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Local Film Tweets

Industry News

A report of news & happenings in the local industry for August 2007.

By Erin Trahan

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Filmmaker/storyteller Mwalim brings The Talking Drum back to life on stage this month.
Email news to news@newenglandfilm.com

What's Happening

NewEnglandFilm turns 10 years old in September! Founder and publisher Michele Meek started the site to unite a regional community around independent film. In addition to keeping tabs on the most up-to-date indie happenings, NewEnglandFilm.com houses an online archive of the community’s activities from the last decade. Check out the growing list of filmmakers interviewed, how-to columns, and festival and organization profiles. Next month we’ll get a glimpse of NewEnglandFilm’s history and future with a special from Meek. In the meanwhil, help celebrate NewEnglandFilm’s birthday at the RIIFF Gala Opening Party on August 7 at 9-11 pm in the lobby the Providence Performing Arts Center.  For more details, read the press release or visit www.RIFilmFest.org.  

The Rhode Island International Film Festival (RIIFF), growing every year, has something for everyone from August 7-12. In addition to more than 300 screenings and events, producer Christine Vachon will be honored with the first-ever Roger Williams Independent Voice Award at the opening night gala, Tuesday, August 7th. The award honors artists whose vision promotes tolerance, compassion and understanding. The fest includes script consultation, workshops, panels and includes several related festivals, such as the Providence Jewish Film Festival, with a 2007 theme of forgiveness and acceptance in modern Jewish culture, and the Providence Gay and Lesbian Film Festival.

In case you were wondering what else could RIIFF possibly do... it's also home to the New England Student Film Festival. RIIFF reports receiving more than 100 entries from students at University of Maine, Emerson College, Boston University, Boston College, Providence College, Middlebury College, Rhode Island School of Design, University of Massachusetts, Brown University, and the University of Rhode Island. Christopher Messina’s Little White Flowers, and Y. Grace Park’s Running Seasons are among the featured films. Both students showed work in The Scene First Student Film Festival, which NewEnglandFilm.com reported on in June. All info at www.RIFilmFest.org.

The Roxbury Film Festival runs August 1-5, with several New England filmmakers screening and discussing their work. Visit www.roxburyfilmfestival.org.

Fraser Films just self-released the pilot episode of Artifact, an original web series filmed entirely in Maine with Maine cast and crew. The first episode introduces heroine Merryn Brennar, the only person with information leading to a cure for a deadly global virus. Episode two is currently in preproduction. Watch the pilot online at www.whatistheartifact.com.

From July 29-August 5, filmmakers from around the country are converging in Guilford, VT for a week of what Susi Walsh of Center for Independent Documentary calls, “radical relaxation, discussion about keeping up their creativity in their work, and film slams.” Congratulations to Nancy Kelly, Savanna Washington, Jonathan Skurnik, Karen Everett, Jim Wolpaw, Nancy Kates, Bennett Singer, Natalie Lardner, Carlyn Saltman, and Tim McCarthy for being selected to participate in the the Kopkind/CID Filmmakers Retreat.

On a related note, the Kopkind Center will present its 2nd Annual Grassroots Film Festival also in Guilford, August 2-4. Find out more at http://netvenders.com/blogs/kopkind.php.

What's Happened

At press time, the Woods Hole Film Festival was still going strong.  Several New England participants were featured in last month’s issue but of course that was just a sampling.  Rhode Island native James Ferguson attended with his feature film, Happy Holidays (www.happyholidaysthemovie.com), partially shot in New England.  Catherine Mattingly was present with her documentary, Khoristoria:  The Story of the Yale Russian Chorus.  The premiere was followed by a concert by Chorus alumni. And the CT-based filmmaking duo Carol Dykas and Andy Blood screened My War, My Story


Cori Bright is interviewed in What's Going on Up There? View the trailer here.

After picking up a Special Recognition Award for documentary at the Boston International Film Festival, Maryanne Galvin’s What’s Going on Up There? has traveled the globe.  Recent screenings include the Bridge Fest 2007 (in Canada, Serbia, and Bosnia), and the San Francisco Frozen Film Festival.  Not to be outdone, RIIF extended an invite, too, and slated an August 12th screening.  

Martha’s Vineyard Independent Film Festival is half-way through its Summer Series line-up.  With events for both youth and adults almost every Wednesday in July and August, you can still make time for programs featuring (in person!) director Doug Liman on August 1st, documentarian Alan Berliner on August 8th, director Socheata Poeuv and producer Charles Vogl on August 15th, and screenwriter Naomi Foner Gyllenhaal on August 31st.   The 2008 festival is slated for March and you have until January 2008 to get your films to the Vineyard.  Visit www.mviff.org for current event details and 2008 submissions info. 

In an effort to create a message of ecological responsibility and peace after the tragic murder of University of Vermont student, Michelle Gardner-Quinn, members of her family and a producer decided to create a short film.  In it, several prominent actresses agreed to read the essay Gardner-Quinn submitted to her environmental studies class two days before her disappearance.  The video is posted here.

What Will  Happen

On August 7th, the Devil Music Ensemble (DME) will perform their original score to the silent Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde at the Tabernacle in Trinity Park, Oak Bluffs, Martha’s Vineyard.  Brendon Wood (Tiverton RI), Jonah Rapino (Toledo OH), and Tim Nylander (Portsmouth NH) formed DME in Boston in 1999.  They recently completed a 7-week tour throughout the United States.  Their history together includes stints as a rock trio, Eastern European folk band, country band, a 40-piece orchestral ensemble, and the list goes on.  Learn more about their music at www.devilmusic.org.  About the screening, and others planned by the Martha’s Vineyard Film Society this summer, visit www.mvfilmsociety.com.  


DME specializes in silent film music composition and performance.
[Click to enlarge]

After six years, the New Hampshire Film Expo (aka NHFX) has taken on a new name, the New Hampshire Film Festival.  And guess what?  They are looking for volunteers and submissions!  The fest will take place October 11-14.  Find deadlines and details at www.nhfilmfestival.com

Washington Street Art Center in Somerville, MA is looking for local filmmakers to screen and discuss their work for a monthly series.  Send your reel by August 10th for consideration.  Visit www.washingtonst.org for address or email vrt@crankyflakes.org with questions. 

The Talking Drum used to be a monthly live broadcast of poets, storytellers, rappers, and musicians, airing on Cape Cod Community Television.  And this month the show’s producer/host/house band keyboardist Mwalim (Morgan James Peters) of Mashpee, MA, will be doing the same in a live performance at the National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, NC.  Mwalim is a member of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe in Southeastern, MA. He is also an accomplished filmmaker and the author of A Mixed Medicine Bag: Original Black Wampanoag Folklore.  Visit http://www.mwalim.com/mwalim.htm

Congratulations to Laura Poitras and Jocelyn Glatzer whose film, My Country, My Country was nominated for an Emmy Award in the category of Outstanding Continuing Coverage of a New Story as a part of PBS’s POV series.  NewEnglandFilm.com profiled Boston producer Glatzer in March 2007, when the film was nominated for an Academy Award.   

Filmmaker’s Collaborative hosts independent filmmaking legend Les Blank for an evening of Q&A on August 8th at MIT.  Register at www.filmmakerscollab.org.  Read more about Blank here www.lesblank.com/main.html

If you live on Martha’s Vineyard, word travels fast, and chances are you know that the Martha’s Vineyard International Film Festival has issued a call to local filmmakers, who Think Globally, Shot Locally.  Films should be no longer than three minutes and should address the theme, “About Other Places.”  In addition to a festival screening on September 15th, winning films will get legs on MVOL.com, Plum TV and MVTV following the festival.  Get your shorts in by August 24th for consideration.  Find out how at www.mvfilmfest.com

MIT alums Michael Epstein and Ira Hochman have joined forces to create Untravel Media -- to produce and distribute narrative walking tours for a range of mobile devices, including iPods, cell phones, and DVDs.  They’ve already developed highly successful (and highly interactive) tours of Harvard and the MIT Stata Center.  Think you’d like to give a tour of your ‘hood?  Untravel has issued a call to producers to make mobile media documentaries in the Boston area.  Proposals are due August 31st so check out what it takes at www.untravelmedia.com/rfp.html.  

The CT Gay & Lesbian Film Festival will continue its collaboration with the Trinity College gay-straight student organization, EROS (Encouraging Respect of all Sexualities), to present the Ninth EROS Film Festival in November 2008.  The fest promises to “bring more queer films to Hartford with an emphasis on youth, history and classic films.”  Also, winners from the 2007 CT Gay & Lesbian Film Festival as well as next year’s festival dates can be found at www.OutFilmCT.org.

Post Script

I’m not much of a fan of the editor letter genre but after assembling this month’s issue, a subtle, unplanned theme emerged that I felt compelled to point out: It turns out that mistakes, missteps, even failure can lead to a project that really works. L.L. Lumpkins-O’Bryant’s entire film is about second chances. She lost a complete edit of her film and had to start over. And now she’s premiering at the Roxbury Film Festival.  Happy Monday, Andrew Fillippone Jr.’s experimental documentary, uses sound and film footage from a film he could not finish to launch him into terrain he, and likely his viewers, may never have otherwise imagined.  Randy Steinberg makes a second visit to LA in his ongoing effort to create a niche for himself screenwriting from New England.  Even our feature on lighting shares the theme of try, and try again.  Isn’t there something to knowing that taking second, third, fourth -- even 87th chances can work out?  And better yet, we’re not the only ones counting?  So hang in there and give that shelved project another look.  Then tell NewEnglandFilm.com about how it’s going. - ET

Screenings, festivals, meetings and other events at www.NewEnglandFilm.com/events/