I wish this were my July 2020 Take Two, but it isn’t and there isn’t anything I can do about it. I believe everyone has lost so much due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. Most of all I’ve missed the camaraderie – that precious time with friends, colleagues and cohorts – the companionship so required to not feel isolated and alone. But it is what it is and I’m going to leave it at that.
It’s catching up time now and the future is looking strong for our industry in our region, a long-held aspiration for IMAGINE Magazine. We envisioned that our industry would be resilient once incentivized and our efforts have paid off brilliantly in the long haul. Most everyone I know is working and while some businesses are scrambling knowing they are going to make it, a fortunate some are doing quite handsomely. And some are thriving.
There is happiness in the world of major film and television productions in New England. The Gilded Age has returned to Newport and Julia has returned to the Greater Boston area for second seasons. One can only imagine what this means to both cities as seasons to come are almost assured.
Last night I had the distinct pleasure of joining New York best-selling author Casey Sherman for a special event at the Willowbend Country Club in Mashpee, Massachusetts. We celebrated his novel Hell Town being taken in by the Robert Downey, Jr. team to develop as a TV series. Bringing TV series to New England has been an important goal of IMAGINE and all the New England Film Offices and New England studios. May we have yet another series? Yes, please.
In June I attended National Boston’s summer celebration for the momentous occasion of their 40th Anniversary. Socially known for their summer get-togethers for the industry, National Boston’s Chief Engineer (and Executive), Tom Sprague (also a wonderful party host and supporter of all things industry related), told me that he thought our region’s production was returning to some sense of normalcy, almost. But here is a bright flash in his pan, he and Paul Beck have been working tirelessly over several years to bring up their Museum of Broadcast Technology (MBT) in Woonsocket, Rhode Island. It’s an amazing place where they have amassed examples of early television technology. And they are working examples at that. Do you remember two-inch tape? That was back in the day when American brands like RCA and Motorola appeared on equipment in every TV studio; when cameras took three people to operate and move around. Now we have those capabilities in our pocket and there are no American named brands like RCA or Motorola on those objects.
So, here is the good part, their assets have become a new revenue stream for the museum. It began with the movie CHAPPAQUIDICK. The news reporting of the time was 1969. There are no longer TV stations operating with that antiquated equipment. And they needed it, not to just look the part, but to operate in front of a camera operated by a single person.
Thank goodness this industry is sagacious. It found the Museum of Broadcast Technology and rented their operable equipment for the movie. I bring that up now as the aforementioned Julia TV series has for their second season rented early TV production equipment from MBT! Go Tom and Paul! And National Boston, keep having those wonderful summer BBQs.
The good fortune was mine when I attended the screening of BONNIE BLUES: JAMES COTTON’S LIFE IN THE BLUES. Many of us have been following this film production produced by Woods Hole Film Festival Executive Director Judy Laster and master of the harmonica James Montgomery and directed by Bestor Cram. It’s interesting to note that the two producers and the director are all “Imaginnaires.”
The film played to a packed house at the Somerville Theatre, and it was better than good to see some of my oldest closest friends there including Christy Cashman, Judy Laster, Angela Peri, Bestor Cram, James Montgomery and more.
LIGHTKEEPERS also attracted my attention with their private screening at the Capital Theatre in Arlington. It’s a wonderful story about two sisters who saved Scituate from an invasion by the British Navy.
It stars actors, Lily Ayotte and Kayla Caulfield, as Rebecca and Abigail Bates. Michele Prude and David Pridemore, play their parents, Rachel and Simeon Bates. New England actors Michael Maggiani, Paul Taft, Paul Kandarian, Bates Wilder, Tony Ionone, Carly Consoletti, Lin Hultgren, Lisa Rinks and Arthur Hiou round out the central characters in the story.
During the war of 1812, a small, yet significant event takes place on the shoreline of Scituate, Massachusetts. It’s September of 1814, as Simeon and Rachel Bates head to town for supplies, the lightkeeper’s daughters, Rebecca and Abigail are tending to their lighthouse duties. The sisters notice a British Frigate, the HMS La Hogue, as it drops anchor outside of Scituate harbor. The girls briefly consider taking up muskets to repel the British longboat, now rowing towards the harbor. Realizing the futility in firing upon the well-armed British navy personnel, they quickly hatch a plan to trick the British into thinking the town’s militia is approaching the shore to intercept them. I will not spoil this ending for you. Watch for it because you do need to see this story on the screen.
New England is well into the New England Festival season now. IMAGINE has included them in this edition. There is a “new kid on the block,” the Manchester International Film Festival. Read about their first annual festival in this edition and here’s the explosive part, Paul Lithgow will be in attendance with “An Evening With.” Imagine spending an evening with the legendary actor where he will share his acting experiences with you. Read the article for times and places.
If you missed BONNIE BLUES: JAMES COTTON’S LIFE IN THE BLUES at the Boston Independent Film Festival, find it at the Wood Hole Film Festival as their opening night and closing night films. This might seem cheeky of me, but I’m very proud to say that I and IMAGINE have a special notation in their credits. This year’s Woods Hole Film Festival will embrace in person viewing at multiple locations while having online viewing available as well.
The details are in this issue as are all the details of the season’s wonderful festivals.
It’s important that I share my thinking with our readers, advertisers, and supporters about publishing this edition online. Over the past few years, we have raced to keep up with the pace of the internet, where content is delivered faster and more creatively than it was with our monthly presses since 1998. Today, an overwhelming majority of our readers interact with our content online.
Therefore, we have some changes to announce. Going forward, IMAGINE will be a digital, online delivered magazine with several plusses. I need to point out that IMAGINE has two websites, www.imaginenews.com and http://emag.imaginenews.com. Both are important to what we must impart to our industry in New England. The emag will feature our monthly publication and the other will have current looks at what’s happening in our market today. A major change is that our monthly publication will no longer carry our beloved WWW (Works Wrinkles and Wraps). We will are shifting that department to our www.imaginenews.com effort because it is necessary to bring it up to date frequently, sometimes daily, which can’t be done in a monthly publication.
While we have been in hiatus for some time, we are now back in action and ask for your continued support. It is important because IMAGINE does the outreach to the world about what we have to offer here, because we connect the dots of our industry, and we tell the stories of the success of our industry that our legislators incentivized. In our last recession our industry buoyed our economy beyond that of other states. I believe our industry will do it again.
– Carol Patton