Letter from the Executive Director
Thank you to everyone who joined us for the 2021 Provincetown Film Festival – both in person and virtually. We had max capacity at all of our venues and events, with a joyous and warm energy where everyone felt welcome and part of our festival community!
I want to take this opportunity to recognize all the filmmakers, sponsors, donors, our staff, board of directors, and the volunteers who made this festival possible. Your selfless dedication reaches far beyond the screen and keeps this organization and our special community going and growing!! I am so proud to play a role in this with you!
The screenings have just begun….our Water’s Edge Cinema has finally opened after 15 months of closure, we will be having special screenings throughout the summer both at Water’s Edge and the Mary Heaton Vorse house, in Motta Field during Family Week, and be on the lookout for special outdoor screenings on MacMillan Pier. It is time for some joy in our lives and it’s finally time to go back to the movies!
— Blythe Frank
If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy, don’t hesitate.
Give in to it.
There are plenty of lives and whole towns destroyed or about to be.
We are not wise, and not very often kind.
And much can never be redeemed.
Still, life has some possibility left.
Perhaps this is its way of fighting back,
that sometimes something happens better than all the riches or power in the world.
It could be anything,
but very likely you notice it in the instant when love begins.
Anyway, that’s often the case.
Anyway, whatever it is, don’t be afraid of its plenty.
Joy is not made to be a crumb.
~ Mary Oliver
Let’s Go Back to the Movies!
Waters Edge Cinema is OPEN again and we can’t wait to see you at 237 Commercial Street, Whalers’ Wharf 3rd Floor
MEMBER IN THE NEWS: MIKE WRIGHT
By Tracy Pease
This month’s member in the news has called Provincetown home for almost 40 years. A graphic artist turned sculptor from Baltimore, Mike Wright and her partner Sheila have been gracing Provincetown cinema and the festival for decades. Her favorite: the Film Art Series – a member favorite and collaboration with the Provincetown Arts Association and Museum (PAAM) programmed at Waters Edge Cinema by Howard Karren. Maybe it’s not a coincidence that she came from the same town as our most famous and edgy icon – John Waters.
Mike started her life in Ptown as an innkeeper – who became a card-carrying member of the Provincetown Women Innkeepers. In 1984 Mike opened Plums Bed & Breakfast.
Plums was a large Dutch Gambrel on the corner of Pearl and Bradford Streets, built by a Whaling Captain in 1860. Mike & Sheila worked tirelessly to completely renovate the interior and sold the inn in 1999.
“In 1995” Mike recounts, “Sheila took over full time management of the inn so I could dedicate myself full-time to my art. Looking back over my art career, I now realize how each particular creative development shaped my artistic success.”
Mike recalls, “as a kid in Maryland, I was always drawing or making something in our house, much to the dismay of my perfectionist Mother! I remember the time I used her kitchen mixer to whip up hot wax to sculpt. My education started in Catholic Elementary school, the Nuns saw I was artistic and would always ask me to draw something for their bulletin boards. With little to no art classes offered in school, I took classes in an after-school program”.Mike doesn’t just enjoy the movies, in 2015 she was in a movie. “Filmmaker Andrea Meyerson put me in CLAMBAKE [a documentary about 30 years of women inn keepers in Provincetown]. She’s reached out a lot in the past year and asked me to be on Zoom viewings for the Q&A. Each time she had about 80-90 gals watching it… she is great!” beams Mike.
Mike graduated from Towson University in Baltimore County, MD working in a variety of media, from traditional painting and printmaking, to experimental sculpture. “I graduated with honors and a BS in art education. I taught K-6 art in Baltimore County instructing kids to create all art forms from painting and block printing to huge paper mâché sculptures that were exhibited at the local library, to outdoor snow sculptures colored with paint in squirt bottles, to stop animation videos entered into a competition at the Baltimore Museum of Art. Watching these kids, I learned a lot about the value of “playing” when making art.
Later Mike joined a design firm to become a full-time graphic designer and went on to learn newspaper advertising, ad design, as well as building structure and space. She taught design and illustration night classes at Catonsville Community College in Maryland. Later joining KBH Graphics, one of the oldest design firms in Baltimore City and assigned clients, perfecting a sense of design, color and space definitely boosted my creative confidence.
Mike also recounts, “In 1984, I decided to start a Bed & Breakfast in Provincetown, MA, where I could also take workshops in printmaking, oil painting and watercolor at PAAM (Provincetown Art Association and Museum) and be around other artists. In 1993, I took a workshop at PAAM with sculptor Paul Bowen (a previous Adolph Gottlieb Foundation Grant winner) and discovered that working with found materials in 3-dimensions was the perfect fit for me.”
“This was my AHA moment” said Mike. “I loved all of the process, from searching for materials (particularly old previously painted wood) and dragging it to the studio, to organizing the wood by color, pulling old nails, hammering and cutting to create sculptural forms.”
Mike says, “All these years later, making sculpture from found previously painted wood is still irresistible. As debris, it seems unpromising, but that lack is also its appeal. The peeling paint, the color—scrubbed by salt waves, sand, or human use—allows the viewer to recognize in the wood, evidence of a previous life as boat, floorboard, shelf or container. I search beaches, streets and dumpsters for it. My principal parameter is not to paint that wood, whose patina is impossible to duplicate. I like best the moment I place pieces of old painted wood together and see relationships of color and form begin to take shape, achieving the object through building up and by modifying its form with minimal carpentry—cutting, curving, sandwiching and joining.”
“In 2002, I decided to make art more of a priority and went to work at PAAM (Provincetown Art Association and Museum) full time and also volunteered on the artist-led PAAM Exhibition Committee. For 10 years, I enjoyed an intimate relationship with the historical artwork of the Provincetown Art Colony. I was in charge of the PAAM facility but had time to curate historical exhibitions from the PAAM permanent art collection, as well as, contemporary exhibitions. I was able to assimilate the forms and palettes of early Modernist painters, particularly Blanche Lazzell and the Expressionist painter Robert Motherwell and even interpret their 2-dimensional paintings into 3-dimensions sculptures. This affinity was the subject of the 2009 Provincetown Arts Magazine article Mike Wright and the Modernist Continuum.”
I retired from PAAM in 2012 and have worked seasonally at Alden Gallery in Provincetown, ever since. I also exhibit my art at Alden Gallery and have been surprised by the recognition of my work from a variety of folks. I collaborated with the short documentary filmmaker Marnie Crawford Samuelson to provide a unique opportunity for the Provincetown Film Festival and the Online New England Film Festival (newenglandfilm.com) audiences to witness my creative process. That 2014 short doc, Inside Motherwell’s Dumpster, shows me retrieving wood from the demolition of Robert Motherwell’s Provincetown studio, which he called Sea Barn, and creating a sculpture I called Deconstructed Sea Barn.”
Continuing to advance her career, Wright applied for grants and as a result, in 2014, won a Pollock Krasner Foundation Grant. This allowed her to create a website and gain a wider audience for her sculpture. She began to see how “success breeds success.” With the prestige of winning the Pollock Krasner, more invitations to exhibit were extended: a solo show at the St. Botolph Club in Boston; a solo show at the Cape Cod Museum of Art; an invitation, in 2017, to show in Wood As Muse at the Art Museum Complex Duxbury, where she was interviewed about her art by PBS/WGBH Senior Arts Editor Jared Bowen and this aired on “Open Studio”.
In 2017, Mike was chosen by the JFK Hyannis Museum to participate in Art Inspired by a Presidential Home and asked to create art with materials salvaged from the renovation of JFK and Jackie Kennedy’s home on the Kennedy Compound in Hyannis, MA. In 2019, she was asked by the Edward Gorey Museum to create art from material that Gorey collected, for an exhibition and auction.
Since 1993, she has had 30 solo exhibitions and her work has been included in 38 invitational, 62 juried and 98 group exhibitions. Besides being the Artist in Residence at Cape Cod Community College in 2009, she won the Michael E. Deluty Outstanding Sculpture Prize at the Cambridge Art Association’s 9th National Prize Show, in 2004 she was awarded the Berkshire Taconic A.R.T. Fellowship to the Vermont Studio Center, in 1998 the PAAM (Provincetown Art Association and Museum) National Competition resulting in a solo Museum exhibition in 1999.
Mike has exhibited in private and university galleries in Japan, New York City, East Hampton, Maryland, Montana, Florida, Louisiana, Boston, Cape Cod and Provincetown. My sculptures are in the private collections of American sculptor Grace Knowlton, playwright Edward Albee and fashion designer Philip Lim, among others, and in the permanent collections of PAAM and the Cape Cod Museum of Art.
LOOKING FOR YOUR FILM-LOVING FLOCK? BECOME A PROVINCETOWN FILM SOCIETY MEMBER TODAY!
NEW EXPANDED BENEFITS include exclusive programming from local filmmakers, merch with custom artwork by local artists, and discounts on Waters Edge Cinema. Join at any level and reap all the cinema-tastic rewards!
Women Filmmaker’s Residency Program
This year, Provincetown Film Society was fortunate enough to welcome three residents to town during PIFF 2021: Actor and star of DAVID’S FRIEND, Nora Burns; Director of WE’RE ALL GOING TO THE WORLD’S FAIR, Jane Schoenbrun; and Ash Christian Shorts Filmmaking Program fellow, Sam Kann. While several Women Filmmaker’s Residency Program recipients have joined the Film Society in Provincetown, this is the inaugural year of The Ash Christian Shorts Filmmaking Program, and the first time welcoming a young filmmaker to stay and engage with the other artists.
For one week during the festival, residents stayed at the historic Mary Heaton Vorse House and celebrated their accomplishments as filmmakers in the nation’s oldest art colony. The program fostered a safe artistic space for the filmmakers, who sat down every morning with mentors from varying positions within the industry. In addition to being in the festival space, the filmmakers were able to screen their films and discuss future projects, without competition or agenda, as artists of the Provincetown Film Festival. As the Provincetown Film Institute moves forward, the organization hopes to host more residents in its residency programs, and help more marginalized filmmakers tell their stories. To donate, visit provincetownfilm.org/institute.
THANK YOU from PIFF 2021!
Sending an enormously heartfelt THANK YOU to all of the filmmakers, special guests, panelists, moderators, distributors, press, sponsors, patrons, staff, volunteers, AND festival goers that helped make the 2021 Provincetown Film Festival one to remember! We set out to create a festival that would allow those able to attend in person feel welcome and aimed to bring a little bit of Provincetown to everyone who participated from home. From our enchanted screenings under the stars at the Wellfleet Drive-In, to our triumphant return to Waters Edge Cinema and the elegant Mary Heaton Vorse House, and a very special community night at Herring Cove, we felt the love and excitement of watching films together again as a flock! Thank you so much for joining us and we’re already looking forward to 2022!
by Julie Rockett
I got my Fauci ouchies and I was more than ready to see people in real life again. It’s been so long. I got to do this thing called hugging people. It’s awesome. You should try it. The photo above by Mae Gammino from the Filmmakers’ Celebration at Baxter’s Landing captures the ebullience that beamed from all of us now that we’re finally emerging from quarantine. I can’t wait to see what our upcoming events like the Jamaican Film Festival, Family Week, and Women’s Week will look like.
Below is my yearbook from #PIFF2021. Thank you to everyone that follows us on social media @ptownfilm and likes and shares our posts. If I see you in person you have a high five coming your way. Until then, I send you my gratitude and best wishes. May you find excellent parking spaces whenever you travel to Provincetown.
Thank you also to the following:
The filmmakers that attended the Provincetown Film Festival. It was wonderful to meet you and enjoy your hard work.
The great food sponsors like Box Lunch and Spiritus Pizza. Without your food, I would have spent June 16-25 subsisting solely on popcorn and gin and tonics.
The Crown & Anchor for hosting our closing night party with the team from BEING BEBE.
James, my firehouse volunteer, for playing tunes and selling the hell out of our Ryan Landry-designed merchandise.
To Ryan Landry and his grandson, Luca, for creating and selling the coolest merchandise for Provincetown Film Society.
Penny Champagne/Scott Martino, nobody is lovelier in a life preserver and Calvins than you! Thank you for hosting our Back to the Future Community Event.
Harrison and Bob from Wake Up in Provincetown! For having me on your show. Your infectious energy turned me into a morning person for a brief time.
My co-workers, for just being there. It meant the world to me.
My family for taking such good care of yourself while I got to run around Provincetown meeting talented people.
And finally to my wonderful Mom who passed away just before the start of the film festival. When I called home after the opening night party at my first festival seven years ago, she said, “How was it being surrounded by all those handsome men? Were they terribly respectful?” During the festival I often heard her saying to me the same thing she always said to me (true or not) when I was going through tough times, “Dahlin’, people are just jealous because you’re gorgeous and amazing.” My love you, Ma.