Steve Lohman and Liz Witham
Steve Lohman (left) and Liz Witham joined the opening night crowd at Che's Lounge in Vineyard Haven. Fellini's classic, "La Dolce Vita" was shown. Photos by Ralph Stewart

Film fête

By Steve Myrick - September 20, 2007

Was this a party where a film festival broke out? Or a film festival, where a party broke out?

The distinction may be irrelevant, because both the films and the parties continued nearly non-stop all weekend for the second annual Martha's Vineyard International Film Festival, and both were celebrated with passion and enthusiasm.

"A great vibe, a great scene," said festival organizer Richard Paradise. "We had more than 200 people at our opening party, and our opening film (The Owl and the Sparrow) was sold out. People were telling me how much the festival meant for the Island and the community, and Vineyard Haven. It brought so many people downtown."

M.V. International Film Festival
The crowd outside the Katharine Cornell Theatre, a venue for the M.V. International Film Festival.

Twenty-seven films were scheduled, in addition to three separate programs of short films. Several local filmmakers got a chance to present their work in the international showcase, illustrating the film festival theme.

"People in the community are so involved with other places in the world," said Mr. Paradise. "The big picture from a small Island, people get that."

Each day was capped with a rollicking party where film fans rubbed elbows with filmmakers, festival volunteers schmoozed with actors, and the festival organizers began planning for next year.

"It started closing night," said Mr. Paradise. "We were already talking about what we're going to tweak, what we're going to do differently."