Arlington International Film Festival: A New Generation of Winning Filmmakers

Saturday, October 26th at the Robbins Library and The Regent Theatre

Marley Jurgensmeyer is a tenth-grade student at Arlington High School and the winner ofthe Arlington International Film Festival Poster Contest for the second year. Photo courtesy of AIFF.
Marley Jurgensmeyer is a tenth-grade student at Arlington High School and the winner of
the Arlington International Film Festival Poster Contest for the second year. Photo courtesy of AIFF.

The 3rd annual Arlington International Film Festival (AIFF) shows independent cinematic masterpieces from filmmakers around the world. It is also dedicated to promoting the next generation of filmmakers by showcasing a special category of student shorts. This year twenty-one high school students competed for “Best” in film categories awarded by the festival’s Selection Committee. Submissions came from as near as the Massachusetts towns of Arlington, Boston, Cambridge, Dorchester, Roxbury, Wayland and Winchester and as far as Montreal, Canada. AIFF is proud to show these excellent student filmmakers shorts reflecting the opinions, fears, dreams and talents of a young generation as represented through the eye of the lens.

The winner of the “2013 Best Narrative Short” is Malcolm DC, a Boston resident, for his film, THE SHINGLES. Tessa Tracy and Sophia Santos of Cambridge, MA received “2013 Best Documentary Short” for their film, LA LUCHA.

Shorts that received “Honorable Mention” are as follows: 2013 Narrative Short awarded to Jasper Hamilton of Arlington, MA for his film, ELIZA; 2013 Documentary Short awarded to Diana Julien of Roxbury, MA for her film, MY PHOENIX; 2013 Experimental Short awarded to Henry Nineberg of Cambridge, MA for his film, BRAND NEW.


The Arlington International Film Festival’s New Generation of Filmmakers Honorable Mention was awarded for the 2013 Narrative Short by Jasper Hamilton of Arlington, MA for his film, ELIZA. Photo courtesy of AIFF.

Other film shorts that have been chosen for the festival screening and will be presented as part of the two hour 2013 Student Short Program are: BOSTON 2:50 by Franklin Santiago, Dorchester; OUT OF THE WOODS by Asa Minter, Arlington; PERSEVERANCE by Jacob Sussman, Wayland; RECOLLECTION by Karen Chen, Cambridge; WITH THE EYES OF BEAUTY by Izzy Ramirez, Boston and the program will close with DON’T TEXT & DRIVE by Adrián García, Boston and a graduate of MassArt.

You are invited to a Pre-screening Reception Saturday, October 26th at 10 am at the Robbins Library Community Room, hosting our student filmmakers, parents, teachers and the community. Anna’s Taqueria is sponsoring the event followed by the Festival

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Rhode Island International Film Festival

Kicks off its 17th Season with over 200 Films
August 6th – 11th at Locations Across the State of Rhode Island


Screen Shot 2013-07-23 at 3.05.10 PMOn August 6, 2013, Flickers kicks-off its 17th annual Rhode Island International Film Festival (RIIFF) in Providence, RI. The week-long celebration of independent cinema and film arts is New England’s largest film festival and only Academy Award qualifying event for short films. Only 75 festivals worldwide share this distinction. In addition to film screenings, the festival will feature the return of the Rhode Island Film Forum geared to be a region- wide educational workshop on bringing film production to the Ocean State. Included are award ceremonies, filmmaker symposia, the annual ScriptBiz Screenwriting Workshop, a walking tour of film locations in Providence, and networking events.

Over 200 feature length, documentary and short films from 65 countries , and 36 states in the United States will be screened at locations throughout the state of Rhode Island. Films have been selected from a record entry base of 5,100 submissions.

RIIFF is a magnet for those who’ve made short films because it is a qualifying event for the short film category of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. In 2012 three of the films that premiered at RIIFF went on to receive Academy Award nominations.

Planned festival highlights include:

Showcase of Japanese Films celebrating our Festival partnership with ShortShorts Film Festival Asia.

HALF PINT, directed by Duncan Putney, will have its premiere at the Rhode Island International Film Festival.  Ted Moller (Sparks), Chris O'Brien (Ace), Osmani Rodriguez Jr. (Half Pint), Lee Simonds (Sarg) and Jed Alvezos (Joker) on the Normandy windmill set in Middletown.
HALF PINT, directed by Duncan Putney, will have its premiere at the Rhode Island International Film Festival. Ted Moller (Sparks), Chris O’Brien (Ace), Osmani Rodriguez Jr. (Half Pint), Lee Simonds (Sarg) and Jed Alvezos (Joker) on the Normandy windmill set in Middletown. (photo courtesy of RIIFF)

The RI Film Forum, scheduled for Thursday, August 8th in collaboration with the RI Film & Television Office and the Harrington School of Communication and Media at URI. A New England Film Festival Symposium for organizers of all the regional film festivals to discuss the evolution and changing role of the Festivals within the industry.

New programming focus for the annual ScriptBizTM Screenplay Pitch Seminar with spotlight on this year’s Grand Prize Screenplay Competition winner “Betrayed,” by Alfred Thomas Catalfo of New Hampshire. This year’s seminar directed by Professor William Torgenson from St. John’s University, New York, who is a previous Grand Prize winner for “Love on the Big Screen.”

Showcase of films and cultural activities from the Province of Québec and the newly created Québec Film Festival celebrating the twenty year partnership with the Délègation du Québec, Boston and Tourism Québec.

Films from over 60 countries across the globe.

The magical DEATH OF A SHADOW by Tom Van Avermaet and Ellen De Waele, a 2012 Oscar nominated short, concerns a soldier who attempts to ransom his soul from Death and return to the girl he loves.
The magical DEATH OF A SHADOW by Tom Van Avermaet and Ellen De Waele, a 2012 Oscar nominated short, concerns a soldier who attempts to ransom his soul from Death and return to the girl he loves.

Showcase of new work from the INSAS (Institut National Supérieur des Arts du Spectacle et des Techniques de diffusion), the Graduate School of Arts of the French Community of Belgium.

Select films from New England filmmakers take the stage in partnership with the Woods Hole Film Festival, and the Martha’s Vineyard International Film Festival with a guest speaker panel.

Live music programming throughout the Festival by Flickers’ artists.

Providence Location Tour with the RI Historical Society and the RI Film & Television Office.

Partnership screenings with the International Cinematographers Guild and showcase of short film winners of the Emerging Cinematographer Awards.

Expanded Youth Film Jury Screenings in collaboration with RI Foundation Equity Action to expand LGBTQ youth participation.

Additional RIIFF Summer Programming:

FLICKERS: Kids Eye TM Summer Filmmaking Camp takes place from July 8-12th. This is the original five-day filmmaking camp for kids aged 8-17. Participants shoot several short films and a promotional trailer, attend workshops taught by certified educators and movie industry professionals, and learn about screenwriting, acting for the camera, directing, makeup, camera, costuming, and special effects. The event takes place at the University of Rhode Island, Kingston campus.

Advance ticket sales for screenings and special events are available through the FLICKERS/RIIFF website

Student, group, and senior discounts are also available but only in advance. To purchase tickets or obtain more information about any aspect of RIIFF, call 401 861-4445 or email


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22nd Annual Woods Hole Film Festival Focuses on Community

July 27 – August 3, 2013 in Woods Hole, MA

The quaint village of Woods Hole on Cape Cod is perhaps best known as the stomping ground of scientists, Nobel laureates, and vacationers on their way to the islands, but every year during the last week in July and the first week in August the population swells to include a community of filmmakers and film goers involved in sharing stories and insights during the annual Woods Hole Film Festival, which at twenty- two years is the oldest film festival on Cape Cod and the islands.

The eight-day festival, which runs July 27-August 3, features an abundance of riches: five phenomenal filmmakers-in-residence, a record thirty-three narrative and documentary feature-length films, and nearly seventy narrative, documentary, and animated films. Besides the requisite film screening followed by a Q&A it features a rich selection of workshops and master classes with the filmmakers-in-residence, retrospectives, and panel discussions for the true film aficionado. The nightly parties at various restaurants at the water’s edge within walking distance of the screenings also offer lots of casual and relaxed “schmoozing” with filmmakers and fans and top-notch musical entertainment, including a kick-off concert featuring the John Jorgenson Quintet on Friday, July 26. Recently chosen to portray Django Reinhardt in the feature film HEAD IN THE CLOUDS, Jorgenson played guitar with Elton John’s band for six years and is often sought out by artists such as Barbra Streisand, Bonnie Raitt and Earl Scruggs.

The festival also continues its tradition of showcasing and promoting the work of independent, emerging filmmakers, particularly those from or with connections to New England and Cape Cod. “We’ve stayed true to the vision of supporting emerging independent filmmakers,” says Judy Laster, the festival’s founder and executive director. “I think because we stayed true to this vision, it is a very attractive place for independent filmmakers, with many first-time filmmakers returning to the festival with subsequent films or as filmmakers- in-residence. After twenty-one years we have accrued a large and loyal alumni network.”

In fact, nearly twenty filmmakers are returning with their subsequent films this year. Based on the novel by Howard Frank Mosher and set in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, Jay Craven’s (A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT) latest narrative feature, NORTHERN BORDERS, stars Bruce Dern and Genevieve Bujold as a quarreling couple who take their ten year-old grandson in with them with humorous and sometimes startling results (August 2). Boston-based Allan Piper (STARVING ARTISTS) returns with his award-wining documentary MARRIED AND COUNTING about a gay couple who celebrate their 25th year together by getting married in every state with legalized gay marriage (July 30). Festival favorite Bill Plympton returns with his latest animated short, DRUNKER THAN A SKUNK, an adaptation of Walt Curtis’s poem about a cowboy town that torments the local drunk (July 30).

"The Last Song Before The War "by Kiley Kraskousas
“The Last Song Before The War “by Kiley Kraskousas
Of the returning filmmakers, two are screening their first feature length films at the festival: Maria Agui Carter (CLEATS), a Boston-based multicultural filmmaker, presents her first feature documentary, REBEL, about a Cuban woman soldier and spy of the American Civil War (July 28), and Andrew Mudge (THE PERFECT GOOSEYS), whose entire body of short films were shown at the festival when he was living in Boston, presents the regional premiere of THE FORGOTTEN KINGDOM, a narrative feature about returning to one’s roots that was shot entirely in South Africa and Lesotho (August 1). It is sort of a homecoming for Mudge who earned the distinction of being the first filmmaker to produce a feature-length film in Lesotho.

Even crew members connected to festival alumni make sure to put Woods Hole on their lists: Amir Noorani, the director of SHAYA, a narrative short about a tribal Pakistani family that is sent to live in Los Angeles as refugees, only to find life more challenging than in war-torn Pakistan, was an assistant editor on Justin Lerner’s (2011 Best of the Fest winner THE GIRLFRIEND) graduate thesis film.

"Knuckle Jack" by John Adams and Toby Poser
“Knuckle Jack” by John Adams and Toby Poser
Several filmmakers-in-residence are also returning to the festival after either presenting their films or attending as filmmakers-in-residence in previous festivals. Director James Mottern, who brought his first film, TRUCKER starring Michele Monahan to Woods Hole in 2010, returns to the festival to conduct two workshops, one on breaking into the film business and one on directing actors. He recently finished a Boston shoot of his second feature film, GOD ONLY KNOWS, starring Ben Barnes, Leighton Meester, and Harvey Keitel and is currently prepping another performance-driven action-thriller set in New England. Documentary filmmaker Heidi Ewing (DETROPIA, JESUS CAMP) filmmaker-in-residence in 2011 and her co-director and co-producer Rachel Grady will conduct a workshop on DIY (do-it-yourself) film distribution, based on their experience self- distributing DETROPIA after they received less than satisfactory offers from distributors when the film premiered at Sundance in 2012.

Two additional filmmakers-in-residence are making their first appearance at the festival: Chicken and Egg Pictures and Working Films founder Judith Helfand, whose BLUE VINYL won the best cinematography award at Sundance in 2002, and Megan Sanchez-Warner, currently executive producer and show runner for “The Real Housewives of Atlanta,” who will hold a workshop on storytelling in film and television.

A significant trend this year is films created by, within, and about communities. Oscar winner Ernest Thompson (ON GOLDEN POND), who works out of New Hampshire with a regular community of writers, actors, and producers, brings his group’s most recent effort, HEAVENLY ANGLE, to the festival on August 1, with Thompson and a number of the folks involved with the production in attendance. Set in a small town in New Hampshire, the film is about a down on his luck Hollywood film director who shows up to con the town’s mayor and residents into putting money into a movie he has no intention of making. NORTHERN BORDER’s Jay Craven, mentioned earlier, creates films that celebrate regional character and culture, most often that of Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. Similarly, Australian director Philip Crawford’s RITES OF PASSAGE was filmed over the course of three years in New South Wales, Australia and features the true stories of six individuals from the region in their struggle to grow up amidst a variety of problems, including homelessness and addiction (August 2). Each of these films enlisted their communities to participate in the filmmaking process. Stephen Silha, co-director and producer of the documentary BIG JOY: THE ADVENTURES OF JAMES BROUGHTON and formerly a reporter at The Christian Science Monitor in Boston, also communicates in his films about what makes communities and relationships work. BIG JOY illustrates the power of art and poetry to change lives, using the life and work of pansexual poet and filmmaker James Broughton as a lens (August 2).

Besides the filmmakers with New England connections mentioned earlier—such as Ernest Thompson, Jay Craven, Andrew Mudge, Allan Piper, Stephen Silha, and Maria Agui Carter— regional filmmakers, especially those with a Cape Cod connection, are represented in large numbers this year. Although her short film is set in Ireland, LAMBING SEASON writer and director Jeannie Donohoe was raised in Massachusetts and attended Dartmouth College; many of her producers and crew members either live near Woods Hole or are from New England. Boston University student Kristin Holodak’s KILLER, a narrative short about the dangers of waiting for a bus, features an entire cast of Boston actors.

"Between Us" by Dan Mirvish.  Photo by Nancy Schreiber, ASC
“Between Us” by Dan Mirvish. Photo by Nancy Schreiber, ASC
Films made on the Cape or by Cape Cod filmmakers include: Cape born and bred Isaak James’s BY WAY OF HOME, a narrative feature shot in Brewster, Chatham and Provincetown about a woman who returns home to work in her family’s restaurant (July 29); Eastham- based on Joseph Laraja’s THE GOLDEN SCALLOP, a narrative feature about three finalists in the Golden Scallop contest on Cape Cod (July 27); Kristin Alexander’s MY NAME IS AL, the true story of a grizzly, old-timer named Al who started the Committee on Drug and Alcohol Dependency, a recovery program for doctors and dentists (July 28); Sky Sabin’s ART IS A VERB, a documentary short in which the filmmaker asks for advice from three of the most inspirational people she knows- -Stephan Connor, luthier and owner of Connor Guitars on the Cape, Martin Keen, founder of Keen Sandals and CEO of Focal Upright Furniture, and Mike Fink, professor and author at RISD (July 29); Natasha Kermani’s short documentary ATLANTIS EARTH, an artist’s interpretation of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute’s Atlantis voyage (July 29); and MASS DOLPHIN STRANDING, a short about 180 dolphins that were stranded on the Cape during winter 2012 (July 29).

Fans of George Romero won’t want to miss BIRTH OF THE LIVING DEAD, a documentary feature that demonstrates how Romero gathered an unlikely team of amateur actors from Pittsburgh—policemen, iron workers, teachers, ad-men, housewives, and a roller-rink owner—to be part of his revolutionary film NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. The film shows how the young Romero created a world-renowned horror film that also provided a profound insight into how society really works (July 27, August 2). Romero also has a cameo at the end of Matt Birman’s and Sam Roberts’s A FISH STORY, which stars Eddie McClintock (NBC’s Warehouse 13) as a fugitive on the run whose body becomes inhabited by the soul of a another man (July 27). Birman and Romero are old friends, as Birman has worked as a second unit director and stunt coordinator on Romero’s films since 2004. Birman and McClintock are in discussions to make an upcoming zombie movie under Romero’s aegis.


Screenings and events are held at a variety of venues—including the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute’s modern Redfield Auditorium and the folksy Woods Hole Community Hall—with most taking place within walking distance of one another in compact Woods Hole.  Getting around is easy and specific festival parking is available. Admission to screenings, panels and parties are $12 (ticket packages and full festival passes also available). Tickets are for sale online through the festival’s web site at on June 29, or at the box office during the festival. For more information, contact 508 495-3456 or <a href=””></a>.

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Treat Williams Stars in Short Film in the Berkshires

Bringing a stage play to the screen

-By Lauren Zink

Director & Co-Producer Joe Cacaci sets up a shot with Director of Photography, Dejan Georgevich.
Director & Co-Producer Joe Cacaci sets up a shot with Director of Photography,Dejan Georgevich.

Tucked away in the hills of western Massachusetts, the Berkshires have long
been known as a cultural Mecca with world renowned theatre, dance and music venues. More recently, the area has begun to make a name for itself as a destination for film production.

In late January, Joe Cacaci and John Whalan bridged the gap between two mediums by bringing a stage production to the screen.

Members of the “Chickadee” basketball team watch a take with Joe Cacaci, John Whalan and writer, Richard Dresser.
Members of the “Chickadee” basketball team watch a take with Joe Cacaci, John Whalan and writer, Richard Dresser.

Originally written as a one-act play for the Berkshire Playwrights Lab’s [BPL] 2012 annual gala, “Halftime” was performed by Treat Williams as a monologue at the Mahaiwe Theatre in Great Barrington, MA. When Williams walked
off the stage he turned to Whalan and said, “You have to shoot this.” Six months later, the original creators were back together to adapt the story into a ten-minute film.

HALFTIME, written by Richard Dresser, directed by Cacaci, and produced by Whalan’s Black Ice Entertainment LLC, was shot at Berkshire School, a coeducational boarding school located in Sheffield, MA. Thanks to athletic director, Dan Driscoll and set designer Jim Spieler, the boys’ varsity
hockey locker room was transformed into middle school basketball cubbies.

The film revolves around a coach giving his downtrodden team, the Chickadees, a half-time pep talk that goes seriously awry. Eight local 11 year-olds played Williams’ team, recruited with the help of BPL general manager Lori Bashour. All of the young actors had some experience performing in local
school productions.

“When all the cameras are on you, it makes you excited inside,” said Toby Keenan, one of the young actors.

BFMC Founder and HALFTIME Co-producer, John Whalan with BFMC Executive Director Diane Pearlman, and BFMC Communications Manager, Lauren Zink
BFMC Founder and HALFTIME Co-producer, John Whalan with
BFMC Executive Director Diane Pearlman, and BFMC Communications Manager, Lauren Zink

The Berkshire Film and Media Commission [BFMC] was happy to assist the production finding the location as well as some cast and crewmembers. “I am thrilled that two of our Advisory Board Members, Joe and John, brought this project here. The caliber of talent and professionals involved in this
production will help promote the Berkshires as a premiere shooting location,” says Diane Pearlman, BFMC’s Executive Director. “I was excited to be on the set and see so many of our Berkshire crew working together, some of whom have
been working with each other for the last 20 years.”

HALFTIME is one of many short-films being co-produced by Cacaci and Whalan, several of which are based on the 1-act plays being performed at the Berkshire Playwrights Lab. Founded in 2007 by theater professionals Jim Frangione, Bob Jaffe, Matthew Penn and Joe Cacaci, BPL dedicates itself to
encourage, develop and present new plays through readings, workshops, and fully staged productions.

“Bringing this play from stage to screen here in the Berkshires, merges the interests and passions of Black Ice and BPL. To have an actor like Treat involved makes it particularly gratifying,” says Cacaci.

The real HALFTIME Team: Director/CoProducer Joe Cacaci, Actor Treat Williams, Writer Richard Dresser, and Co-Producer John Whalan pose after the shoot wrapped.
The real HALFTIME Team: Director/Co-Producer Joe Cacaci, Actor Treat Williams, Writer Richard Dresser, and Co-Producer John Whalan pose after the shoot wrapped.

Williams, a long time fan and performer at BPL, was to appear in a four character play at the last BPL gala, but a last minute TV production conflict prevented him from being available for the scheduled three day rehearsal. Not
wanting to lose his valued participation, BPL approached Dresser about writing a monologue for Williams as soon as he could. Dresser’s immediate response was no. However, after a good night’s sleep and some thinking, Dresser woke up the next morning with a great idea – and the story for HALFTIME was created.

Dresser has written screenplays for television series such as “The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd” and “The Job”. According to Dresser, “the monologue is based around a character who just has practically everything go wrong for him, and this uniquely, untalented middle school team is all he has left.”

Whalan and Cacaci hope these short films will give actors a chance to perform characters they’re not typically used to playing. In their last short film, FOOD FOR THOUGHT, coproduced with Joe Mantegna for his Quickbites series that
aired on KCET in LA, Tony Shalhoub (see IMAGINE cover February 2007) was cast in a very different role than his usual obsessive-compulsive-driven character on Monk.

In gaining some momentum, Cacaci and Whalan consider these first two productions, and a third piece, shot last year at Castle Street Cafe in Great Barrington, MA as part of the pilot phase – and plan to produce at least a dozen more. According to Whalan, their idea is to create a brand of very
high-end shorts, using recognizable talent, all of which will continue to film in the Berkshires.

Whether HALFTIME will be launched first on the web, or in short film festivals or eventually as part of a series of shorts for television, remains to be determined. “There is a changing dynamic in the whole world of entertainment. People are watching things in shorter segments and we can make these episodes attractive either as their own series or as one-offs,” says Whalan.

Bringing a full range of production work to the Berkshires has been a focus for John Whalan, as both the founding co-chair of BFMC in 2008, and as the president of Black Ice Entertainment, a multi-media, film development and production company based in Great Barrington. “We want to keep filming in the
Berkshires as an economic engine for the area and to showcase countywide talent onscreen and off-screen,” says Whalan.

The momentum from HALFTIME has surely already been felt. As the cast and crew wrapped up the production they were leaving Berkshire School knowing they would be reunited soon to adapt the next one-act play into a short series. The next time, however, they hoped the production would not take place near
a hockey rink and be just as cold inside as the weather was outside.

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