Exploring today’s issues

Summer MV Film Festival expands to include ‘Inwards’ talks.


Known for its post-film discussions, the M.V. Film Festival has added a new conversational series, “Inwards,” to its summer program. It starts Thursday, July 11, at the Beach Plum Inn’s Hayloft, and the subject of the first one is “Dying.” 

“Each discussion will have a different topic and include participation of guests with relevant experience, expertise, and wisdom,” according to Brian Ditchfield, MVFF programming director. All the sessions will begin on Thursdays at 10 am.

Dr. Donald M. Berwick and Paddy Moore will lead the discussion on death, examining fear, joy, and equanimity in facing mortality. Berwick is a former administrator of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, as well as president emeritus and senior fellow at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. He is a Vineyard summer resident. Islander Moore is founder and chair of Healthy Aging Martha’s Vineyard, the Islandwide planning, community-building, and advocacy group for Vineyard seniors. Summer visitor Diana Barrett, Ph.D., and year-rounder Jake H. Davis, Ph.D., who created the series, will act as moderators.

“We will start with death, end with extinction, and have a lot of fun in between,” said Vineyarder Davis. He studied mindfulness meditation in Burma’s Theravada Buddhism, and holds a Ph.D. in philosophy and cognitive science. 

Barrett founded the Fledgling Fund after a career teaching at Harvard Business School and at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She says, “This is an experiment — but one based on knowing one another and the Island as a whole, and building on what the MVFF has been doing for almost two decades.”

On Thursday, July 18, Carole Vandal is the speaker for “Joy.” Vandal is a Vineyard native and Wampanoag Tribe member who is raising her two grandsons on-Island. Vandal will return on Thursday, July 25, to discuss “Power” with Ismail Samad, Dora Lewin, and former Congressman Barney Frank. Vineyarder Samad is Kitchen Porch Catering’s new executive chef, and Dora Lewin, a summer Islander, is Boston-based private client advisor at U.S. Trust, as well as a summer Island resident. The impact of inequality on lives, relationships, and communities will provide the basis for this discussion.

Joining Vineyarders Vandal and Samad on August 1 to discuss “Civility” are summer visitors Daniel Goleman, the author of “Emotional Intelligence,” and prominent lawyer Alan Dershowitz — both summer residents. “Marriage” is the topic for the August 8 discussion with Kenneth Rosenberg, Julianne Vanderhoop, and MVFF executive director Hilary Dreyer. On August 15, summer resident Kenneth Rosenberg will return for the “Sanity” talk that includes Vineyard psychiatrist Charles Silberstein, with Barrett moderating. The final subject for the “Inwards” series is “Extinction” with panelists Rory Kennedy, Daniel Goleman, and Noli Taylor. Summer Vineyard visitor Kennedy is a documentary filmmaker, and Aquinnah resident Noli Taylor is community food education director at Island Grown Initiative.

“To explore fundamental human issues with people from many subgroups on the Island — seasonal and year-round — is a dream come true,” said MVFF founder Thomas Bena about the “Inwards” series.

Information and tickets for the “Inwards” talks, which are part of the summer M.V. Film Festival, are available at tmvff.org.