Pecker’s Point: October


The Women in Leadership Conference for the Alturas Institute Pictured from left to right: [TOP] Carole Geitner (Author of IF ONLY), Jeanette Schneider (Financial Analyst, Activist and Author of LORE), Caroline Heldman (Professor, Activist, Lead Researcher of the Geena Davis Institute, Co-Chair of the Women’s Media Summit), Laurie Sammis (Publisher), Gina Bennett (Senior Counter Terrorism Analyst for the CIA) // [BOTTOM] Elizabeth Gutting (Program Director of the Pen/Faulkner Foundation), Christine Walker (Executive Director of PFS), Jody Williams (Nobel Peace Laureate), Joanne Freeman (Yale Professor and Hamilton Scholar)
It’s a widely-held secret that October in Provincetown is the best time of year. The streets are still bustling with part-time residents and tourists. All the shops, restaurants and galleries are still open. We continue to enjoy great performances at our music and theater venues in town, and at the cinema, its that time when awards season kicks into high gear and the race to program the top awards contenders is underway.

The heavy-weight champion in this arena is our long-time former artistic director Connie White of Balcony Booking who enters the ring of high stakes film buying on behalf of ours and dozens of other theaters across the country. Securing the top titles in independent cinema at a small theater when distributors are aiming for the greatest worldwide exposure is not easy, but Connie, who is a bit of a legend in the field for her work at the highly regarded Brattle Theater and preeminent Coolidge Corner Theatre in Boston, and for founding the Art House Convergence, has the leverage, talent and respect from her peers that allows her to deliver a quality program week-after-week.

This month, in addition to our stellar new release programming, we are excited about our upcoming Women’s Week Series held October 8 – 14th during one of the largest annual events for lesbian women in the country. Following our June festival, programming for this week is a reinvigorating activity as we search for fun but impactful material. With fewer titles than the June festival, we get a chance to spend more time with the visiting filmmakers more often than not leading to conversations throughout the week and beyond. Come and meet our visiting artists on Thursday, October 11 at 7 p.m. followed by a staged reading of Shelli Ainsworth’s scripted series AUNT PHYL. Shelli is a 2015 Women’s Residency Fellow.

Another not-to-be missed conversation will be held on Wednesday, October 10 at 2 p.m. with former Banner Editor and author of BOLT RISK Ann Wood, Fine Arts Work Center poet Sophie Starmack, award-winning playwright and activist Myra Slotnick, and stand-up comic and LEZ BOMB actor AB Cassidy. All will talk about the profound and revolutionary impact of Hannah Gadsby’s NANETTE and the ways in which the program has become a cultural touchstone for a current generation of artists.

Another cultural touchstone was The Laramie Project, a play about the horrific 1988 murder of gay student Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyoming. Now in its 20th year, the play and subsequent emmy-award winning film raised the conversation about LGBTQ equality and justice to a national level. This month, the play will be performed at The Provincetown Theater with several ‘Talk Back’ forums that are aimed at continuing to raise awareness and prevention of hate crimes for our communities on the Cape and perhaps the entire northeast. On October 14th, I am honored to lead one of the forums with writer director and Provincetown Theater Artistic Director David Drake.
(Click here to purchase tickets.)

It’s astounding and sad that a 20-year old play about hate and injustice is as relevant today as ever. Luckily, Provincetown endures as a haven for artists fighting on the front lines of injustice in America, communicating empathy and compassion through art and culture.

Here’s hoping to see you all at the movies,
Christine Kunewa Walker, CEO


As we pondered the ideas and creations that have provided substance to our community, the Women’s Media Summit soon in its third year has been an indubitable success. It was the first annual women’s summit pertaining to entertainment media in the country launching a year prior to TimesUp and the #MeToo Movement. The white paper (written by summit organizers) that crowned the event has subsequently been used by organizations around the country as a template to move these important initiatives forward.

Ahead of her time, Judy Cicero, raised a family and a legacy; she was a woman from a past generation that challenged convention of the male dominated conventions of career, activism and education. She refused to settle for less and set the example for women everywhere that everything we can do matters. She christened the inaugural Women’s Media Summit with her leadership, feminism and wisdom. With gratitude and humility we honor Judy…we shall remember her by carrying this great initiative forward.

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Each year, our Honoree conversations begin with our Honoree Reels—video compilations of the year’s Filmmaker on the Edge, Excellence in Acting Recipient, or Next Wave Award’s best work throughout their career. Through these reels, we hope to exemplify why we honor these artists, how they continue to be on the edge of creation and innovation, and the exciting things we can expect from them in the future. Now you can enjoy this year’s Honoree Reels over and over on our YouTube channel!


Rep your favorite film festival year round with our 20th Anniversary festival gear! Buy now for 20% off on all hats, t-shirts, and bags!  [BUY NOW]

In 2015, PFS launched the first Women Filmmaker’s Residency Program in the country in response to the alarming lack of gender parity in U.S. Entertainment Media. Since then, awareness surrounding the issue has been bolstered by the #MeToo and Times Up movements. Still, as Frances McDormand put it so eloquently, “we all have stories to tell and projects need financed.” Come get inspired by the great work that our past and present residents are doing and let’s figure out ways to provide continued support. Join some of our visiting Residents and the Women’s Week Filmmakers in conversation, education, and film appreciation.

Cocktails and appetizers will be served.
Suggested Donation: $50
Sponsored by Inn at Cook Street



AUNT PHYL shares the story of a smart, independent young woman from a mid-century factory town, where the most common ambition among her class -of-’49 high school peers is an engagement ring upon graduation. Through the support of a few like-minded friends, she defies the social, sexual mores of the time, all the while seeking – and finding – her own dazzling and often fraught version of The American Dream.

An episodic series visually inspired by early television, AUNT PHYL was conceived during the inaugural Women’s Residency in 2015. The first two episodes will undergo a dramatic reading during this years’ Women’s Week.

Shelli Ainsworth is an award winning writer/director whose narrative feature STAY THEN GO was featured at the 2014 Provincetown Film Festival.

THURS, OCT 11 @ 7:30 PM


“NANETTE should be required viewing if you’re a human being” wrote comedian Tig Notaro to New York Times writer Melena Ryzik and we agree! “Join us for a shared screening and what promises to be a lively and engaging discussion about what Ryzik goes on to describe as “a Netflix special that is the most talked-about, written-about, shared-about comedy act in years, exquisitely timed to the #MeToo era.” Together, let’s explore the reasons why!

Moderator: Ann Wood
Panelists: Myra Slotnick, AB Cassidy, and Sophia Starmack

Ann Wood Ann is a freelance editor and writer, the former award-winning editor of the Provincetown Banner and the author of the novel ‘Bolt Risk.’ She lives in Provincetown year-round.
Myra Slotnick Myra is a proud member of the Dramatist Guild, an award winning playwright and activist. Her plays The Weight of Water, The Shadow Child and The Beachcomber Boys (Book & Lyrics) have enjoyed productions and workshops in Provincetown, NYC and LA. Myra was also a stand-up comic from 1990-’95 and was a regular at Catch a Rising Star, The Laugh Factory and appeared on television in Comedy On The Road with John Byner…ah, those were the days.
AB Cassidy AB is a stand up comedian, writer, actor, and professional lesbian originally hailing from the South Shore of Massachusetts. Now based in Los Angeles, AB performs all over the country with major comics like Carlos Mencia and Tig Notaro. She recently won both the juror and audience award at the San Gabriel Valley Pride Comedy Festival. Catch AB alongside Cloris Leachman and Bruce Dern in her latest feature, LEZ BOMB which is currently sweeping up accolades in the festival circuit.
Sophia Starmack Sophia was a 2014-15 Poetry Fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, where she currently serves as Writing Fellowship Coordinator. Her poetry and essays have appeared in Barrow Street, Best New Poets, The Threepenny Review, and other publications. Her poetry chapbook, The Wild Rabbit, was published in 2015.



A non-profit arthouse cinema, operating year-round, and contributing to Provincetown’s tradition as America’s oldest and most vital art colony. Located on the mezzanine between the 2nd and 3rd floor of Whalers Wharf.

Award-winning comedy by the director of the smash-hit short film GIRL NIGHT STAND, LEZ BOMB is a multigenerational comedy of errors featuring a young woman (Lauren) who comes home for the holidays with some life changing news. Little does Lauren know, the eccentric cast of characters have their own stirring surprises as well. The result is a hilarious turn of events forcing the family to come together in a ceremonious series of coincidences. As it turns out, there is no good time to drop the Lez Bomb. Filmmakers scheduled to appear.

A candid documentary that features nine, engaging women who share their stories about being in heterosexual marriages, discovering their feelings for women, coming out, and changing their lives. It is an intimate look at the challenges and triumphs of their journey. Filmmaker scheduled to appear at all screenings.
CLAMBAKE charts the growth of Women’s Week in Provincetown, now celebrating it’s 35th Anniversary, from its inception to the thriving lesbian mecca it is today. Documenting its 30-year journey through archival footage, photos and interviews with celebrities and organizers, the film casts a historical and hysterical look at what a few innovative women can accomplish. Filmmaker scheduled to appear at all screenings.

PIFF 2017 excellence in acting award recipient and Academy Award (R) nominee Chloë Sevigny (Boys Don’t Cry, “Big Love”) stars as Lizzie Borden, the notorious woman at the heart of one of the most enduring mysteries in American history. After a lifetime of loneliness, Lizzie finds a kindred spirit in housemaid Bridget Sullivan (Kristen Stewart) and their secret intimacy sparks an unthinkable act. Director Craig William Macneill (The Boy (2015), “Channel Zero: Candle Cove”) explores the days leading up to the savage crimes in a dark tale of repression, exploitation and thwarted dreams.

Led by a standout performance from Ana Brun, The Heiresses takes a thoroughly compelling look at lives little explored by mainstream cinema. Chela and Chiquita, both descended from wealthy families in Asunción, Paraguay, have been together for over 30 years. But recently their financial situation has worsened and they begin selling off their inherited possessions. But when their debts lead to Chiquita being imprisoned on fraud charges, Chela is forced to face a new reality. Driving for the first time in years, she begins to provide a local taxi service to a group of elderly wealthy ladies. As Chela settles into her new life, she encounters the much younger Angy, forging a fresh and invigorating new connection. Chela finally begins to break out of her shell and engage with the world, embarking on her own personal, intimate revolution.

Lovers of film and filmmakers wanting to connect, come enjoy snacks and meet the filmmakers of this year’s 2018 Women’s Week Film Festival and so many other talented filmmakers/heroes in our midst. Learn about upcoming projects and enjoy snacks and delicious beverages.

Thur, October 11 @ 7 PM
Waters Edge Cinema
(237 Commercial St, 2nd Fl)


Julie Rockett
Dawn Smith

Dawn Smith is a freelance political ad producer, which she affectionately refers to as her, “personal form of resistance.” She took time from her very busy Midterm election schedule to discuss films with us.

In addition to making political advertisements she is a writer and filmmaker. She has developed a web series called PAID FOR BY, an episode of which was an official selection for the 2018 Provincetown Film Festival.

She’s is also working on a pilot with Boston-based Comic Kelly McFarland about a comic dealing with OCD and anxiety and how she uses humor to help open herself up to new experiences and to not having to control everything.
Dawn’s love of movies is entwined were her fascinating ‘origin story’. Dawn was raised in an evangelical cult founded by her Grandfather called The Assembly. She said, “I feel like my Grandfather did so much damage that helping people to get out the vote and making people laugh is my way of counteracting that.” This past year she spoke about her childhood and her defection in a TED Talk and during The Moth Radio Hour.


JR: I don’t think you can say how you became interested in films without discussing your own background.

DS: Exactly. I was raised in a hyper-conservative evangelical cult. So movies and television were not allowed. I grew up without a TV. We could listen a very limited amount of religious music, but Amy Grant was considered too secular and worldly to listen to.
We were supposed to behave a certain way because my father was a church elder and ‘uphold our family’s testimony.’ Which essentially means don’t screw up your reputation.

JR: It sounds a little ‘Gilead’ [City from Handmaid’s Tale].

DS: Absolutely. Watching Handmaid’s Tale evokes so many memories. It’s such a good show but at the same time it stresses me out. That said, my parents were actually pretty good about sneaking us out to good movies.
From a young age they really, albeit secretly, taught me to love film. I remember leaving the house at what I thought was really late, it was probably 7 pm, and they took us to see E.T. I think I fell asleep during it but what really excited me was the event of it all. But then, we weren’t allowed to discuss it with anyone, which was rough.

JR: Was your mother supportive as well?

DS: We went to a special school and my mother was the principal. My Mother had a Masters Degree from Cal State Fullerton, which was unheard of in our group. She was an amazing educator and she would occasionally borrow a film projector from the local library and we’d have Film Fridays. The local library only had three films and we watched them over and over.

JR: Do you remember the films?

DS: Yes. There was a short named Bambi Meets Godzilla.

JR: I love that one! But it’s really dark. I can’t believe little religious kids were watching it.

DS: It is totally dark and we loved it so much! We also watched Laurel and Hardy’s Music Box about piano movers, which I also thought was hilarious. And finally there was this weird Appaloosa horse movie which I don’t remember much about.

JR: And nobody objected?

DS: Strangely enough, no… but those movies were such an escape. That’s when I fell in love with film. Later, I was allowed to go to a public high school and I had a British literature teacher who was a great mentor to me. He loved my writing and fostered it. But writing short stories and writing about non-religious subjects was verboten and I had to keep that under wraps. He showed us a few scenes from Monty Python’s Holy Grail. I had never seen that film or heard of Monty Python but I laughed so hard that I was convulsing with tears. Everyone stopped watching the film and started watching me. It was so fun and so irreverent that I thought I was going straight to hell for watching it.

JR: When did you start seeing films regularly?

DS: During the summers my parents would take us on mission trips. They would let us watch TV and movies. They actually loved TV and they would rent films for us all summer. They actually had good taste in films. Like I saw, The Birds, and we saw some classic Westerns. And even though, they were super conservative, I distinctly remember them watching MASH every night after they thought we were asleep.

JR: So you finally left The Assembly for good after college.

DS: Yes, it was then that I started to really binge films. The tough thing about being in a cult is that when you are out on your own, you have to figure out what the world is actually like for yourself. You can no longer rely on parents or others for advice. So I started reading Nora Ephron’s books and saw ‘When Harry Met Sally.’ I loved her voice. She was a strong woman who had gone through a lot and had retained a sense of humor about her.

JR: What filmmakers influence you now?

DS: Yes, they’re a bunch of women filmmakers that I love right now. I saw Desiree Akhavan’s The Miseducation of Cameron Post at the Ptown Film Fest. Vera Fermiga’s Higher Ground… I wish Lake Bell would write and direct more because I loved In A World. I loved A Fine Line and I was so happy to be featured with them during PIFF.
Cinematographers Reed Morano and Rachel Morrison…Loved Morano’s work directing The Handmaid’s Tale, can’t wait to see I Think We’re Alone Now, she’s an amazing cinematographer. If I ever meet Rachel Morrison I will explode. Loved her work on Mudbound. Dee Rees is a writer/director that keeps me inspired, and excited to see what she does next.

Last but not least, Gillian Robespierre. She wrote/directed Obvious Child and Landline, and has also directed television. I thought she did a marvelous job directing an episode of Crashing on HBO, and I’m keeping my eye on her. I get so excited seeing so many talented, hard working, funny women getting work.

To find out more about Dawn and her upcoming projects visit her website or see her 2018 TED Talk.