Film Center sponsors film talks with Bob Dutton

Martha's Vineyard Film Center theater manager Bob Dutton. — Gabrielle Mannino

Bob Dutton, the M.V. Film Center’s theater manager, brings his expertise to movie viewers with a series of talks and films that relate to his topics. It is the second year for the series, which is scheduled on Tuesdays at 6:30 pm at the Film Center.

On Tuesday, Feb. 26, Dutton discusses dramatic tension. He has paired the talk with a teen comedy, “Three O’Clock High,” which he suggested in an email interview is “a perfect example of the rollercoaster of tension within a story.” He entertained Film Center members last week with “Twist Endings,” and included episodes from the TV series “Twilight Zone.” Each 30-minute talk will precede the film that illustrates the topic he discusses, giving viewers the chance to apply the lessons Dutton offers.

“In essence,” Dutton said, “they’re about storytelling and the things that shape our perceptions of characters on a journey to fulfill a need or desire.” Dutton taught drama and English in public schools in Orlando, Fla., as well as working as a director, playwright, actor, producer, and designer. “So I REALLY am into the art of storytelling,” Dutton added. With an Emerson College B.F.A. in directing for the theater, he started Vineyard Haven’s Island Entertainment video store in 1986; it closes in March. In addition, the Film Center theater manager worked for Hollywood film producers, and performed at Disney World and Universal Studios.

He recently won the Kaplan Playwriting Competition sponsored by the Eventide Theatre Company on Cape Cod. His play was titled “Office Noise,” inspired by the farce “Noises Off.” Dutton describes the play as “an intricately plotted three-act farce about the staff in a branch office of a corporation who learn the owner is coming to select two people to be fired in order to trim the company’s budget. All goes well until the World’s Worst Office Temp enters, and soon enough mayhem ensues.”

Dutton said his goal was to write the “funniest comedy possible,” and he must’ve come close. His experience with theater and in teaching is combined in the film talks he’s been presenting.

“I deconstructed novels and plays in my classroom,” said Dutton. “In short, I have learned the secrets of how to get an audience member to feel and think on a subconscious level. These classes are meant to share some of those secrets.”

Dutton will also discuss camera movement, illustrated by “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” on March 19. Although he chooses most of the films because they’re “solid” to begin with, he said, “I may do one on ‘bad films.’ Sometimes the non-examples can teach us what NOT to do by identifying the mistakes to avoid.” He suggests “Hail, Caesar!” the Coen Brothers film, to be shown on March 26, as an example of parody, illustrating how 1950s genres like the musical, biblical epic, Western, and drawing-room comedy can be combined.

More classes will be offered in April. The talks are free to Film Society members. Check for more information.

“Stan & Ollie” continues to play at the Film Center on Thursday, Feb. 21, along with the Oscar-nominated Live Action Shorts.