Pecker’s Point: October 2019

LETTER FROM THE CEO

Women’s Week, Billy Hough and Sue Goldberg interpret silent film, The Provincetown Film Arts Series and Ivy Meeropol in Provincetown with her movie about Roy Cohn

(L-R) CEO Christine K Walker with Board Member Kim McFarland

Despite a promising uptick in the number of female directors in Hollywood, up to 12% in 2019 from 3.6 in 2018, for the LGBT filmmakers whose work is showcased at our upcoming annual Women’s Film Festival October 14-20th, the road to inclusion remains an uphill battle. In fact, based on a recent report from Women’s Media Summit Keynote Speaker Dr. Stacy L. Smith, the one area that has remained resistant to change is the number of LGBT females on screen. ‘Of 4,387 speaking characters in the top 100 film-, for instance, only 17 were Lesbian.’

This fact alone distinguishes our line-up of films directed for, by, and about lesbians. Combatting lesbian invisibility is at the center of Megan Rossman’s inspiring documentary THE ARCHIVETTES which documents the lasting impact of the Lesbian Herstory Archives founded by Deborah Edel and Joan Nestle more than 40 years ago. Janice Engel’s RAISE HELL: THE MOLLY IVINS STORY champions the audacity of LGBT activist and political pundit Molly Ivins who brandished her mighty pen against misogyny and power unchecked.

Judith Light at PIFF 2019, starring in BEFORE YOU KNOW IT directed by Hannah Pearl Utt

For those who missed PIFF 2019, we provide another chance to screen Hannah Pearl Utt’s charming BEFORE YOU KNOW IT starring Excellence in Acting Award recipient Judith Light; and Chanya Button’s romantic VITA AND VIRGINIA, depicting the enduring love affair between authors Vita Sackville West and Virginia Wolfe.

We’re also thrilled to welcome back director Madeleine Olnek, whose WILD NIGHTS WITH EMILY opened 2018 PIFF to sold out audiences. The week will also feature an outstanding queer shorts program, thoughtfully programmed by Valérie Déus, which will include Sini Anderson’s award-winning short CATHERINE OPIE b 1961. Finally, our women’s week program would not be complete without Andrea Meyerson’s CLAMBAKE, the story that takes us back more than 30-years to the grassroots beginnings of Provincetown’s women’s week which would eventually become one of the most popular lesbian events in the world. See the full line up here.

You can show your support for these fine filmmakers and many of the women who participate in our women’s initiatives at our annual WOMEN FILMMAKER’S RESIDENCY BARBECUE BRUNCH held on Saturday, October 19 @ 3 pm. Generously hosted by Monique Yingling and John Yingling, the event promises music by the delightful Zoë Lewis and a fantastic Octoberfest menu at one of Truro’s most picturesque homes.

Different From the Others screening at PIFF 2019

Later this month, on October 24th, we invite you to join us at the Provincetown Theater for a special encore screening of the recently restored silent film DIFFERENT FROM THE OTHERS with an original accompaniment composed and arranged by the ‘Scream Along with Billy’ duo Billy Hough and Sue Goldberg.

Once feared lost, the film was believed to be the only gay-themed movie from Germany’s progressive Weimar era that survived destruction after Hitler took power. Most of the estimated 40 prints of the film were believed to have been destroyed by the Nazis, however a surviving copy was located during the collapse of the Soviet Union and was later restored by the UCLA Film and Television Archive. Hough and Goldberg’s moving accompaniment evokes the period and time of post WWI Germany while creating a sense of timeless relevance by focusing on the story’s emotional underpinnings. For more information, please click here.

Ushering in the month of November is the opening kick-off to Howard Karren’s popular Film Art Series co-presented by PAAM with a special screening of the dazzling and empathy-filled Yi Yi lovingly directed by the late Taiwanese master Edward Yang. Screening on November 1st.

That same night, our Halloween presentation focuses on real-life monsters with a one-time presentation of Ivy Meeropol’s BULLY. COWARD. VICTIM. THE STORY OF ROY COHN, a revelatory portrait of the man who not only played a key role in the execution of Meeropol’s grandparents Ethen and Julius Rosenberg, but whose early influences on our current President seem to have had an impact on the current political crisis.

Meeropol, with family ties to Truro, will be in town to present the film which focuses on key periods in Cohn’s life including, what I consider to be the most fascinating part of the film, his time spent in Provincetown. Featuring interviews from Peter Manso, a controversial figure in his own right, and other Provincetown part-time residents including John Waters, Tony Kushner, Ryan Landry, and Ann Packard, among others, the film is not to be missed!

In view of all of these incredible offerings, we hope to see each and every one of you at the cinema this month. And of course, if you appreciate what you see, we appreciate your support.

Warmly,


Christine Kunewa Walker, CEO


MEMBER IN THE NEWS: Stan and Eva Sikorski

From R-L: Stan and Eva Sikorski with Filmmaker on the Edge John Cameron Mitchell and daughter, Natalie.

“Provincetown is simply a magical place, we love the spirit, freedom and the expressiveness of the people who both live and visit here, ” says Eva Sikorski, who with her husband Stan, owns the Land’s End Inn and are one of the town’s foremost supporters of the Provincetown International Film Festival. (PIFF)

Freedom to simply be who you are has rather singular meaning for this well-known Provincetown couple whose childhood in Poland was marked by a repressive government. “My family was displaced by the Communist regime,” says Stan, “but we managed to leave Poland in 1965 and came off the ship in New York Harbor with four suitcases and less then 200 dollars to our name.” Stan’s career path of science, math and engineering took a curve when he met his future wife. “Eva awakened me to the arts. In addition to being a musician she is a passionate lover of all types of art.

Eva says, “As a member of the University choir in Poland I performed around Europe and it was those stamps in my passport that allowed me to travel freely and on one vacation I simply never returned.”
After purchasing the Land’s End in 2012, the couple made their mark as ardent PIFF supporters by hosting one of the most popular events of the Festival, the annual garden party.

“We love the energy of the town during the Festival,” says Stan. “There is just so much variety and we enjoy the opportunity to meet one one-on-one with the filmmakers and talk to them about their work.” Eva adds Provincetown also plays a major party in their passion for the festival. “It is so important to be a part of this community and we feel the solidarity with the other inns in town, the restaurants and other business owners. The festival brings a number of people together for a wonderful cause.”

The duo share a passion for films and say their tastes run the gamut from musicals to documentaries. One of their favorites is “Stand by Me” whose title song they used for their wedding. “Movies have always been an important part of our lives,” says Eva,”and we are so proud to be a part of the festival.”


Women’s Week 2019

Get the All-Access Pass for our annual Women’s Week Film Festival! Passes include entry to all film screenings, filmmaker Q&As, our panel discussion with Women’s Week Filmmakers, and the annual Women Filmmakers Residency Brunch!


ONLINE WOMEN’S WEEK PROGRAM


THE LAUNCH with JULIE ROCKETT

Julie Rockett
Aline Brosh McKenna

A few years ago, I went to a seminar on media in New England. People on the dais were asked to give advice on what to do to succeed in film. One person said, “Volunteer to do everything! The crew needs food at three a.m.? You leave your bed and you go get it. It’s the only way.”

The ‘only way’? Success was dependent on pre-dawn cruller runs to Dunks? Sounds easy enough! Except I had these two beautiful Charlie Brown-headed babies that I was legally and emotionally devoted to raising and an equally devoted husband whose work sometimes took him out of town. I couldn’t imagine my court-assigned social worker would be moved by my carbo-loaded dedication defense to give me back my gorgeous macrocephalic sons after leaving home one too many times in the middle of the night.

Good fortune shined upon me five years ago when I met Provincetown Film Society’s Director Christine Kunewa Walker. Being a parent herself, she was fully aware that one could be dedicated and hardworking, without being essentially hazed into proving just that. I signed on to be her intern just a few months before the 2015 Provincetown Film Festival and it’s been a pleasure to see her blossom with her development of our Women’s Filmmaking Residency, Women’s Media Summit, and Film Financing Forum. My son calls her, ‘Mommy’s owner’ but I think of her more as a sister. Thank you for allowing me to be part of your ohana and best of luck on your future endeavors, Christine. And one more thing: please don’t go!

Last year, I listened to a podcast, Slate’s “Women in Charge”. Julia Turner interviewed Aline Brosh McKenna and asked her about the atmosphere she created in the writer’s room of her show, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. She said that most TV writing rooms are notorious for starting and ending very late in the day. Her room started at ten a.m. and ended by six p.m. And while some have said that working with mothers is an inconvenience <cough>Trump<cough>, Aline said that mothers are great to work with because they extremely efficient with their time and added, “I like to hire mothers.” And right there, she had me. Quicker than I could spell ‘Gabbana’, I became a huge of fan of hers.

It’s exciting to speak with someone in Hollywood that is creating the change that Christine and the rest of Provincetown Film Society hope for. Not only that, she’s one of the best comedy writers out there. If you haven’t heard her work in The Devil Wears Prada then please let me congratulate you on extricating yourself from the enormous boulder you’ve resided under. There’s also 27 Dresses, We Bought a Zoo, and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. The list goes on and will continue to grow; therefore, I’m delighted she could spend some precious time to speak with me about her favorite films.

—————–

Julie Rockett: So I like to start by asking, what was your first favorite film?

Aline Brosh McKenna: It’s probably Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. It’s the first film that I remember being obsessed with and trying to figure out when it came on television. They would re-run it and the challenge was not to miss it. I’m always trying to explain to my kids that we had to actually wait for things to be on somewhere.

JR: Is there a film that you introduced your kids to that you love?

ABM: I re-watched a lot of movies with my kids as they were growing up and some from my childhood really did not hold up at all. I will say that Back to the Future holds up wonderfully. It’s really fun and they really enjoyed it and there was no scoffing about how slow it was.

JR: Was there film or a personality that your parents introduced you to?

ABM: My Dad loved Don Rickles and the whole vibe of insult comedians was always really funny to me. At some point I realized that that’s what Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada is, an insult comedian. Different kind of insults, but that’s what she is, an insult comedian.

JR: I always find that the nicest people play the best jerks.

ABM: Yes, Don Rickles was the nicest person ever. And I love Succession. I love shows with great insults in them.

JR: Is there a film that you wish had been seen by a wider audience?

ABM: I haven’t seen it in many years, but the movie Dogfight with Lili Taylor is one that I really love. It’s one of the first times I remember raving about a movie that people hadn’t heard about. I think it also made a big impression on me because it was done by a female director. I also love the Soderbergh film, King of the Hill. It’s a beautiful movie from 1993. I don’t hear people citing that as one of Soderbergh’s films often, but that’s a movie that I really, really love.

JR: Is there a type of film out there that people would be surprised to hear that you like?

ABM: I love thrillers. I love a good Fatal Attraction or a good political thriller. I wish they made more movies like that. I’m a sucker for anything to do with the press like The Post or All the President’s Men. I just saw (PIFF2019 Award Winner) Official Secrets. I really enjoyed it. And I love seeing the inside of a newspaper, always.

JR: In addition to The Devil Wears Prada is there a book adaptation that you feel was done well?

ABM: Again, it’d be All the President’s Men. It sets the bar in so many ways.

JR: Is there a person that you would love to work with?

ABM: Oh gosh. There’s so many. Well, I love Succession and Matthew MacFayden is wonderful in it. He was also in this brilliant adaptation of Howard’s End.

JR: I didn’t realize until you said that, that he’s the same person.

ABM: Yes, he’s so good! So I’ll say Matthew MacFayden.

JR: Supporting women is clearly a commitment of yours and in the effort to be positive, are there changes that you’ve seen in the industry that are encouraging in terms of gender parity?

ABM: We’re talking about it and we’ve never really talked about it quite this way before. You don’t have to get people up to speed every time about the fact that it’s happening. I think we can all agree that this is a problem that needs to be dealt with and that’s a good first step.

JR: Do you have any upcoming projects that you can share?

ABM: I’m doing a movie for Netflix. I’m working on the script right now. I have a new TV series and I’m waiting to figure out where exactly I’m doing that and I’ve started a production company called LeanMachine. We’re developing a bunch of things that I’m writing, things that other people are writing and we’re developing for TV and movies. I’ve hired a bunch of really great folks so far.

JR: Thank you for time and please come visit us in Provincetown soon!


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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.