This past weekend The Chilmark Community Center was the site of the eighth annual Martha's Vineyard Film Festival (MVFF). Thomas Bena, the festival's founder and chief organizer, was ecstatic as he talked about its success.
"I couldn't be more pleased," he said. "We were a real team. It was something magical. I love what I do. We had between 2,500 and 3,000 people see the films. Each filmmaker complimented us on how friendly the people were and told me that they had a great time. We had summer people return to the Island for the festival and people from Chicago, New York, and Boston."
When asked about the great number of 20- something's in attendance, Mr. Bena replied, " Isn't it great that we can draw in the young people?"
The festival brings interesting films in by the dozens, from shorts to documentaries to feature films. The Community Center was filled to capacity for the more popular movies and close to full for most everything else. The arrangement of the spaces for food and drink and for hanging out and talking, mostly about the films just seen, made for a down-home atmosphere. There were opportunities to question some of the filmmakers and plenty of chances to catch up with old friends between screenings while nibbling food on sale from The Scottish Bakehouse. A new feature this year was the presentation of children's films at the Chilmark library, where 30 to 40 children and their parents viewed free films. The library was also used to accommodate the overflow crowd from two of the feature movies.
Mr. Bena said that he hopes the Martha's Vineyard Film Festival will continue through the year with monthly screenings in addition to its planned summer program.
Tony Omer is the operations manager at The Times.