Pecker’s Point: July

LETTER FROM THE CEO

(L-R) CEO Christine Walker, Filmmaker on the Edge John Cameron Mitchell, Excellence in Acting Judith Light, and Artistic Director Lisa Viola (Photo by Nicholas Pfosi)

The fourth of July weekend in Provincetown is the official start of its busy season. For the festival team though, thankfully we’re winding down. After the months leading-up-to along with the five jam packed days of 150 screenings, panel discussions, parties and events, we allow ourselves a month or so to wrap up final details and reflect on the lessons learned. 

Having made it through our 21st year, it feels as if we’ve crossed a threshold into something akin to maturity. Between our consistently stellar programming; a staff that has hit its stride; an ever-enthusiastic volunteer-base; remarkably loyal sponsors; filmmakers, press and industry friends who dedicate their time and talents to edifying the festival and our lives; and our thoughtful and appreciative audience, I think it’s safe to say that ours is a festival ‘like no other.’  

The festival also marked a maturation of some of the priorities and initiatives that we have been working on in the last few years. Two year-round scholarship programs for LGBTQ students provided travel, accommodations, stipends and an immersive experience with our festival offerings. An expanded Next Wave program furthered our goal of supporting emerging talent including those delving into other art mediums. At our sixth annual Evan Lawson brunch, we launched a two-year democracy series with an important discussion about speaking truth to power between former FBI acting director Andrew McCabe and THE FINEST HOURS author Casey Sherman. New collaborations with Twenty Summers, Phillips Andover Academy, Kino Lorber and the Outfest Legacy program made it possible for us to screen films that had been previously banned from exhibition: the 1919 film DIFFERENT FROM THE OTHERS was practically destroyed by the Nazi’s for its pro-gay stance and the Jamaican reggae film BABYLON was blackballed by U.S. distributors in 1980 for its honest depiction of racial tensions in the London reggae scene and the purported racial violence that might ensue. Presenting the film BABYLON also underscored a long tradition of acknowledging the diverse make-up of Provincetown’s denizens, including it’s fastest growing community of Jamaican’s. 

In all, the global destination for creative exploration in film that we set out to cultivate and nurture has flourished in no small part to those who recognize the unique perspective that America’s oldest arts colony can bestow upon matters of art, freedom and inclusivity and those who command the tools of one of the most impact artforms on the planet. The 2020 Festival dates are June 17-21. Mark your calendars now! 

One last note: If there is one person who is denied a full reprieve following an exhausting festival, that person is Heidi Bolinder, our Director of Program Operations and Festival Co-Manager. Heidi is the engine that keeps the film society running day in and day out. Right after the festival, Heidi was working to line up films for the Waters Edge Cinema, Marie Kondo-ing the office, preparing a 60-day application for a year-round liquor license, and working on the upcoming program for Family Week. 

Heidi, you are a true diva. To quote everyone’s idol Beyonce, ‘a true diva is graceful, and talented, and strong and fearless and brave and someone with humility.” Heidi is also the cinema diva who is making sure that there will be something for everyone at the Waters Edge Cinema this summer. Check out our schedule at www.watersedgecinema.com.


Christine Kunewa Walker, CEO


MEMBER IN THE NEWS: Paul Fanizzi

Since 2003, Fanizzi’s Restaurant by the Sea has been a household name in the outer cape. The man behind the marquee grew up in Brockton working in his family’s Thai restaurants busing tables and later promoted to waiter.

Today, Paul Fanizzi is more than a restaurant and business owner in Provincetown. He is a builder, a town partner, lover of the arts, charitable and a leader. More comfortable behind the scenes, Paul has contributed goods, services and funds to nearly every nonprofit on the cape – a “community friend in stealth mode”. Still Paul’s preferred low profile didn’t shield him from the limelight last month as he was awarded the ‘Betty Villari Community Service” award from HOW (Helping Our Women). At the local event held at Seamen’s Bank in Provincetown, several commented that “it was not only well-deserved, but long overdue.”

Paul’s degree from Roger Williams University in Business Management set the stage for his future as a restaurateur and community leader. Not yet 50, Paul has honed his management and operations skills in a competitive market in notable Boston area restaurants with titles of Manager, Director and General Manager. Although he bought Pucci’s, an existing but seasonal business that at the time was closed for the winter and made Fanizzi’s what it is today, he has built restaurants from concept to completion that are thriving to this day.

Located just west of the “Welcome to Provincetown” sign, Paul’s restaurant embodies his love for community welcoming locals and visitors as they arrive in the last town on the outer cape. For starters, his dream to provide a space for the area that is open year round has been a reality. His dining room has been a venue for monthly Chamber dinners, rehearsal dinners and weddings, committee meetings, business dinners, community events, palm readings, charitable fundraisers, Easter brunch and a host of holiday family gatherings to name a few.

In early 2018, after a winter storm took out power in most of the town, Paul’s emergency generator kept the dining room open for drop ins to stay warm, log in to email, commune and of course share a delicious hot meal. Our CEO, Christine Walker profusely thanked Paul for his “rent-free remote office services” as she worked to meet critical deadlines the whole afternoon in a corner of the dining room. You can’t get more from an ordinary business committed to customer service. Although clearly evident, you can from a friend. It gives us great pleasure to spotlight this month’s “Member in The News” and to publicly thank him for his ongoing support and love.


Gearing up for Womens Week

Just a few short months until WOMEN’S WEEK 2019! As the week becomes finalized and we program our annual Women’s Week Film Festival, visit the Women’s Week website for more info on last year and keep checking back for updates on the 2019 schedule! We can’t wait to see you there!

October 14–20, 2019

Last year’s Filmmaker Residency Brunch with Special Guest comedian, filmmaker, and actor AB CASSIDY

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO


Thanks for 21 Years…and Counting!

Thank you to all who enjoyed the delight of another Provincetown Film Festival. We are looking forward to many more years of fest-ing, and can’t wait to seeing you all in 2020!

June 17–21, 2020


THE LAUNCH with JULIE ROCKETT

Matt Kane and Marc Underhill at the 21st Annual Provincetown Film Festival (Photo by Mae Gammino)

If you were at this year’s Provincetown Film Festival, you most likely had the good fortune to meet Marc Underhill and Matt Kane. They were recipients of the PIFF Next Wave Program and enthusiastic ambassadors of the film festival. Their most recent film, AUGGIE, starring Richard Kind played to packed houses in both Provincetown and Wellfleet during PIFF 2019.

They spoke with me about creating Auggie, their mutual love for Robin Williams, and what makes Provincetown Film Festival different from other festivals.

JR: I want to thank you for being such enthusiastic supporters of Provincetown Film Festival. You have been to many film festivals. Is there anything that makes PIFF different from the others?

Matt Kane: I think it’s the intimacy. People have their guard down and you’re welcome in any space. There’s so many events and you get to see people over and over again so that you get to know each other and discuss your work. And there isn’t the pressure to be ‘on’, to have to sell something. It’s more about connecting with other artists… There isn’t the competition you feel at other fests, this one feels more like vacation. It’s just so supportive.

JR: Can you tell me about the process of making Auggie?

MK: I co-wrote it with Marc and this is the first feature that I directed. We crowdfunded the film and got our friends involved. It’s a big deal to ask your friends for support so you want to be sure that you really believe in your project. It was a 12-day shoot and we tried to be very conscious of people’s time. Luckily, we worked with such a high caliber cast and crew that they made the process run smoothly. Our goal was to create an environment of gratitude and recognition for everyone involved in Auggie. This was a project they didn’t have to do, they were doing it because they were willing and they believed in how special this project could be. It was very much a collaborative experience.

JR: So I’d like to ask you both some questions about films. What was your first favorite film?

Marc Underhill: Peter Pan – knew every line and would watch every day and recite along with the characters.

MK: I think it’s Jumanji. I absolutely loved Robin Williams in it.

JR: Do you have a favorite documentary?

MU: Icarus – love how the filmmaker thought he was making one thing and then it turned out to be something else.

MK: I recently saw Mind The Gap. It is just brilliant. It’s about teenage skateboarders and what they do to survive.

JR: What was the first R-rated film you saw?

MU: I Know What You Did Last Summer. Had nightmares for a long time.

MK: Mine was Scream. I was five-years-old and my older cousins showed it to me. It was horrifying! I couldn’t sleep.

JR: Is there a dream subject, living or dead, that you would like to work with?

MU: Robin Williams – such a talent!

MK: It would also be Robin Williams. That was one of the first things we found that we had in common.

JR: What film do you feel was underappreciated?

MU: Booksmart – it was appreciated, but not by enough people for how good a film it is.

MK: Fighting With My Family. It’s about wrestling but it’s not. It’s about jealousy, love, support, and acceptance. It’s a great family drama and it’s so grounded and funny. And it’s by Stephen Merchant, who is a comedic genius.

JR: Is there a film from your youth that you find holds up?

MU: Good Will Hunting definitely is one of my favorite films that I enjoy revisiting and I think holds up pretty well.

JR: What movie made you fall in love with filmmaking?

MU: I initially was solely interested in acting, but Birdman in 2014 was a film that made me want to start making films instead of just act in them. The following year Matt and I made our first short film.

MK: Trainspotting. It was so intense and vibrant. There’s a magic realism to it. I admire Danny Boyle so much.

JR: Was there a moment when you thought the project might never see the light of day, and if so, what turned things around?

MU: We always had the intention of making the film in a small way, so when production companies didn’t come running to help us, we decided to crowdfund. While it was intimidating to imagine doing it on our own with whatever money we could scrape together, the choice to take things into our own hands and do it ourselves empowered us to seeing the project through.

JR: Is there a recent film that moved or inspired you? One from PIFF 2019?

MU: Andrew Ahn’s Driveways. Intimate story that unfolds slowly and thoughtfully.

MK: Dolly Wells’ Good Posture. I really, really like the movie. I like how imperfect things are for this young woman and how she spends so much time and energy controlling things. It’s very human, especially when you’re young, to think you have control but eventually you discover acceptance. She also made her film in 12 days and it was great to meet her while we were in Provincetown.

JR: What are you working on now?

MU: We have a feature film we’d like to make next – it’s a psychological thriller that explores gaslighting and what happens when you project past trauma onto your partner.

MK: I’m also starting to write about my own story. My mother who was an accomplished opera singer from the US passed away when I was 13 and my brother died when I was 15. It’s at the beginning stages and I’m just trying to get the story out and see where it goes.

JR: I have to say you have such a bright presence and I would never have predicted that you had gone through so much at your age. I imagine part of you thinks, ‘I’ve gotten through the hard part, it’s only up from here.’

MK: Thank you. I think so. It’s made me see what’s really important in life and take advantage of the time at hand.

JR: Thank you both so much for your time. I wish you every success and look forward to seeing you at #PIFF2020!


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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.