LETTER FROM THE CEO
One of the privileges of working in the non-profit sector is that we get a chance to work with and be inspired by passionate individuals who genuinely want to improve the common good of society. One of those prized individuals is Rick McCarthy, with whom I have had the privilege of working both as a fellow board member and as a true partner, in his capacity as chair of the board of the film society. After more than eight years of service, December marks Rick’s final month on the board. During those years, Rick served as a sounding board, mentor, role model and friend to me and his fellow board members demonstrating in deed and action that above all, service of any kind should be a joyful and uplifting endeavor. While Rick will remain on our Emeritus Board, I have no doubt that Rick will continue to pursue new ways to serve the causes that he cares about so deeply. Because of Rick, PFS and the world is indeed a better place.
Fortunately, there are others who share the same passion and enthusiasm for doing good in the world and we’re pleased to welcome new board member Christine Barker and advisory board members Javier Morgado and Wynn Salisch to the team.
Christine is one of those super women who pretty much excel at everything they do and make it seem effortless in the process. As founder and principal at Ecotekture Development and Design and a real estate investor and developer, Barker is helping us to advance the spirit of social entrepreneurship and innovation that are the hallmarks of a thriving organization.
In his role as Executive Producer of CNN’s New Day Show and former positions at NBC and Latina Magazine, advisory board member Javier Morgado combines his strong business and marketing skills with his passion for truth telling in the media and supporting LGBTQ rights and serving communities of color. Fortunately for us, Javier also has a passion for John Waters and the Provincetown Film Festival which will be greatly enriched with his involvement. Wynn Salisch brings more than 50 years of experience of directing more than 1,000 motion picture exhibition operations worldwide, but his passion for preserving the integrity and social function of the art house theater in all communities is what makes Salisch’s willingness to serve as a mentor to our key cinema staff so meaningful and impactful. While all these new board members bring a diverse set of skills and talents to the organization, they share a common attribute– a desire to make the world a better place.
Christine, Javier and Wynn join an illustrious group of board and advisory board members, all of whom are doing extraordinary work, but I need to acknowledge the work of advisory board member and Sundance Festival Director John Cooper who along with Sundance Director of Programming Kim Yutani (a former programmer at PIFF) recently announced important institutional changes in their staffing, programming and tracking that I strongly believe will have a significant and meaningful impact on the number of films directed by women and people of color. Given their stature on the world stage, John and Kim are making bold moves that actually validate and further enables the work that we are doing at PFS.
2019 holds tremendous promise. We are excited to announce a whole slew of new programs in the New Year. Prior to that, you will receive our annual appeal letter or email requesting your much needed support. Until then, from the board, advisory board and staff at PFS, we wish for you the better world that we continue to work and strive for.
Christine Kunewa Walker, CEO
MEMBER IN THE NEWS:
ILENE MITNICK & ALLI BALDWIN
Film Society members since 2013, these two go hand-in-hand, everywhere, all the time. It’s impossible for us to choose to highlight just one of them without the other. Ilene Mitnick and Alli Baldwin, owners of Roux Provincetown, have been loyal members of the film society since they came to town 5 years ago. In fact you’ll find they are loyal to several charities on The Cape that they support including hosting the country’s largest annual lesbian wedding event – Bride Pride.
Like the Pilgrims before them, Alli and Ilene quickly became fixtures of Ptown from the moment they landed. Lucky for us they are avid lovers of all-things-film and have been known to sponsor everything at PFS from the annual honoree dinner for the film festival, to the Women’s Residency Program at the Provincetown Institute and the only annual Women’s Media Summit in the country.
On any given Sunday, one can see these two in the audience of the Waters Edge Cinema with popcorn awaiting the scheduled screening – or better yet smell them donned in their fragrant healing & essential oils from doTERRA – Ilene in her cloche hat and Alli most likely in a captain’s cap. It saddens us to say that these sightings will soon be coming to an end as they embark on a new journey to Sarasota Florida. Always in our hearts, their spirit will continue to fill the seats and we look forward to annual returns at Film Festival time. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you Alli & Ilene for your loyalty and everlasting support.
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Let’s all go to PIFF 2019!
Submissions for the 2019 Provincetown Film Festival are NOW OPEN!
Join us for this 5-day film festival, from June 12—16. Each year, we showcase independent film in America’s first art colony and celebrate the power of artists who continue to operate outside the mainstream.
Now in its 21st successful year, PIFF has permanently established itself as the largest cultural event in lower Cape Cod and Provincetown’s premier cultural event, attracting 10,000 plus film-goers, movie buffs, and arts patrons. This festival showcases over 100 American and international independent narrative, documentary and animated features and shorts as well as panel discussions and special events.
ONE BIG HOME at WATERS EDGE CINEMA
Last month, Thomas Bena, Executive Director of Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival and documentary filmmaker, screened his ground-breaking film, One Big Home, at Waters Edge Cinema. Over ten years in the making, Bena’s film touches on the critical implications of building “mega-mansions” on already limited coastal lands, unnecessarily taxing resources and infrastructure in the townships throughout the cape and islands.
You may wonder, ‘what impact can be made with one person and an independent film?’ But thanks to filmmakers like Bena and the vision of OBH, in 2017 Truro passed a bylaw limiting house size in the National Seashore District; a bylaw now implemented town-wide.
PFS thanks Thomas and OBH for coming to Waters Edge Cinema to provide diverse and engaging dialogue around engaging, independent cinema for the community of Provincetown.
December 11, 2018 – 6:30 p.m. Barrington Public Library, Barrington, RI
January 17, 2019 – 7:00 p.m. Chelsea Theater Chapel Hill, NC
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.
Director and American artist, Julian Schnabel, has this to say about his biographic drama on Van Gogh’s life as a painter: “This is a film about painting and a painter and their relationship to infinity. It is told by a painter. It contains what I felt were essential moments in his life; this is not the official history – it’s my version. One that I hope could make you closer to him.”
Playing this month in The Provincetown Film Art Series
Curated and hosted by Howard Karren, Arts Editor of the Provincetown Banner
ELEVATOR TO THE GALLOWS
Louis Malle’s first fiction feature gives American noir an early New Wave twist. It’s about two young lovers, Florence and Julien, who have planned the murder of the Florence’s husband, who is Julien’s boss. Totally atmospheric, with its Miles Davis score, the movie helped to turn Moreau into a screen icon. Co-written and directed by Louis Malle, with Jeanne Moreau and Maurice Ronet, in French with English subtitles.
THANK YOU TO ALL WHO BID
THE LAUNCH with JULIE ROCKETT
This month’s Launch subject is documentary filmmaker, Nora Shapiro. I hope you were able to see Shapiro’s documentary TIME FOR ILHAN during PIFF 2018. If so, you were most likely delighted by the story of former refugee Ilhan Omar’s successful run for Minnesota State Representative.
Prior to becoming a filmmaker, Norah attended Tufts University (Go Jumbos!) and became a lawyer, working for years as a public defender. We discussed how her unique background gives her an advantage in filmmaking. We also discussed the importance of saving binge-worthy entertainment for the darkest of winter days.
JR: Your documentary TIME FOR ILHAN won our Audience Award for Best Documentary and I believe this was one of some of the awards you’ve accrued this year.
NS: Yes, we won the audience award at Duluth Superior Film Festival and Best US Feature Documentary at The Hot Springs Film Festival.
JR: Working in social media for PIFF, I saw that your film was so popular whenever we posted about it.
NS: And that was before her latest political development. Now she has so many more followers and it’s been amazing to see Ilhan’s profile grow.
JR: How was your experience at Provincetown Film Festival?
NS: I loved it! It was one of the highlights of this year’s festival run for us. It was an enchanting experience and I feel that the festival does everything right.
JR: — I am definitely going to quote you on that!
NS: I mean it. We loved it. They had the right balance… the audience, the way things were staffed, the way filmmakers were treated. It was just really enchanting. And I loved the bikes! We biked everywhere! The whole thing was just a fabulous experience.
JR: In picking your subject, Ilhan Omar, it seems to be a case of divine timing. She’s a former refugee, a Muslim, a mother, a feminist… all things that have been vilified recently. It’s not really a question, but I want to thank you for shining a light on this dynamic person who is so many of the things that some people mistakenly fear.
NS: Well, thank you, first of all. People joke, ‘Do you know how to predict the future?’ or ‘Do you have a crystal ball?’ I picked Ilhan for the reasons you cited. Not because I knew or had a strong feeling that she was going to win. I knew it was going to be a lens for looking at all those things that you identified. I also knew that she was a rising star, whether she won the election or not.
She was a complete underdog when we started to work with her and we couldn’t predict if she’d win, but we hoped she would. I chose to make this film because she was a refugee, and Muslim, and a woman, but her winning became this wonderful bonus to an already extraordinary story.
We had discussed about her pursuing a spot in US Congress someday. Our time line for that was far longer than we thought it would be. And that was a surprise for all of us, but hey, everything that has happened politically in the past few years has been a surprise. I just feel very grateful that it worked out and we were able to capture this moment and illuminate something that turned out to be much bigger.
JR: You’re also a lawyer. Has being a lawyer helped you as a filmmaker?
NS: Yes, I was a public defender and that is a particular type of lawyering and a particular skill set. Those skills are helpful in getting you to ask tough questions or in dealing with conflict and stress. It allows me to synthesize and utilize information quickly and negotiate when resources are less than ideal. Certainly, not being daunted by hearing the word ‘no’ was a major plus that I learned during my time as a public defender.
JR: Was there a documentary that inspired you?
NS: Barbara Kopple’s work HARLAN COUNTY, U.S.A. was a documentary that really highlighted the intersection between my previous work as a public defender and with social justice work and what was possible in the film world. I also loved her Dixie Chick’s movie SHUT UP & SING.
I also loved HOOP DREAMS. Another major influence on TIME FOR ILHAN was STREET FIGHT by Marshall Curry about Cory Booker’s mayoral campaign.
JR: Is there someone that you would love to work with?
NS: If I could follow Barbara Kopple around that would be great. I just saw her most recent documentary and it was so lovely. It was about a camp in Canada for refugee children. It reminded me how much I love her filmmaking.
JR: Have you binged any podcasts lately?
NS: I like the podcasts that are in the crime realm like SERIAL and IN THE DARK. It’s an area that I’m considering for a future project. I’m producing a film about Jacob Wetterling case. When we started the project, it was a 26-year-old unsolved case about a missing boy. In the course of making the film, the case was solved. It’s directed by TIME FOR ILHAN’s Director of Photography. And we focus on Jacob’s remarkable, resilient mother throughout it.
JR: And what about TV binges?
NS: I’m a big fan of THE NEW YORKER’s Emily Nussbaum and I usually like anything she recommends. I read her review of an Australian series called PLEASE LIKE ME. And now I’m nuts about it. I’m also loving MY BRILLIANT FRIEND. I’m saving the second season of THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL. I’m waiting for the dark days of a Minnesota winter to watch those episodes.
JR: Lastly, are there any other projects you’re working on?
NS: Yes! I’ve got something to announce. I’m gonna say it out loud and make it real! It doesn’t have a name yet, but it is beyond the glimmer in my eye. It is going to be a short documentary. It is the story of the first-in-the-nation physical memorial to survivors of sexual violence. It is being developed here in Minneapolis. I’ll work with the woman heading up this memorial project. It’ll be an investigation into what is being memorialized and why, and for whom the memorial is for and what the significance of this memorial is for the community.
JR: I can’t wait to see it. I hope you return to Ptown and show it.
NS: That would be great!