M.V. Film Fest Recap

In this file photo, Film Festival managing director Brian Ditchfield addresses a sold out audience at the Chilmark Community Center on Saturday. — Photo by David Welch

Saturday marked the third day of the Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival, beginning with a sold out showing of Victoria Campbell’s “Monsieur le Président” at the Chilmark School.

After the film, an audience-driven critique session, designed to decide the final cut of the documentary, opened up the floor for discussion of the film’s topic: Haiti.

Several other festival films sold out ahead of time or at the door, including: “These Birds Walk,” “Shored Up,” “North of the Sun,” “Room to Breathe,” and “The Face of Love.”

The children’s component of the Film Festival, “Cinema Circus,” had a group of young filmmakers collecting the footage for their own documentary. A pair of festival staffers spent Saturday night editing the footage. The complete documentary will be shown at 6 pm Sunday, March 16, in the Chilmark Library.

Saturday wound down with another sell out picture, Joe Berlinger’s “Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger.” West Tisbury artist Kenneth Vincent painted an interpretation of the crowd while festival-goers filtered into their seats. Before the film, The Yard dancers Jesse Keller, Alison Manning, Sammy Donahue, and Holly Jones performed a series of solo, tandem, and foursome routines in jazz-age costumes to tunes like Cab Calloway’s “Minnie the Moocher.”

Guests remained in their seats until well after the film was over to meet Steve Davis. “Whitey” Bulger was accused of murdering his sister, Debra Davis, but a U.S. District court jury could not reach a verdict on that charge. Hank Brennan, a lead attorney for Mr. Bulger in his Federal trial, also spoke.

Film Festival director Thomas Bena jested that he overheard Mr. Davis kvetching about the isolation of Chilmark, and the lack of nightlife. Admitting he’d been twice incarcerated, Mr. Davis joked:

“Yeah, it’s like … jail time,” he said grinning.