Martha’s Vineyard International Film Festival begins

Martha’s Vineyard International Film Festival begins

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Four days and nights of international films and film-related events begin at 5:30 pm on Thursday, Sept. 8, when Entrain drummer Tom Major performs with the Afro Beat Project outside Saltwater Restaurant in Vineyard Haven. The opening reception for the sixth annual Martha’s Vineyard International Film Festival (MVIFF) precedes an 8 pm screening of filmmaker/comedian Ahmed Ahmed’s “Just Like Us” at the Capawock Theatre.

The festival will present 25 feature films from 15 to 20 different nations, as well as four international shorts programs curated by animator Bill Plympton. Some films will screen more than once, and in a few cases, the film director will attend his/her screening.

Unusual or under-the-radar movies playing at this year’s festival include “Puzzle,” playing Friday, Sept. 9 at 4 pm at the Capawock Theatre in Oak Bluffs. Screening Saturday, Sept. 10 are six others: “A Screaming Man (2 pm), “Circo” (4 pm, Capawock), “Octubre” (4 pm, Katharine Cornell Theatre), “Kinyarwanda” (7:15 pm, Capawock), “The Strange Case of Angelica” (9 pm, Vineyard Playhouse) and “Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall his Past Lives” (9:30 pm, Capawock). Film details are available in last week’s Martha’s Vineyard Times Festival Supplement or online at mvfilmfest.com, where the full roster of films, events and prices can be found.

Several Vineyard residents will introduce films, including Chappaquiddick resident Steven Raichlen: award-winning food expert, best-selling author, and TV host, who will briefly discuss “A Matter of Taste,” on Saturday. This reporter, Westfield State University Professor Emerita Oak Bluffs summer resident Dr. Brooks Robards, who writes film reviews for the MV Times and broadcasts movie reviews on WVVY-FM, will introduce “Park Benches” on Sunday.

On Saturday, a special Reel Food MV dinner will take place at Saltwater, and a reception, Celebration of All Things Scandinavian, at Stina Sayre Design. The Closing Night Party on Sunday will be held at Vineyard Haven Marina and includes the final film, “The Trip.”

Late night parties take place Friday and Saturday nights at the former Che’s Lounge. Other special events include Saturday’s Think Globally, Shoot Locally, and Sunday’s Music on Main Street.

Sovereign Bank vice president Mary Spence of Chappaquiddick, who serves as volunteer coordinator and has worked with Festival Director Richard Paradise since the Festival’s inception, heads the long list of volunteers making MVIFF possible.

“Volunteers are a real integral part of the Festival,” Mr. Paradise said in a recent interview. “How the whole thing comes together and how we can offer this kind of event and keep our prices down is because of the volunteers, along with the in-cash, in-kind sponsors.”

Taking on a bigger role this year is Martha’s Vineyard Film Society board member Steve Zablotny of Vineyard Haven. “He provided all our advertising and promotional material,” Mr. Paradise said. “He’s been a very important asset for the last two months.”

Mr. Paradise also singled out Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School theater teacher Treather Gassmann of Vineyard Haven, who organized the festival parties this year. Chilmark summer resident Diana Barrett, president of The Fledgling Fund, a philanthropic organization for women filmmakers, helped bring three films to the Festival: “Bag It,” “Made in India,” and “Connected.”

Another new sponsor this year is KinderUSA, an acronym for the nonprofit, Kids in Need of Development, Education and Relief, that sponsored “The First Movie” and “Noor.”

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