Film : "Frogs and Toads" at MVFF
Family. Fun. Feast. It sounds a like an abridged definition of Thanksgiving, but it's also the name of a three-part winter series presented by the Martha's Vineyard Film Festival (MVFF). The first of this series, "Frogs and Toads," screens at 5 pm Saturday afternoon, November 28, at the Chilmark Community Center.
"Frogs and Toads" is a Dutch film about two brothers. Jannus, the older one, needs to have his tonsils removed and convinces his younger brother, Max, that if he doesn't collect frog eggs, "frogspawn," he will never be able to speak again. This is all Max needs to know to encourage him to embark upon an adventure to find the eggs. As you might imagine, "Frogs & Toads" has its share of silly songs and several sweet interactions.
Part of the MVFF's mission is to encourage Island families with young children to gather together in the winter, indulge in a shared meal, and enjoy great films. They have been offering films for children for about five years, both at their March festival and summer film series.
Lindsey Scott, MVFF's director of children's programs, hopes this film helps gather families visiting the island for their holiday celebrations. "We hope that our relaxed atmosphere and playful spirit will help children further nurture relationships they may have developed while they were here during their summer vacation," she says. "Fostering the media literacy is central to our mission of bringing quality films to the Island community and helping children become critical thinkers about their media choices."
As for the "Feast" component of the event, the motivation is to collaborate with Island chefs to provide an affordable dinner created from local food. They hope to illuminate the bounty of food being raised on the island, even in the winter. This Saturday's event features the culinary skills of Chef Robert Lionette of Zephrus Restaurant.
The organization is also committed to making these events as affordable as possible so that they can gather as many families together as possible. Limiting the price of the event ensures that families can afford this exciting opportunity to connect with each other and with quality films.
A former art teacher at the Martha's Vineyard Public Charter School, Ms. Scott began working for MVFF in April, soon after the March 2009 Festival. "I have always been impressed by the films MVFF presents, the great spirit of volunteering and the good food," she says. "I casually mentioned to Thomas Bena, the founder and creative director of MVFF, that I thought the children's program could benefit from better films and more activities for children. Right away he asked me to send him all of my thoughts and very quickly had engaged me with a team of people he was gathering to bring new ideas and energy to the children's programming."
The screening committee is comprised of Anne Evasick, Deb Dunn, Meg Higgins, Brian Ditchfield and Ms. Scott, who select films that expose children to strong values, other cultures, and new perspectives.
Explaining the choice to base their programs at the Chilmark Community Center, Mr. Bena says, "We've held the festival in a few different places, so when we tried the CCC in our third year, we knew we'd found our home. There is something about that space. It's been very good to us, as has the town of Chilmark."
"Frogs and Toads" will be shown Saturday, Nov. 28, at 5 pm at the Chilmark Community Center. Child and adult actors will act out the subtitles, to ensure that everyone enjoys the film.
Ray Whitaker is a freelance writer living in Oak Bluffs.