LETTER FROM THE CEO
This past month, a ferocious advocate for LGBTQ rights and a tenacious storyteller was silenced with the passing of activist and archivist Tim McCarthy. He was a 20-year mainstay at the Film Festival capturing hundreds of hours of panel discussions, interviews, and conversations with some of the most famous people on the planet. Yet Tim managed to remain more intriguing than most of his subjects. Somehow, once his camera settled on its subject, this cameraman of inexplicable boisterousness and energy understood when his silence was perhaps his greatest form of speech. The board and staff wish to extend our deepest condolences to Tim’s family and friends. He may be silenced but never forgotten.
As we approach this Thanksgiving holiday, I am appreciative of all the filmmakers, like Tim, whose passion for telling stories make the work that we do here at the film society so meaningful and rewarding. Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of sitting in on a panel discussion at the Creative Exchange organized by the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod where a group of artists (Marion Roth, Anne Stott, and Laura Shabbot) spoke about ‘Overcoming Creative Blocks.’ The common theme shared by each of these artists was that the ‘creative blocks’ paled in comparison to the roadblocks that prevent their work from getting out in the world. At PFS, these stories motivate us even more to discover more opportunities to support artists and to support the work even in the earliest stages. Last month, we had the unique pleasure of presenting a staged reading to a packed house by one of the filmmakers of our 2015 residency program. Shelli Ainsworth worked with local actors including our very own marketing manager Glyne Pease, to present two episodes of her drama series AUNT PHYL.
From the early stages to the fully-realized productions, we are thrilled to launch our 13th Annual Provincetown Film Arts Series, co-presented with the Provincetown Art Association and Museum, another champion of artists in our community. The program is not just a true gem, but an insanely awesome program curated by Provincetown Banner Arts Editor Howard Karren and a PFS Persistence of Vision Award recipient, a well-deserved distinction as evidenced by his selection to kick-off the series, Sergio Leone’s 4 hr and 10 minute fully restored director’s cut of ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA. Imagine a film series with back-to-back screenings of Louis Malle’s ELEVATOR TO THE GALLOWS and Kelly Reichart’s WENDY AND LUCY! I cannot emphasize enough how thoughtful and brilliant this program is. If you can’t get to Provincetown, rent the movies and look for Howard’s lecture notes on our website!
Thank you Howard and thank all of our staff, board, and stakeholders who are making Provincetown a WORTHWHILE destination for creative exploration in film.
Finally, in this Thanksgiving month, I need to acknowledge two unsung heroes in the PFS firmament—our CFO Steven Roderick and our board treasurer Lin Gentemann. Since I started this journey five years ago, Steve and Lin have helped me navigate this organization towards financial stability and accountability. The film society and Provincetown is fortunate to have these folks working hard on our behalf to ensure a better community for all of us.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!
Christine Kunewa Walker, CEO
MEMBER IN THE NEWS:
Whenever one speaks of altruism and charity, it’s no revelation that somewhere in that sentence the name Steve Roderick will appear. So much so, that he was honored last week at Philanthropy Day by Philanthropy Partners of the Cape and Islands for his decades-long past of support to charities throughout the area. The Distinguished Service to Philanthropy highlights four categories to include ‘Outstanding Volunteer’. This is the first time in its’ 20-year run that the honoree was a recipient from the lower cape.
“I worked with the Provincetown Film Society and I have to just kind of say “Wow!” Their CEO Christine Walker, she lights up a room and she makes you want to do more. So much so that I wanted to get the Film Society to start a ‘Democracy in America’ series through film. I knew Christine would be game but I also knew we needed some money; so I went out and applied for a small grant to get us started and now we’re vetting the program. And I’m grateful to them for supporting that.”
In his acceptance speech, on October 30th, Steve humbly reports, “I’ve had so much support. I learned through the McNulty family and the folks at Lobster Pot the importance of giving back, the importance of corporate giving and the importance of just trying to make an impact every day no matter how small it can be. Anyone can volunteer. Volunteer because it gets you vested in the organization.”
At PFS, we are honored to congratulate Steve for the work, love and support he gives to our organization and other nonprofits in The Cape. Thank you Steve, for your service.
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ONE BIG HOME demonstrates the global conversation about ensuring that real estate development practices are conducted for the welfare of the public and the environment, not solely for the highest profit. As a town with a lot of dialogue surrounding the well-being and expansion of its own community, Provincetown is ideal for a screening of ONE BIG HOME. This film encourages discussion around the impact of unfettered, high-profit building projects that threaten not only local residents, but the delicate balance of nature in these secluded vacation towns.
Screenings from November 9 – 11 at 7 PM
Join us November 10 for a special fundraising event and screening with the filmmaker, Thomas Bena
Pre-screening Cocktails, Revere Guest House | 5:30 PM
ONE BIG HOME Screening, Waters Edge Cinema | 7:00 PM
Post-screening Q&A with Thomas Bena and Chris Murphy | 8:30 PM
Reception with the Filmmakers, 1620 Brewhouse | 9:00 PM
Thomas Bena, director
In 2001, while working as a carpenter on Martha’s Vineyard, Thomas founded the Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival. Now in its nineteenth year, the MVFF is a year-round cultural institution. It offers free filmmaking classes in the Island schools, workshops for children, a thriving summer film series, and an annual March film festival. Thomas is looking for land (and/or an old barn) that the MVFF team can convert into a year-round gathering space for the community. In 2004, he started shooting his first documentary feature, One Big Home. The film chronicles his efforts to understand the trend toward extra-large summer homes. It took 12 years to make and has screened in more than 100 venues in the U.S. and abroad, including the National Gallery of Art and the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. Citizens in Honolulu, Vancouver, Truro, and Provincetown have used the film to galvanize support for their own town/city bylaws limiting house size. Thomas has spent almost three years traveling to speak about One Big Home, and continues to do so. The film is also available on iTunes, DVD, and Blu-ray disc. He has recently launched an interactive website to help the conversation continue to grow: www.onebighome.com.
Traveling along side Thomas Bena is CHRIS MURPHY, a life-long fisherman and a powerful voice in ONE BIG HOME. In the film, Chris asks, “What happens to the community of working people…as the community gentrifies into really rich people and their houses?” Join Chris and Thomas as they explore the weight of what overdevelopment can mean to a community.
Cinema 100 Auction Kick-Off Reception
Friday, November 23
4 – 6 PM
CUSP Gallery, 115 Bradford
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.
Why remake a movie four times? What makes A STAR IS BORN such a compelling story? Bradley Cooper (in his directorial debut) takes this well-known tale and gives his audience an updated look on love and loss in the music industry as a mega-star and a star-on-the-rise. Starring in her first ever major film role, Lady Gaga shines in her most impressive performance yet. Joining the likes of Whitney Houston and Barbara Streisand, Lady Gaga is a gift that keeps on giving.
Starring mega-talent Rami Malek, BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY is a foot-stomping celebration of British rock band Queen’s music and their extraordinary lead singer Freddie Mercury. After almost 10 years in production, the long awaited biopic concentrating on the genius of Mercury and the tragedy of his death, this film is sure to rock you.
THE LAUNCH with JULIE ROCKETT
This month’s Launch is about full-time bibliophile and part-time cinephile, Paul Harding. He is the 2009 recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for his celebrated debut novel, Tinkers. He has since written Enon and as of this week he completed his third, as-yet-untitled novel.
Prior to becoming a writer, Paul was a professional drummer and performed with Cold Water Flat. After getting his MFA from Iowa’s Writers’ Workshop, he was a Fellow at Fine Arts Work Center here in Provincetown. But most importantly, he got to be my professor for Fiction Writing at Harvard Extension School. (Just kidding)
Paul’s story is an inspiration to me and many other writers out there. He was let go from his position at Harvard. His wife returned to work to support the family and he became a stay-at-home father. He used those precious minutes while his sons napped to finish his novel. His manuscript was rejected by every publishing house but one, Bellevue Literary Press, a small independent publisher with an office inside Bellevue Hospital. When it was announced that his work was the first independent novel to win since Confederacy of Dunces, The New York Times published a mea culpa to Paul titled, “The One That Got Away.”
I’m a huge fan of tales of perseverance and of the good guy succeeding—and Paul is the protagonist to that feel-good story. It’s a great pleasure to catch up with him and discuss Provincetown and films.
JR: So after graduate school, you joined the Fine Arts Work Center here in Provincetown. Did that time make you feel like you were an honest-to-goodness writer, or maybe you felt that way already at Iowa?
PH: I feel like I didn’t really know how to write in grad school. I wrote the first draft of Tinkers at FAWC. I spent that whole winter trying to turn what I feared was a terrible short story into a terrible novel. But I’m very loyal to the place because it’s the only long-term residency program in the country where you actually get paid. It’s just awesome what they do there. One of the things I loved the most was being on the beaches in the winter and enjoying the light and peace and quiet. And one of the very best parts was being around my cohorts who were visual artists. At the end of a full day of writing, the last thing I want to do is visit Old Colony and stare at another writer over a beer… I really like talking to people who work with a different media about their art. They have a different palette and repertoire and it refreshes your own work.
JR: So what movies have you seen lately?
PH: I just turned 50 and I feel like I’m already a cranky old man (laughs), so not a lot. I did really enjoy James Baldwin’s I’m Not Your Negro. I’m a musical documentary junkie. I will literally watch any documentary about terrible heavy metal bands and love them. The 12-hour documentary about the Eagles? I fucking hate The Eagles but I’ve watched that documentary like ten times. My favorite recent doc was about the jazz trumpet player, Lee Morgan, called I Called Him Morgan. I love to see how bands work. I’m always looking for a good obscure jazz documentary.
JR: What was your first favorite film?
PH: I was twelve or eleven and it was the first Alien movie. I was just obsessed with it from the moment I saw the first ad for it. It was rated R and my mother said that there was no way I was going to see it. I just laid siege to the poor woman day and night until she screamed, “Go see the friggen’ movie!”
I loved that this was a dirty old space ship and it was essentially a bunch of Teamsters working on it and the whole thing is about labor and how they’re being exploited. Management is forcing them to pick up this alien. There’s Harry Dean Stanton and Yaphet Kotto demanding more money… and I loved it. They don’t even show the alien for the first hour and a half. And now if it’s ever on, I just watch. I never tire of it. It’s so immersive and layered. Alien was so nitty gritty. They’re smoking and drinking beers. It’s a space version of noir. It was so wonderfully dingy compared to the pristine look of Star Wars and 2001.
JR: I remember that you’re a fan of films of the 40s and 50s. Is there something about those films that you feel is missing from current films?
PH: I think because of CGI there’s so much pure spectacle and you don’t rely on the nuances of the story as much. I’m a big fan of Val Lewton films. He made these low budget horror movies but he wasn’t interested in horror. So he turned them into these existential movies about alienated people. Horror took a back seat to these intricate stories about loners. I guess I like the way that filmmakers treated the subjects that were on the population’s minds during that time.
JR: Have any films influenced your novels?
PH: That’s a good question… hmm, let me think. Nah. (laughs) I think it’s because one of the ways I know that my writing has gone wrong in some way or another is when I suddenly feel like you could film it. Like the interiority of the characters is coexisting with the exterior.
JR: What are some of your favorite films?
PH: When push comes to shove one of my top three films is the early Stanley Kubrick movie, Paths of Glory, with Kirk Douglas. It has to be the best anti-war movie ever made. It’s so concentrated, it’s like a play. It’s beautifully filmed and it floored me. I’m fond of paranoid Cold War movies like Seven Days In May and Dr. Strangelove. I also really like those films from the 70s where Boston and New York were characters, back when the city was really dirty and shitty. Like Friends of Eddie Coyle, it’s so just so nasty and gritty and beautiful. But the thing is Eddie had no friends! I have a soft spot for actual family films, ones that aren’t specifically directed at only kids like Back to the Future and Labyrinth with David Bowie. It was stupid but it was kind of great, too. One of my secret shame movies that I watch and practically burst into tears every time I see it is Peggy Sue Got Married.
JR: I love that movie!
PH: Literally every time Peggy Sue sees her mother when she’s young I practically cry like a baby.
JR: Thank you, Paul! I hope we get you back to Provincetown very soon!
PH: Me too! It’d be great to visit. Hopefully soon!
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