LETTER FROM THE CEO
Five years ago, shortly after I assumed the role of CEO to the film society, we made the difficult decision to suspend daily programming at the Waters Edge Cinema during the winter months. Theater attendance in this largely seasonal town was simply not enough to support the cost of staff, heating, and exhibition fees necessary to run the theater and our debt was mounting. Needless to say, the public outcry was palpable, but it led to a greater awareness and appreciation on the communities and our part about the extent to which we take for granted the local arthouse cinema and the value that we place in these institutions of cultural engagement.
Thanks to a number of folks who rallied to come up with a variety of solutions and the resources to execute, the cinema has not shuttered its door for any extended period of time since. In fact, by building a marquee, boosting our visibility, working on new sources of revenue and increasing our summer programming, we were able to increase attendance and buck a national trend of cinema closures. Since 1995, the number of cinema sites in the U.S. has declined from 7719 to 5700, a reduction of 26%. Many of these theaters were dedicated solely to independent film.
The fact that we’re not only still here, but have been able to show a profit, gives cause for celebration. 2019 marks the 100-year anniversary of independent cinema in Provincetown. The Provincetown Theater, a 600-seat venue was built at our current location in 1919. To commemorate this incredible milestone, Cinema 100 will include a series of special programs, events, and activities throughout the year, celebrating not just the brick and mortar structure that we currently call the Waters Edge Cinema, but the dedicated space to arthouse cinema and what it represents to our community and to communities around the world.
In his Golden Globes acceptance speech for his film “Roma”, Alessandro Cuaron said, “Cinema at its best…builds bridges to another culture. As we grow these bridges, we begin to realize that while they may be strange, they are not unfamiliar. We begin to understand exactly how much we have in common.” Without the curated experience of the arthouse cinema, thousands of brilliant films like these would not make it into our local communities let alone the public consciousness. Yet, perhaps and even more importantly, local arthouse cinemas have the opportunity to reflect back the tapestry of its local denizens. Over the holidays prior to the feature film programs, we screened a short gem of a film BECAUSE YOU’RE HERE about local town fixture Kenny Lonergan, directed by Mike Syers, a part-time resident and first time filmmaker who is actually a successful executive in the financial industry. While Mike may not be a celebrated director like Cuaron, he shares a common bond, a desire to reflect back the stories of the people in their lives who inspire and move them. We have the chance to share those stories—more than 1,000 times per year, in fact.
At the 2016 PFS Persistence of Vision award dinner, former film writer with Premiere Magazine and The Provincetown Banner Arts Editor Howard Karren also spoke of the opportunity that a darkened theater affords the audience to engage one-on-one with the filmmakers in the exact same environment in which the author envisioned. Ask anyone who loves film where they discovered their love of film and they will tell you – at the movies!!!
Cinema 100 at the Provincetown Film Society will reflect the local and far-reaching relevance of the arthouse cinema. In addition to special filmmaker screenings, among other activities will be a May Jamaica On Film festival celebrating the films, music, and food of one of the fastest growing communities in Provincetown. During the 2019 film festival, we’re excited about collaborating with Twenty Summers to present a restored version of the 1919 film DIFFERENT FROM THE OTHERS, the first pro-gay film ever produced at the historic Hawthorne Barn; a screening and lecture series on Democracy with a special superstar guest to be announced; a cinema wine dinner hosted by the famed renegade chef Barbara Lynch, an out-of-control crazy fun gala, and a Go Fund Me Campaign with lots of fun incentives to upgrade our cinema and ensure a quality screening experience in Provincetown for the next 100 years!
Finally, let me start the New Year sharing Golden Globe emcee Sandra Oh’s excitement for this moment of change that in my mind will only get brighter. Ms. Oh, “We see you! We see you!
Happy New Year!
Christine Kunewa Walker, CEO
MEMBER IN THE NEWS:
BAILEY BOB BAILEY
The first new member of the Provincetown Film Society for 2019 is Bailey Bob Bailey. If one were to Google this month’s Member-in-the-News, you’d find that he is incredibly accomplished having received awards from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation and Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. He has been a fellow at The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown twice; he received his MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University in sculpture and studied furniture design and woodworking at the Wendell Castle School, in Scottsville, NY.
He has exhibited internationally in Australia, at the Melbourne Art Fair; in Japan; in New York City at Proteus Gowanus in Brooklyn; in Hudson, NY at the Carrie Haddad Gallery; at Art Basel in Miami Beach; at the Farside Gallery; and the Gregory Lind Gallery in San Francisco. Bailey had exhibitions at the Provincetown Art Association and Museum; the Higgins Art Gallery of the Cape Cod Community College and at String Gallery, Wells College in Aurora, NY and he was a founding member/owner of artSTRAND, a gallery in Provincetown, MA. He lives with his wife Breon Dunigan, a sculptor, in Truro.
When we asked Steve Roderick, PFS CFO for a quote on one of his favorite artists, he said, “my art collection has more pieces from Bob Bailey than any other artist; not only is he an amazing artist and spectacular person, but he has a true gift for exhibition; he is a puzzle-master of sorts and can curate a show like no other person I have seen”.
We’re honored to add Bob to our growing list of members.
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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.
REGULAR DEADLINE IS JANUARY 15! SUBMIT YOUR FEATURE OR SHORT TODAY!
BECAUSE YOU’RE HERE at WATERS EDGE CINEMA
Last month, we were lucky enough to welcome Mike Syers and Kenny Lonergan, director and subject of Because You’re Here—winner of Best New England Short Film at the 2018 Provincetown Film Festival—back to Waters Edge Cinema for a special run of screenings prior to the new year.
Thanks to independent, art-house theaters like Waters Edge Cinema, stories like Because You’re Here can tell a story about the community in a space where they can enjoy it together. The cinema becomes a social center for sharing traditions, engaging in discourse, and learning empathy.
Special thanks to Mike and Kenny for joining us for a special Q&A screening, and many thanks to all the filmmakers who have joined us at Waters Edge this past year!
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.
From the mind of Adam McKay (writer/director of The Big Short) comes VICE, the story of Dick Cheney during his tenure as the power-wielding Vice President of the United States, who was often described as one of the most seemly unassuming men in Washington. Christian Bale gives a powerhouse performance as Cheney, becoming almost unrecognizable as he succeeds in disappearing into the character. True to his reputation, Bale does not disappoint, and gives one of his most memorable performances to date.
Playing this month in The Provincetown Film Art Series
Curated and hosted by Howard Karren, Arts Editor of the Provincetown Banner
A FLASH OF GREEN (1984)—A tonic fable for the Trump era: a small-town reporter on the rural Florida coast resists manipulation by corporate polluters and sides with an environmental activist. Victor Nunez (Ulee’s Gold), a quietly brilliant regional Florida filmmaker, once again heralds the extraordinary bravery of ordinary people. Written and directed by Victor Nunez, based on John D. MacDonald’s novel, with Ed Harris and Blair Brown. (131 minutes)
SALT OF THE EARTH (2014)—Wim Wenders fashions a documentary portrait of the great Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado—a man who has captured the plight of the world’s poor with apocalyptic beauty—with the help of Salgado’s son. Co-written and directed by Wim Wenders and Juliano Ribeiro Salgado, With Sebastião Salgado, in French and Portuguese with English subtitles. (110 minutes)
CELEBRATING 100 YEARS OF CINEMA IN PROVINCETOWN
THE LAUNCH with JULIE ROCKETT
You probably know Danny Franzese best from his iconic role as Damian from Mean Girls or Eddie in HBO’s Looking. In just a few years, he’s gone from open mic to headliner with his stand-up comedy. He’s also managed to be a vocal advocate for HIV education and treatment in his role as an ambassador for The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation.
We were fortunate enough to speak with him about how he got his first film role, his adventures in Hollywood, and why Gremlins 2 is a political commentary designed for our times.
Danny was discovered in a gay club in Ft. Lauderdale called, ‘The Copa.’ He said, “There’s a legendary radio ad from the 80s that says Madonna’s coming one weekend and Divine’s coming the following weekend. The Copa was dingy by the time it got to me but there were still great acts and different people coming through there. I was doing musical theatre at the time.
“At the time, I hadn’t come out and had never been to a gay club. I was performing as Harry in A Tree Grows In Brooklyn and one of my castmate’s partners was a famous drag queen. I went to see him at the Copa that night and there was a talent show. After that, I would perform each weekend after that and some months that would pay my rent.
“One weekend, filmmakers were scouting locations for the film Bully. I got up the courage to speak to the filmmakers who asked if I had seen the film, Kids. I just started quoting the film for them. Long story, short, Bully was a true crime story and I looked exactly like the real guy. I ended up getting cast a week later.”
He worked on the film Stateside with Penny Marshall and Carrie Fisher. He tells me that Carrie and he became close and she invited him to her birthday party, which he describes as, “The most Hollywood, bizarre thing that’s ever happened to me.”
“I invited my friend, actress Nicole Bilderback, and just told her that we were going to my friend Carrie’s party. Michael Keaton walked with her from the valet spot escorted her to the party. Carrie answered the door for us with Shirley MacLaine on one arm and George Lucas on the other arm. Let me just say this is the most name dropping story I have. I was surrounded by these huge stars who were just sitting around, eating fried chicken, and being low key. Like Tracey Ullman, Meg Ryan, and Rita Wilson were running around the party like 14-year-old girls.
“I was so nervous and didn’t know what to do or say. Carrie pulled me aside and said to me, ‘I know you feel out of place here but I invited you because you belong.’ Carrie was very loved and very fun.”
Danny played an HIV+ character on HBO’s Looking and stated that at the same time, a friend of his was diagnosed with HIV and he decided to not treat it. He reached out to my friend, Quinn Tivey, who is Elizabeth Taylor’s grandson, who in turn invited him to meet the new Director of the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation. Danny said, “The Director ended getting my friend treatment and got him better. I confided in him that I was going to play an HIV+ character and he worked closely with me and HBO to get the correct information out there for my character.
Since then, I have become an ETF Ambassador and each year I go to Washington, D.C. to AIDS Watch and lobby Congress on behalf of people with HIV and AIDS.
“I found out that we have the tools to eradicate the disease by 96% but we don’t use them. There isn’t the awareness that there once was. When I was on Looking, my character was the first HIV+ series regular character on TV since Gloria Reuben in ER. In that time, GLAAD had discovered that the rise in new infections has grown every year since there wasn’t a story being told on television. There’s a direct relationship to these stories being told and people getting information. We recommitted Hollywood to tell more stories about HIV and now I think there are 5 or 6 regular characters out there.
“I’m proud of this and it’s become a passion of mine, knowing how close we are to actually ending HIV and realizing Elizabeth Taylor Foundation’s goals.”
Danny’s move to stand-up and his coming out story are intertwined. He states that in 2014, “I officially came out as gay and I know it wasn’t a shock to most people, but still I felt like there was something to be said for not saying something and saying something publicly.
“I always wanted to try stand-up but I felt so inauthentic or uncomfortable not speaking about my life. I then had the opportunity to go to some open mic nights. I also took a course at Second City Toronto. By the time I got back to LA, I hit the ground running. Now I’m performing an hour show about three times a week.”
JR: Do you recall your first favorite film?
DF: I was obsessed with Annie and then I got a little older and was obsessed with Ghostbusters and then it was Serial Mom. And I think my favorite comedies of all time are still Serial Mom and Soapdish. My favorite movies of all time are It’s a Mad Mad Mad World and Casino. I understand fandom because of Serial Mom and Friday. I know those films by heart so when people come and quote Mean Girls to me, I get it, because I, too, was a fan girl.
JR: Is there a film that you rediscovered?
DF: Yes, Roger Altman’s Popeye. I think it was really done well for its time.
JR: Are there any films out there that you wish more people had seen?
DF: I wish more people had seen some of my horror movies. There’s one called, Kill Theory, which is really fun movie and there’s another sort of cheesy Grindhouse film called Cruel World, which I think is fun late night watch. I Spit On Your Grave is a terrific revenge fantasy film. But those are all hard films to get out there and promote.
JR: What’s your favorite sequel?
DF: Gremlins 2! That movie is fantastic! First of all, one of the gremlins is trans so there’s that and the whole thing is basically about Donald Trump. Instead of Trump Tower, it’s another tower they’re all working at. There’s all these jokes about greed and capitalism. Then we get Tony Randall voicing the bad gremlin that tells us everything he’s thinking from an intellectual standpoint. What more could we ask for?
Gremlins was a horror story but kids loved it so much that they made Part II a comedy. It’s not very scary, it’s just funny. The saddest part of Part I is the old couple that gets bulldozed. In Part II they inexplicably bring the couple back. I love that movie so much.
JR: Do you have a favorite musical?
DF: Yes, it’s a deep cut: My Favorite Year. It was originally a movie with Peter O’Toole. They did it with Tim Curry on Broadway. It was amazing but it was short-lived.
JR: Is there a musical that you would like to see made into a movie?
DF: I’d love to see some of the old Rodgers & Hammerstein musicals updated. It would be great to see Carousel. Or Sideshow¸it’s the story of conjoined twins. It’s such a fascinating story.
JR: Is there a person, living or dead, that you would love to work with?
DF: Carol Burnett! I would love to meet her. I wrote her a letter in high school and she sent me back a signed picture.
JR: What are you working on?
DF: I’ll be directing a feature soon. I’m still touring. My website handle is @whatsupdanny. You can follow me there.
JR: Thank you for your time and for all the great film recommendations!