If you’re going to attend a film festival during the height of the Summer, why not head to the East Coast and check out the 2010 Woods Hole Film Festival? Watch some movies, head to the beach… it’s a winning combination. Plus, the lineup for the fest, running July 31-August 7, 2010, is aces; from the official press release:
The 19th annual Woods Hole Film Festival runs from July 31–August 7 in Woods Hole. The oldest festival on Cape Cod is dedicated to showcasing and promoting the work of independent, emerging filmmakers from New England and features international narrative and documentary feature films, shorts, and animation, many of them world or New England premieres, plus master classes, panel discussions and nightly parties held at the water’s edge.
This year the festival is privileged to have two-time Academy Award winning documentary filmmaker Barbara Kopple as Filmmaker-in-Residence. She will lead both a panel discussion on politics and documentary filmmaking, as well as a workshop for filmmakers on documentary filmmaking. There will also be a retrospective of her films, including: Oscar winners HARLAN COUNTY USA, an account of a bitterly violent miners strike, and AMERICAN DREAM, about the Hormel meat packers strike in Minnesota; SHUT UP AND SING, which profiled the Dixie Chicks in the wake of singer Natalie Maines’s anti-George W. Bush statement at a 2003 concert; and FALLEN CHAMP: THE UNTOLD STORY OF MIKE TYSON.
Other highlights include a panel discussion with distinguished authors whose works have been made into films, co-hosted in conjunction with PEN New England on Thursday, August 5, featuring the world premiere of CELEBRITIES IN DISGRACE, based on a short story by Elizabeth Searle and adapted by director and writer Matthew Quinn Martin. Children and parents alike will appreciate the 8th annual Project Greenscreen on Wednesday, August 4, an outdoor screening powered completely by renewable energy. Kids Day on Sunday, August 1 in Redfield Auditorium features an afternoon of award-winning animated films from around the world, musical entertainment, special appearances, refreshments and more. Casting agent Carolyn Pickman of CP Casting (THE DEPARTED, MYSTIC RIVER) will offer two master classes on acting for films on Thursday, August 5, one for teens and the other for adults. Pre-register by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Over 100 features length films and shorts, including the Tribeca standout ROOTS IN WATER by Martin Scorcese’s daughter, Domenica, will be screened over 8 days with the majority of filmmakers attending the screenings. Among the standout narrative features is FEED THE FISH, film and TV editor Michael Matzdorff’s directorial debut that stars Tony and Michael Shalhoub (MONK), Barry Corbin (ONE TREE HILL, THE CLOSER), and Katie Aselton (the Duplass brothers’ THE PUFFY CHAIR) in a hilarious comedy about a burned-out kids book writer in the midst of a mid-life crisis, who travels to northern Wisconsin in the dead of winter to do the Polar Bear Plunge. In LEBANON, PA Josh Hopkins (SWINGTOWN, COUGAR TOWN) plays a charming Philadelphia ad man who heads to the Pennsylvania city for his father’s burial. A bittersweet comedy that explores America’s cultural divide, this SXSW entry also stars Mary Beth Hurt. THE DRUMMOND WILL, a black comedy set in decaying rural England and the first feature shot on the Red One in black and white, THE BEGINNER, a non-religious retelling of the prodigal son story, and THE FAT BOY CHRONICLES, the real life inspired story that reveals the emotionally painful world obese teens experience in the face of a thin-obsessed society, round out the narrative features.
The documentary side of the festival clusters around two themes: music and the environment (a natural since Woods Hole is one of the world’s leading environmental research centers). MIRACLE IN A BOX, directed by Oscar winning filmmaker John Korty (THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MISS JANE PITTMAN) and narrated by John Lithgow, traces the path of a 1927 grand piano owned by a music teacher who bequeathed her treasure to her alma mater, UC Berkeley, with the stipulation that the university ultimately reward it to “a worthy student of piano.” Before it can be given away, however, it must be restored, so Korty films the piano’s rebirth under the masterful care of Oakland’s venerable Callahan Piano Service. ROLL OUT, COWBOY follows Chris Sand, a Woody Guthrie protégé from the North Dakota Badlands who looks and talks like a cowboy but writes and performs hip hop songs like Dr. Dre, as he embarks on a national tour during the 2008 U.S. presidential election. Similarly, LOUDER THAN A BOMB, which follows four Chicago high school poetry teams as they prepare for and compete in the world’s largest youth slam, is set against the backdrop of Barack Obama’s primary campaign. Directed by Greg Jacobs and Jon Siskel,
sonnephew of the late film critic Gene Siskel, the film paints a powerful, timely, and ultimately inspiring portrait of the Obama generation. Lastly, DO IT AGAIN chronicles Boston Globe reporter Geoff Edgers’s mid-life quest to find the still-surviving members of the Kinks and convince them to reunite. When his initial mission fails, Edgers, along with Boston-based director Robert Patton-Spruill (Squeeze), turns the film into a meditation on the power of music and his own chance to testify on his love for the Kinks. He also meets with Kinks fans that include Sting, Zooey Deschanel, REM’s Peter Buck, Paul Weller, Robyn Hitchcock and Clive Davis.
Whereas Al Gore made the perfect film about climate change problems, CARBON NATION, directed by Peter Byck (whose first film, GARBAGE, was a winner at SXSW), turns its focus solely on finding solutions to the problems and the people that are working on finding them: Richard Branson (CEO, Virgin Group), Thomas L. Friedman (New York Times), Former CIA Director James Woolsey, Van Jones (Founder, Green For All), Denis Hayes (Founder of Earth Day), Ralph Cavanagh (NRDC), Lester Brown (Earth Policy Institute), and more. CLIMATE REFUGEES: THE HUMAN FACE OF CLIMATE CHANGE uncovers the unbelievable plight of people around the world displaced by climatically induced environmental disasters. It illuminates the human face of climate change and the collision that civilization now finds itself at between overpopulation, lack of resources, and our changing climate.
A number of films have New England connections. PHILLIP THE FOSSIL, Boston-based filmmaker Garth Donovan’s praised sophomore effort that recently premiered at SXSW, follows an aging party animal in small-town New England chasing the now extinct glory days of his youth. The documentary A LIFE TAKEN, a documentary by Boston filmmaker Josh Banville, explores Shawn Drumgold’s wrongful 15-year incarceration for the murder of 12-year old Tiffany Moore during the summer of 1989 in Boston. It’s the story of one man’s youth stolen to appease an angry city, and his tragic struggle to reclaim his family, his dignity, and his life. HYMAN BLOOM: THE BEAUTY OF ALL THINGS, lensed by legendary Boston-area cinematographer Austin de Besche, provides a portrait of Bostonian painter Hyman Bloom, one of the forefathers of abstract art in America who is barely remembered today. Finally, the narrative feature THE ARISTOCRAT, about a traveling salesman who decides to leave his life on the road in order to find greater meaning, was shot entirely on Cape Cod.
There’s more to the festival than just watching films and attending workshops and panel discussions. The nightly parties at various restaurants within walking distance of the screenings feature food, lots of “schmoozing” with filmmakers and fans alike, and top-notch musical entertainment.