Eighth annual international film festival a wrap

From left: Bob and Esta Epstein; Eric and Jennifer Smith Turner; and M.V. Film Society founder Richard Paradise at the Opening Night party at Saltwater Restaurant. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

As the eighth annual Martha’s Vineyard International Film Festival wrapped last weekend, festival and Film Center director Richard Paradise said, “I think it’s time to make a change. We’ll be thinking about doing the entire festival at the Film Center over an extended time period.” Mr. Paradise also said audiences at the festival screenings last weekend had given him the message that they preferred watching their films at the year-old, state-of-the-art Center.

“Most of the films we showed here [M.V. Film Center] sold out,” he continued. Particularly popular was “Children of the Wind,” a documentary about windsurfing in the Caribbean presented in collaboration with Sail Martha’s Vineyard. Vineyarder Nevin Sayre, who has won the U.S. Boardsailing championship five times, introduced the film, which is set against the backdrop of the 2011 Freestyle Windsurfing World Cup. Festival staff had to turn away 50 would-be viewers.

Other popular selections included “Blancanieves,” about the daughter of a celebrated matador; the Animation Shorts Showcase, curated by animator Bill Plympton with Noelle Melody and Joy Vessese; “Haute Cuisine,” a comedy about a chef appointed to be the French president’s personal cook; and “Love Is All You Need,” a romantic comedy about a hairdresser who has lost her hair to cancer and her husband to an affair.

The festival saw a 45 percent increase in attendance last year, the first to include films at the Film Center, which opened in September 2012. Mr. Paradise expects this year’s festival attendance to match that increase and noted that the number of individuals purchasing all-access passes to the event tripled.

Summing up the first full year’s operation for the Film Center, Mr. Paradise said, “People have become accustomed to a high-quality experience at the Film Center.”

In addition to films, the center has sponsored music events, which have done extremely well. “They brought in a whole different, younger audience,” he said. A number of popular Film Center events will return over the fall and winter, including the Wednesday Night Classic Films series, the Manhattan Shorts Festival, the New Year’s Eve Party, and Oscar Night. Mr. Paradise hopes to develop additional, new events and will continue to work with community groups like the Vineyard Conservation Society and Slow Food Martha’s Vineyard.

Although the center will cut back on the number of nights it is open after October, the popular weekend matinees will continue. Mr. Paradise cited new ticketing technology, which has allowed the center to sell tickets in advance online, as a big plus.

Coming up

Those who missed the most popular or sold-out films during last weekend’s festival have another chance. “In a World…,” which opened the festival, starts the re-plays, returning to the Martha’s Vineyard Film Center on Friday, Sept. 13, Saturday, Sept. 14, and Sunday, Sept. 15. Special screenings of fashion documentaries fill the schedule the following week as part of Martha’s Vineyard Fashion Week.

“In a World…,” which sold out last week, is a romantic comedy about a vocal coach, directed by and starring Lake Bell of “Children’s Hospital,” who finds success doing voice-overs for movie trailers. The catch is that she becomes her father’s biggest competitor. The popular Woody Allen film, “Blue Jasmine,” returns on Thursday, Sept. 12.

In conjunction with M.V. Fashion Week, the Film Center will screen “Lagerfeld Confidential,” on Tuesday, Sept. 17. This documentary is about the celebrated designer who has headed Chanel, the Parisian house of fashion, for 20 years. “Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel,” about Vogue fashion icon Diana Vreeland, follows on Wednesday, Sept. 18. Thursday, Sept. 19, brings “Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s” for a look at the famous New York department store.

“Blue Jasmine,” Thursday, Sept. 12, 7:30 pm.

“In a World…,” September 13–September 15, 7:30 pm.

“Lagerfeld Confidential,” Tuesday, Sept. 17, 7:30 pm.

“Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel,” Wednesday, Sept. 18, 7:30 pm.

“Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s,” Thursday, Sept. 19, 7:30 pm. All above films at M.V. Film Center, Vineyard Haven. $12; $9 M.V. Film Society members. For more information and tickets, visit mvfilmsociety.com.