Essay: The Martha’s Vineyard Film Society expands with new Film Center

Richard Paradise, the founder and director of the Martha's Vineyard Film Society and the Martha's Vineyard Film Center. — File photo by Ralph Stewart

Standing on the cusp of 2013, which is the Martha’s Vineyard Film Center’s first full year of operation, the view is terrific. We launch the year in style with a New Year’s celebration that combines film, live music, great food, and the Times Square midnight TV broadcast on our 27-foot screen.

The new year will also see the first of many joint ventures with WGBH/WCAI: The season premiere of “Downton Abbey” will be screened on January 6 at the film center prior to its TV telecast. In addition, we are planning several mini-festivals in 2013, including a spring “music in film” fest in collaboration with Jagged Films and continued “Green on Screen” series of environmentally significant films with the Vineyard Conservation Society. During the summer, we will be bringing in a variety of film professionals from the film production and distribution sectors, including Lauren Greenfield, director of the 2012 hit “Queen of Versailles.”

All our old favorite events will return, too, of course. We’re continuing our relationship with Manhattan Shorts, and we will also throw the annual Oscar Party on February 24. We’ll devote plenty of screen time to the ever-popular Oscar-nominated Shorts program, too. Our recent Daytrippers concert and Beatles’ film night were such hits that we’ve got to bring the band back for many more events. You can look forward, too, to more Reel Food nights, evenings that combine a great feature film with a post-show dinner and conversation at the ever-fabulous State Road Restaurant and other local restaurants.

Other big occasions in the works are simulcast Metropolitan Opera, Ted X conferences, and other live-on-screen performing arts specials.

And we can’t forget that 2013 will bring our eighth annual Martha’s Vineyard International Film Festival (mark your calendars for September 5–8). In 2012 festival attendance grew by 45 percent, but I bet we’ll top that in 2013 as the festival’s regional and national reputation continues to grow.

In this season of thanks and celebration, we at the M.V. Film Society also want to toast our angels of 2012: the 10 founding members and hundreds of donors who funded our new center, and the unbelievably talented pros who made it happen on schedule, especially developer/architect Sam Dunn, Mark Ellis and Bob Stafford of Carpentry and Co., and Lonny Jennings of Boston Light & Sound. Thanks, always, to our 1,200-plus members, Board of Directors, Advisory Boards, and to the dozens of volunteers who sell tickets and concessions and make it possible for us to operate year-round. Dickens’s Tiny Tim put it best: “God bless you, every one!”

Here’s to a prosperous and entertaining 2013.

Richard Paradise is the founder and director, and Steve Zablotny is assistant director of the Martha’s Vineyard Film Society ( and the Martha’s Vineyard Film Center.