Film : Around the world in four days
The third annual Martha's Vineyard International Film Festival gets under way tonight, Thursday, Sept. 11, with cocktails and hors d'oeuvres at the Mansion House, the Festival's headquarters.
The opening night documentary, "Flow, For Love of Water," will be screened at 8 pm at the Capawock Theatre in Vineyard Haven and features the Island's own William Marks of Edgartown as one of its prime interview subjects. An author, lecturer, and water activist, Mr. Marks recently published "Water Voices from Around the World."
"I got involved years ago at the very beginning of the project," Mr. Marks says of "Flow," which was nominated for a Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. After director Irena Salina read Mr. Marks's earlier book, "The Holy Order of Water," she tracked him down. A planned hour-and-a-half interview in New York turned into seven hours of filming. "Flow" changed Ms. Salina's life, according to Mr. Marks, and he hopes the documentary she produced will have the same effect on the Festival's audience.
Mr. Marks will join Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director of the organization Food and Water Watch, to answer questions after the screening. "Flow" is an eye-opening look at the problems besetting the world's water supply. It explores issues like overuse, drought, pollution, and privatization. Particularly shocking is its examination of how companies like Coca Cola have exploited this natural resource, turning it into a bottled commodity often not as pure as the tap water from which it is derived.
Richard Paradise, director of the Martha's Vineyard Film Society, the nonprofit, all-volunteer Island organization that sponsors the festival, is so sure the Thursday show will sell out that he has scheduled a second screening at 12 noon on Sunday. Producer Matt Parker will answer questions at the Sunday screening.
Twenty-nine film programs are planned over the four days of the festival in three Vineyard Haven locations: the Capawock Theatre, the Katharine Cornell Theatre, and the Vineyard Playhouse. Short films are particular favorites of Mr. Paradise, and he and co-director Nevette Previd have scheduled three programs of them.
On Friday, National Geographic's All Roads Film Festival will bring four film shorts by ethnic directors to the Katharine Cornell Theatre. Island Wampanoag Tribal Council leader Woody Vanderhoop will introduce the series, and Billy Luther, who directed one of the four, "Miss Navajo," will also attend the screening. The other films come from New Zealand, Australia, and Canada.
Animator Bill Plympton returns to the festival for the second year to head the Animation Shorts program on Saturday. In addition to Mr. Plympton's two shorts, seven others will be presented, and their creators will attend the screening. An International Short Film Program put together by Mr. Paradise will screen Sunday that includes work from Sweden, Peru, and the Netherlands, as well as the U.S. Their subjects range from losing your virginity to scaling the Andes.
The festival organizers have made a special effort this year to bring directors to screenings of their films and have them participate, alongside other experts. Fifteen filmmakers will attend the Festival, according to Ms. Previd.
Directors Tony Gerber and Jesse Moss will attend the Sunday screening of their documentary, "Full Battle Rattle," which depicts the simulation training American soldiers undergo before deployment to Iraq.
On Friday, Co-director Dominic Howes, who spent summers on the Island as a child, will answer questions after the screening of "The Listening Project," which elicits responses in 14 nations to the question, "What do you think of America?" Island comedian Marty Nadler will introduce the French romantic comedy, "Priceless," on Friday night, and Variety film journalist John Anderson will introduce the award-winning Canadian documentary "Up the Yangtze" that night.
Ellen Kuras and Thavisouk Prasavath, directors of "The Betrayal" will be present Saturday for the screening of their documentary on Laos in the aftermath of the Vietnam War. "We Are Wizards" director Josh Koury is expected to answer questions after the Saturday afternoon screening of his documentary on the Harry Potter craze. Also on Saturday, singer and Aquinnah resident Kate Taylor will introduce "The Orchestra of Piazza Vittorio," an Italian documentary about the effort to save Rome's Apollo Theatre.
Also among those expected to attend is Peter Grilli, President of the Boston Japan Society, who will introduce the Japanese Samurai drama, "Love and Honor," playing Sunday. Directors Tony Gerber and Jesse Moss will be present at the Sunday screening of their documentary "Full Battle Rattle," which depicts the simulation training American soldiers undergo before deployment to Iraq.
In addition, Variety's Mr. Anderson will introduce a second Chinese film on Sunday. Hiao-hsien Hou's "The Flight of the Red Balloon" is a remake of the classic French film about a child's balloon with a mind of its own.
Returning this year is the "Think Globally, Shot Locally" program that features Island filmmakers' projects in a panel and networking session. This Saturday afternoon event has been organized by filmmakers Liz Witham and Ken Wentworth of Film-Truth Productions, filmmaker Len Morris of Galen Films and filmmaker Taylor Toole.
Twenty other international films, almost all of which have won at least one award, will be shown over the weekend, including "Persepolis," the animated film about Iran that won the Cannes Jury Prize and was nominated for a Best Animation Oscar.
For a full listing of the times, locations, and prices of all screenings and events, look for the festival's supplement in the Sept. 4 edition of The Times, or visit mvfilmfest.com.
Brooks Robards reviews art, films, books, and theater for The Times.