for Best Feature Narrative, and Adam Irving’s OFF THE RAILS, about an autistic man whose love of transportation gets him arrested thirty two times for impersonating bus drivers and train conductors, won the Jury Award for Best Feature Documentary (the film will be made into a major motion picture starring Julia Roberts).
PIFF continued to make Provincetown with its unique combination of art institutions, culture, history and natural beauty the global destination for creative exploration in film. As previously announced, Ang Lee was presented with the 2016 Filmmaker on the Edge Award in conversation with PIFF resident artist John Waters at Town Hall on Saturday night. Cynthia Nixon received the Excellence in Acting Award in conversation with film critic and professor B. Ruby Rich. The Best Narrative Feature went to THE INNOCENTS directed by Anne Fontaine. And the Best Documentary Feature was dual awarded to THE MUSIC OF STRANGERS: YO-YO MA AND THE SILK ROAD ENSEMBLE, directed by Morgan Neville and POLITCAL ANIMALS directed by Jonal Markowitz and Tracy Wares. And here’s that name again, The John Schlesinger Award, presented to a first time feature filmmaker (documentary) went to Adam Irving. At the conclusion of PIFF, the festival announced Lisa Viola as its new Artistic Director. Viola will replace Connie White, who has been with the festival since its inception.

The Nantucket Film Festival had the most blissful week of island weather I have experienced in all my years attending. What a glorious week. There were plenty of highlights, but the Screenwriters Tribute is my favorite. The Award is the highest honor presented by the festival. This year’s award was presented to Oliver
Stone by Comedian and writer Seth Meyers, the host of NBC late night talk show Late Night with Seth Meyers. The Screenwriters Tribute Award honors an individual whose written body of work has made a distinct impact on American cinema. It is not a “lifetime achievement” award, but rather an acknowledgement of the indelible impact these artists have on the hearts and minds of people all over the world through their writing for the screen. Stone’s film titles are well known. I so enjoyed his Conversation with Eugene Jarecki, although he didn’t answer too many questions about SNOWDEN, his latest and perhaps most provocative film releasing September 16th.

I was also privileged to present an award at the Flick4Chicks’ Different Faces; Different Voices Film Festival at the Brattle Theatre in my very own neighborhood. The two day festival featured the premiere of twenty nine short films and four workshops. Congratulations to Harvard Square Script Writers’ Genine Tillotson who spearheaded a team that organized this event in record time. No film was longer than ten minutes.

On July 28th, I joined director Mike Pecci for a walk through the making of his film 12 KILOMETERS along with other attendees at Rule Boston Camera’s Pub Night. The frightening story is of a Russian drill team that digs the deepest hole known to man, while unknowingly releasing a creature that feeds on their fears and consumes them from the inside out. Even more frightening and challenging to the core, is the film was made by Mike in Russian with English subtitles. How did he do that? Well everyone wants to know, so next month (our focus will be local Directors) we are featuring a Mike Pecci article that will explain how he did it. We’ll find out just how he found his story, managed a Kickstarter campaign, planned and implemented his shoot and his challenges of getting the film seen and promoting his cast and crew.

Next month we are going to look at the politics of the region and bring you stories of local directors that will be both entertaining and informational. Just who are the star directors in New England?

Wishing you the best of the remaining summer!