See you at the circus

Experience the magic of the circus and the wonder of film in one evening at the Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival’s Cinema Circus.


It was all face paint and costumes at Cinema Circus in Chilmark on Wednesday. Families and children gathered at the Chilmark Community Center for an evening of delightful entertainment for kids that included food, dressing up, a circus show, and a movie.

Since 2009, the Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival (MVFF) has offered the weekly show for families and children as part of its summer festival. This is the fourth year that the performances have been offered to the public for free. People are welcome to gather on the lawn next to the Chilmark Community Center and enjoy dinner. Many bring pizza from the Chilmark Store, or take advantage of catering offered by Driftwood Kitchen. As the picnic tables filled up and the blankets were spread across the lawn, kids got their faces painted, danced in a cloud of bubbles, and played games on the festival grounds. The festival also offered a stop-animation station, where participants learned how to make stop-motion films on an iPad.

As the show started and the Ringmaster, played by MVFF director Brian Ditchfield, stepped into the ring, all eyes moved to the big top. The Ringmaster was joined by his evil twin brother, Squaremaster, and a silly show filled with pie flinging, dancing, and other shenanigans ensued. The audience also had a chance to meet Ellie the Elephant, Carlotta the Clown, and a crew of mice, played by campers in the MVFF filmmaking camp. Rory the Lion was not available for this week’s performance, as he was away on business.

When the show concluded, the Ringmaster led the kids in a parade into the Community Center, where they read the book and then watched the animated movie “Lost & Found.” Each week, a different film for kids is screened, and Mr. Ditchfield discusses it with the audience.