[Letter from the E.D.] [Member in the News] [Institute Updates]
[Cinema Updates] [Festival Updates] [The Launch]

Letter from the Executive Director

August 2021,

Dear Uncommon Birds,

As we pass the middle of summer, we are celebrating some new beginnings.  

Our cinema, Waters Edge, has opened for business after 15 long months of closure.  We are continuing to mandate mask wearing, and have medical grade HEPA filters running at all times in both Cinema 1 and Cinema 2, and we are reducing capacities to allow for social distancing, offering the safest experience for our patrons.  Going forward, we are also requiring patrons show proof of vaccination, and we can confirm that our staff is fully vaccinated.  We know the Delta variant and the uptick of covid cases in July has been concerning and we are making sure your visit to Water’s Edge is as safe as it can possibly be.

PFS is also changing things up at the board level, after many years of incredible dedication as the President of the PFS Board, Anthony Lawson, son of longtime advocate and former PFS board president, Evan Lawson, is stepping down from his role to focus on his family and work as an architect. Former PFS Executive Director Gabrielle A. Hanna will be the new board president.

“I am honored to be stepping in as President of the Board of PFS. The organization has continued to grow since my departure in 2013, and I am looking forward to working with Blythe Frank, the staff and board to continue to develop new programs and give a voice to underrepresented storytellers from around the world.”

Gabrielle A. Hanna, President of the Board of PFS

We celebrated Family Week July 25-30th, with outdoor screenings in Motta Field, sponsored by WarnerMedia and Family Equality. Families were thrilled to be outside, and we offered food from Spiritus Pizza, John’s Footlong, Box Lunch and Ben & Jerry’s.  When it got dark and the movie began, everyone settled in for a magical night under the stars and screen.  A huge thank you to the Motta family for use of the field, the support of Provincetown by granting us a special entertainment license, our fabulous food vendors, our staff, the volunteers, and to WarnerMedia and Family Equality. We hope to do more of these in the years to come.

Stay safe, embrace joy where you discover it, and please remember that we are stronger together.

— Blythe Frank, PFS Executive Director


Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean -
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down -
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

-- Mary Oliver

MEMBER IN THE NEWS:  Ilona Royce-Smithkin

By Tracy Pease

Ilona Royce-Smithkin Photo by Curtis Speer

Undeniably, Provincetown Film Society’s grandest patron and member is Ilona Royce-Smithkin.  Passing just days ago, Ilona’s involvement and support will live on in the hearts and minds of our staff at the Provincetown Film Society forever.  

It has been a privilege to know her and have intimate conversations with her over the past 6 years.  With humble trepidation even reverence, it is an honor to write this love letter celebrating a master…………a powerhouse packed in a four-foot-nine-inch canvas, pioneer, artist, philosopher, inn keeper, performer, teacher, style guru, business professional, feminist, influencer, swimmer, dancer, TV & Radio personality, author, conversationalist, documentarian, writer, bibliophile, trendsetter, storyteller, model, confidant, lady, and friend. 

Of Polish descent, Ilona moved to Germany with her parents at the young age of 5. As a result, her distinguishable accent was classic German.  The German language and my own German roots became the basis for our initial conversations blossoming like a garden of wildflowers.

Ilona studied art at the Reiman Schule in Berlin, the Académie Royal des Beaux Arts in Antwerp, the Art Students League in New York, and the Cape School of Art in Provincetown.  Having heard few but troubling accounts of a strict and disciplined upbringing amidst a war-ravaged Europe, I have little doubt that those fearful experiences influenced her life choices and the woman she became – from her personality, whimsical style and fashion to her artistic choice to illustrate her subjects in passionate Impressionistic bravura – the worries of a 5-year-old, set the path for Ilona to live life on her terms. 

Ilona is particularly known for her discerning portraits of celebrated personalities the likes of friend Tennessee Williams, Ayn Rand, Ethel Merman, the children of Edward Kennedy and many more.   She once told me that she is the only artist commissioned by Eugene O’Neill himself to paint him. That very portrait has graced arts organizations in town including the Provincetown Theater and the Provincetown Arts Association and Museum. 

Generously, Ilona has sponsored the film society for years, providing lodging for filmmakers and film society staff for the annual film festival, women’s week, staff planning meetings and retreats.  She has donated her works enabling PFS to raise funds annually for the auction.  Each year when the film festival concluded, I delivered a festival catalog, and we’d discuss the successes of the week. 

A pioneer in television, ILONA’S PALETTE and PAINTING WITH ILONA – two television series produced in 1975 & 1982 respectively, aired 41 episodes.  Television history was made through live instruction by a female artist.  I watched Ilona-the-younger from VHS tapes with the added benefit of the later Ilona narrating to me in real-time. 

Ilona’s will to refuse advice on fashion trends, certainly didn’t deter her from setting them.    With color, scissors, a little thread, baubles, and embellishments she personified color, and texture.  On several occasions she generously offered wardrobe pieces and advice on how I might supplement my own heavily black wardrobe with ‘flair’.  “A little color or a scarf would spruce up your blouse, my dear.  Try this.” she would smile. 

Ilona’s celebrated red hair and magnificent custom eyelashes framing her face for over 50 years, were the conversation of many, and the basis for the song EYELASHES by Zoë Lewis.  Concerts on the Cape with Zoë at piano provided the name for their performance appropriately branded “Eyelash Cabaret”.  

During one of our visits, she told me that it is a tradition of hers to gift to people she cares for, a sketch of their eye.  “Why the eye?” I asked.  “Because you can see to a person’s soul through the eye” she replied.  “I’d like to sketch your eye if you’d let me.”  At first, I wanted to ask if I could return another day to have my eye sketched.  It worried me that I wasn’t prepared or worthy.  What would she see through my eye?  Were they things I didn’t want her to see.  I hesitated.  Fortunately, the conversation in my head flashed quickly and I merely replied, “I would be honored, Ilona”.    

Ten years ago, during Women’s Week, the subject of a documentary called ADVANCED STYLE, Ilona graced the Waters Edge Cinema at a theatrical debut.  In conversation with moderator and filmmakers, with her classic flair, she regaled the audience with stories, poetry, and philosophies – the hallmark of her approach to life.   Although she lived to be 101, at 90 years young, she declared a pride in her age “because it took me a long time to get here” she laughed.  In an interview she said “I have very limited time. I can’t buy green bananas anymore”.

On March 27th, 2020, her one hundredth birthday, the views and comments to her Instagram post thanking friends and loved ones for kind wishes, rivaled the Kardashians.  Amidst a global pandemic, now experiencing the implications of two pandemics in her lifetime, she warmly sashayed across the deck of her studio home on Commercial Street with words of love and gratitude for the host of well-wishers on the beach below.  

One day at low tide picking seashells, I was on the beach staring back at her building.   My gaze roamed from the top floor to the bottom and back to the 2nd when I noticed a round window midway up, that when viewed from the dock below was blocked by a railing. I realized I’d never seen the building from 90 – 100 feet away.  I stared at the portal style window trying to adjust my focus for a better viewpoint.  There seemed to be something around the window that I couldn’t quite catch.  When my eyes wouldn’t adjust, I took a photo from my phone to enlarge the image for a better view.  A smile spread across my face, when I could see that surrounding the top of the portal were long black lashes framing outward replicating an eye…………… undeniable facsimile of Ilona’s unforgettable lashes.  

In the years of our friendship, she was prolific in watercolor, painting views of the ocean from the 3rd floor studio in a small postcard-sized book of Strathmore paper.  Colors of the sea changed from page to page and day to day as the light and colors changed in Provincetown.  She captured what she saw…… and felt.  She loved the solitude of those hours spent painting.  She would often remark that her body was growing tired.  It took such effort just to be.  I knew I should be grateful for the opportunity to be in her presence and in fact, I was. A prolific writer, Ilona offered me the opportunity to read several of her writings and letters even reading them back to her aloud.   As I read, I would remark on her life’s viewpoints and we would discuss many that found their way to the pages of her final book entitled NINETY NINE: Straight Up, No Chaser.  Months later, I was lost for words to express my pleasure when she presented me with an autographed version signed on the page of acknowledgements, next to my name.  There are thousands of people in the world that can genuinely call Ilona friend. I’m glad to be one of them.


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!






Waters Edge Cinema is OPEN again and we can’t wait to see you at 237 Commercial Street, Whalers’ Wharf 3rd Floor. Due to the recent uptick in positive COVID19 cases in fully-vaccinated individuals, and based on the health advisory issued by the Provincetown Board of Health, we have decided to reinstate mandatory face coverings while inside the Water’s Edge cinemas. If you do not have a face covering, we will happily give you one. Masks must be worn at all times unless actively enjoying food or drink in your seat. Multiple HEPA air purifiers have been installed throughout each auditorium to improve air circulation and filtration. We are currently operating at 50% capacity. All guests are encouraged to wash their hands frequently and maintain social distancing when possible. Thank you for helping us to keep everyone healthy.

The Launch

With Julie Rockett

Lisa Viola, PIFF Artistic Director

When you started a new school, do you remember that person who helped you find your locker? Was your lab partner when everyone had paired off? Or just smiled and said hello when you didn’t know another person? The grown-up version of this person for me is  Provincetown Film Festival Artistic Director Lisa Viola. She is too cool for school but she never makes you feel that way. She’s very busy, but never too busy to greet you like a VIP, even when I was a lowly intern.  

Maybe all this friendliness and compassion stems from the fact that she does what she loves and is really good at it? Lisa’s favorite films and suggestions are unlike any that I’ve heard. So  please take her film recommendations and go to a theatre, preferably Waters Edge Cinema,  wear a mask and have a great night!  

Julie Rockett: So, yesterday we lost Ilona Royce-Smithkin.  

Lisa Viola: She had an incredible life as an artist. I was a fan of hers. Her longevity, her work,  her presence in Provincetown. She was impressive. Did you know her?  

JR: I only really got to know her through Melissa Hammel’s short from PIFF2017, ILONA,  UPSTAIRS. I loved watching her hoofing upstairs and around town.  

LV: It’s what kept her mentally sharp. 

JR: How did you get involved with Provincetown Film Festival?  

LV: I had just moved back to Boston and I met Connie White who was running the Boston  International Women’s Film Festival when she was hosting that festival at the Brattle Theatre. I  had just come from working at Sundance and Connie asked if I could help out with programming. She then kicked off the Provincetown Film Festival and dragged me along  <laughs>. I did a bunch of things that first year… some writing, some talent wrangling, and some hosting. I remember watching John Waters receive the first Filmmaker On The Edge  award and thinking, ‘I’m sticking around here!’. 

JR: Was there ever a crisis at PIFF that you’ve turned around?

LV: There’s never been a crisis at the film fest. 

JR: Never. <laughs>  

LV: It’s all seamless! <laughs> There was one time where it was raining sideways. I’m supposed to do an introduction at the Art House and the first two rows are under water. I had to leap over this enormous puddle to get to the stage. We were determined to hold the screening and the Q&A because, you know, the show must go on. And luckily no one got electrocuted!  

JR: One of the films that I think you programmed was TICKLED. I love that film and I remember watching it and assuming it was going one way and then it just made my jaw drop. Is there a film that has made your jaw drop?  

LV: There’s so many but the first one that comes to mind is HONEYLAND. Have you seen it?  

JR: No. Not yet. 

LV: You don’t know what to expect. It takes place so far away from Cape Cod and it is just so different. You’re immersed a place with these two women. You have no idea how old they are or what their stories are. You just drop in on them and are transported. It’s so unusual and it is one of the most beautiful films I’ve ever seen. I recommend this film to a lot of people and I always say, ‘You just have to sit with it.’ People usually ask what is about and I say, ‘It’s not about anything I can tell you that will make you want to watch it.’  

JR: To that end, is there a film that you wish more people had seen?  

LV: Yes, WETLANDS. It’s this wild film from PIFF2014. It’s a coming-of-age film that is, uh,  pretty daring. The lead character pushes the envelope in every way. It’s very interesting. I sent people at the festival to go and see it and they afterward they said, ‘What did we just watch?’  It’s not for everybody, but I’m sure John Waters loved it.  

JR: Is there a film that people would be surprised to know you like, something like a guilty pleasure?  

LV: For me it’s not a guilty pleasure because I think it’s one of the most brilliant films ever made–GREY GARDENS. It’s the film that I’ve seen more than any other film and I can never get sick of. I always find time to watch it and each time I see something new. The Maysles were Brookline High graduates, maybe there’s something in the water? <note: Lisa and I grew up in the same Brookline neighborhood. Yet another cool fact about Lisa.>  

JR: Does any part of the film disturb you? I have an issue with the cats and the squalor.  

LV: It’s challenging, for sure. Now that we’re becoming more attuned to mental illness, we realize that these women were suffering. They were women of means at some point. They were left to their own devices and no one was around to care for them. I mean, I do think the Maysles cared about them and I think that in some ways they even lost their objectivity as filmmakers. But I think that great documentarians like them go along on the adventure.  

JR: Do you have a favorite PIFF memory?  

LV: I think when people get to Provincetown they just become easier going then you’d even expect. Maybe it’s the fact that we’re all at sea level, no airs about them. Kathleen Turner was so cool and laid back. Kevin Smith was a sweet teddy bear. Aubrey Plaza was so genuinely excited to see John Waters. Cynthia Nixon was so gracious and truly honored to have her body of work and her activism recognized. A highlight for me was the year we honored Jane Lynch and Gael Garcia Bernal. They both really embraced the spirit of Provincetown.  

JR: What was your first favorite film?  

LV: I loved FIDDLER ON THE ROOF. I had the record and would sing and dance around to it over and over. My father was a cinephile and he would take me to all of these inappropriate  films.  

JR: You know, I hear that over and over again from filmmakers, and my family is guilty of it too,  that they saw age inappropriate films when they were young. And I think that it really is a gift. 

LV: Yes, I credit my Dad with giving me an education in off-beat films like THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH and ERASERHEAD. He took me to the ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW on my thirteenth birthday. He told us that people dress up for it so my friend and I wore these crazy costumes that weren’t anywhere on brand for the show. But we loved it. He also took me  out of school when I was nine to see STAR WARS on opening day.  

JR: Is there a film that you watch to get you out of a funk?


JR: I love that you have answers that nobody else does!  

LV: I saw it with my Dad, in the theatre, and I’ve seen it many times since then. It just puts me  in a happy place even though it’s a melancholy movie. It’s not a comedy, but there’s something about that sweet, small and slightly twisted small town that pulls me in. 

JR: And finally, what are you looking forward to in upcoming PIFFs?  

LV: I get really excited about the next crop of films. I love that every year there’s a real sense of  discovery and we have a chance to share those films with an audience!

Pecker’s Point April 2021


[Letter from the E.D.] [Member in the News] [Institute Updates]
[Cinema Updates] [Festival Updates] [The Launch]

Letter from the Executive Director

“No doubt the next chapter in my book of transformations is already written. I am not done with my changes.”

– Stanley Kunitz

April and the world is finally starting to wake up and shake the winter from its hold. The hope and energetic buzz of Spring is upon us! 

Community has kept us together, and now PFS wants to expand and deepen our community through our Membership Drive. In this moment of transformation, as we strive to recover from the global pandemic, we are recommitting ourselves to our member base, to bringing our local and global community together, in robust and exciting ways.  

This month we will be launching new member categories and benefits, as we build out on-going virtual series, screenings, conversations, educational opportunities and integrations with the industry and filmmakers. Our goal is to not only bring people together, but to engage them in a dynamic way that ultimately has impact. We want to hear from you, we want to grow with you, and we want to create with you. 

Blythe Frank, PFS Executive Director

Wishing everyone a bright and beautiful unfolding of Spring, so much more to come!

~ Blythe

Become a Member

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 virtual cinema and Provincetown Film Festival passes. Join at any level and reap all the cinema-tastic rewards!

Member In The News | Alexandra Foucard

By Tracy Pease

Alexandra Foucard

As the world is seeing a dim light at the end of the tunnel of a global pandemic, PFS has seen a surge in love and support from a flurry of new board members committed to diversity and our little organization at the very end of these United States in Provincetown.  This month’s member in the news, Alexandra Foucard, is the latest PFS board member.  She is a feminist firecracker full of compassion, creativity & talent with a penchant for activism on behalf of the underserved voice.  For PFS, it’s a match made in heaven.

Alexandra is a collaborator. A member of NYWIFT, The FilmmakeHers and Filmshop, she’s known as a renaissance actor of the twenty-first century who believes in setting her own boundaries.  Born in Haiti to French/Spaniard, Dominican/Haitian parents, the actor considers herself a spicy mix of cultures and ethnicities with a big dollop of spirituality.  One of her passions is empowering artists, especially women, to create their own work.  

When asked what brought her to the film society Alexandra said, “I love Provincetown; I love the Provincetown Film Society and what it stands for. Patricia [her partner] and I first came to Provincetown 19 years ago and have been attending  the film festival for almost as many years but only randomly selecting various titles to attend with a love for the international films.  It wasn’t until I met Christine Walker [executive director in 2018] and heard her vision for the organization, that my passion grew.  My experiences with her in the community unity and her vision for where this organization can go, is well beyond our borders”.  

Alexandra is a risk-taker.  She was one of 5 black women to play the role of Fantine in the 40-year history of Les Misérables on Broadway.  Identifying Alexandra as a maverick, the resident director of Les Misérables approached her hoping she might encourage her friends in their sister company of Miss Saigon to  audition.  It was rumored that many talents didn’t bother because they didn’t think the production Misérables would cast as people of color.  

Alexandra is a collaborator who adds a fresh view and perspective to development at PFS. “There is a difference between raising money and development.  Getting our organization to be in conversations with other organizations, networking, exchanging ideas and talents only magnifies all of us and adds bandwidth to our resources.  It’s a good thing to have many influences that blend outsiders like talent and creatives with the locals without being exclusive to a single skill set.  It’s not about changing what we’re doing right as much as it is to build on it.” 

Alexandra is a sponge.  She is a talented and multifaceted individual who’s talked about expanding the inclusion for the PFS Jamaica on Film Festival to the entire Caribbean islands.  “Each island has its own flavor, rich with culture and films that reflect that.  Why not?

Alexandra is a mother.  Her 27-year-old son Philippe-Henry Siclait is an artist and creative who loves films. He often gives his mother spot-on feedback when prepping for auditions. A tenured member of our community, he’s been attending family week every July since he was nine years old.  Today he has a management / graphic design business called the AP Collective managing artists and apparel design.  Like many, he’s hunkered down in Ptown during the pandemic.  

Alexandra is passionate about people.  “That’s why I’m a filmmaker.  I’m interested in relationships and how they affect and reverberate through society and the world.  Anything I can do to ignite that spark in other people who have the desire to tell stories, gives me pleasure.

Alexandra is tireless.  “During this pandemic, I finished a trailer and the proof of concept to shop my 10 episode dramedy, PARK SLOPE MOMS.   Park Slope Moms is a dramedy that I wrote, produced and acted in and explores the dark underbelly of affluent, progressive Brooklyn moms. A BIPOC mom/closeted conservative/high powered attorney now stay at home mom tries to win over the “everyone’s-a-winner” moms.  She faces antagonists at every corner from the organic, non-GMO moms’ patrol to an undercover lesbian spy, and of course the Momfia of Park Slope. There are only women in this world. The men and children are heard but never seen. It is a gift to work with so many talented people. The outcome is so much better than what I ever imagined.  To be able to have a spark of an idea and see this almost four-year journey actually manifest is so fulfilling. My takeaway:  No woman is an island. There is nothing women cannot do when we work together.

Alexandra is multifaceted.  “I have a whole musical theater side to my life.  By far my two favorite roles to play were Fantine on Broadway.  It was always my  dream to be in Les Miz.  And to play the role of Adelaide in GUYS AND DOLLS and given the reign to create my own Adelaide by the Frank Loesser’s estate.  Working with Maurice Hines, theater royalty, taught me so much.

Alexandra is balanced.  “I love Yoga, being in Provincetown walking on the beach and meditating.  Patricia and I both love the ocean.  I watch a lot of films to unwind and lately a lot more  TV series since I am in the process of writing.  To me  it’s all work and play.   We’re hoping to get a dog.  It’s been two years since Samson (the last of our two dogs) passed and so I look forward to the time when we are holding a new puppy.

On her viewpoint to lean into energy she attended a virtual conference at the Center of Self Awareness in Milan, Italy.  The facilitator said, ‘You have to be selfish with yourself and love yourself first before the world loves you.  In loving oneself, you are saying that I can love others.  I want the world around me to be good, powerful, healthy, energetic, and full of opportunity.  We invest so that the world around us is better.  It’s a matter of honoring the  passion that is inside of you.

And the bow that makes this package complete is Patricia Miller, Alexandra’s partner,  a trial attorney in NYC federal courts. Patricia reads and collects books about gay women who lived in Paris between the two world wars. One day, when she has had enough of trial practice, she plans to write a Paris guide to the many homes and haunts of these often forgotten women who played such an enormous role in shaping our current culture.  

The 23rd Annual Provincetown Film Festival

The 23rd Annual Provincetown Film Festival Ten Days of Unflinching Cinema

June 16 – 25, 2021

This year will be a multi-dimensional festival, with dozens of program offerings, virtual screenings, PFFtalks, outdoor screenings, and VIP experiences exclusive to pass holders. In May we will announce our annual festival honorees: Filmmaker on the Edge, Excellence in Acting, and Next Wave Awards. Choose from live outdoor screenings if you’re in town, or stay in the comfort of your home and enjoy films virtually. All films and events will be reserved in advance with e-tickets and limited seating for a safe and environmentally responsible festival.



  • Streaming access to all virtual film screenings throughout the festival from Wednesday, June 16 – Friday, June 25, 2021 (U.S. Only)
  • Enjoy feature-length narrative and documentary films, our shorts programs, and Q&A with filmmakers after select films.
  • Films can be streamed once throughout the festival. 
  • Includes access to Conversations with Award Honorees


Design by Ryan Landry

We are delighted to announce our collaboration with the multi-talented Ryan Landry! Ryan is the inaugural artist of our local Provincetown Artist Series

Proceeds from the sales of Landry-designed merchandise will go to support his theatre company, The Gold Dust Orphans. “I was honored to be asked to design a logo for the Provincetown Film Festival,” said Landry. “I loved brainstorming with PFS’s Julie Rockett. We spoke the same language when it came to design and we came up with an idea that wasn’t nostalgic, it was just vibrant and exciting. It’s going to look amazing on a ringer tee.” 

Over the years, many PIFF honorees have attended Ryan Landry’s Showgirls, “I’ve met many dear friends through the festival like Jennifer Coolidge and Parker Posey. I met Darren Aronofsky just before a show and told him he was going to be my co-host. He was initially pretty reserved but he quickly became a master of savage burns.” 

Ryan adds, “The thing I love about the film festival is that it is celebrating artists and their works. Over the years, I’ve watched it go from an intense, micromanaged event to a more laid back, convivial group of people meeting and sharing ideas. I hope it continues to grow in that direction.”

Member Discount Codes Now Available at Waters Edge Virtual Cinema!

Sign up to become a member and receive exclusive discount codes in your welcome packet. Waters Edge Virtual Cinema delivers a wide variety of new exclusive art house films every week from the comfort of your home. 

Our Popular Summer Film Series at the Mary Heaton Vorse House Returns! Tickets on Sale May 1st!

CELEBRATE DIVERSITY MONTH WITH FILM WATCH PARTIES that coincide with perhaps annual observances that celebrate our diverse cultures and global communities. (All recommended films are streaming online.) 

DINA directed by Antonio Santini, Dan Sickles. Dina is an eccentric and outspoken woman who invites her fiance, Scott, to move in with her. The couple face many challenges as Dina copes with a mental disability, and Scott lives with Asperger’s syndrome.

THE LIGHTHOUSE OF THE WHALES directed by Gerado Olivares A mother travels from Spain to Argentina searching for solutions to help her autistic child.

OCEAN HEAVEN directed by Xiao Lu Xue A terminally ill man (Jet Li) tries to prepare his autistic son for life without him.

THE RIDER directed by Chloé Zhao After a riding accident leaves him unable to compete on the rodeo circuit, a young cowboy searches for a new purpose. Directed by Golden Globe winning director of Nomadland

STAY THEN GO directed by Shelli Ainsworth In a hospital waiting room, a mother reviews her experiences with her autistic son. Directed by PFS Women’s Film Residency Fellow Shelli Ainsworth, STAY THEN GO screened at the 2014 PIFF. 

ARAB AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH We turned to the Arab Film & Media Institute to find out their recommendations for National Arab American Heritage Month. 

AMREEKA directed by Cherien Dabis A vivacious Palestinian woman (Nisreen Faour) and her teenage son (Melkar Muallem) cope with culture clash and more as they try to build a new life in rural Illinois. This film is a great way to better understand the experience of Arab immigrants and the struggles they may face in America, especially since 9/11. 

A THOUSAND AND ONE JOURNEYS: THE ARAB-AMERICANS Directed By Abe Kasbo The immigration experience of Arab-Americans and the contributions they have made to the American way of life.

The Ash Christian Shorts Filmmaking Program

Submissions for the Ash Christian Shorts Filmmaking Program are now closed. Thanks to everyone who submitted scripts and treatments. We spoke to a range of students and educators across the country who will be participating in the inaugural year of what we intend to be a new tradition for the Provincetown Film Institute.
A feature unique to this program is that, though only a few projects will be selected to premier at the Provincetown Film Festival, everyone who applied is invited to participate in workshops designed by our growing list of mentors. The participants who engage in this program will not only be building their ideal mentorship experience, but will be helping to develop a program for years to come. To donate to the Ash Christian Shorts Filmmaking Program, click the button below.

The Launch | Mo Rocca

By Julie Rockett

Mo Rocca, Photo CR: John Paul Filo/CBS

I was twelve years old when I first saw a then 19-year-old Mo Rocca perform. He initially wore an enormous fat suit and then miraculously turned into a diva in a red dress with the tiniest waist in the role of Diane Foratwinkie. I was mesmerized. I remember looking at the playbill and thinking that his name couldn’t be real (who am I to judge?). But his name and performance stuck with me so it was no surprise to see him on The Daily Show and CBS Sunday Morning, although based on his earlier performances, I would have predicted that he would be in a live-action Godspell TV revival rather than the ‘news’. 

My father and I have a wonderful ritual of listening to Wait! Wait! Don’t Tell Me and Mo’s own podcast Mobituaries. His quick wit and historical references are never lost on my Dad and listening to him laugh at Mo’s bon mots is a joy. I am so grateful for the opportunity to express this to the gracious Mo Rocca and discuss great films with him.

Julie Rockett: What films were you obsessed with as a kid?

Mo Rocca: There were three: The Wizard of Oz, the original King Kong from 1931, and Hitchcock’s The Birds. I remember The Birds being on Channel 5 a lot when I was a kid and it made a real impact upon me. I think all three were thrilling and also terrifying. I think the Wicked Witch of the West was so unbelievably scary, like pure evil on the level of Iago or Hitler, which is what I think really makes it work. I think there’s something dream-like quality to them. They all are things that could happen in a screwed up dream, like going to an island with a giant ape and dinosaurs. 

JR: How did you end up seeing King Kong at such a young age?

MR: I feel like it was always on TV on Sundays. King Kong is one of those movies that if it’s on, to this day, I’m going to watch it. Its dialogue is spare, which I love, and it tells you the story through pictures. 

JR: What documentaries do you love?

MR: I really liked The Mayor of Castro Street which was about Harvey Milk. I also loved the recording of the album of Sondheim’s Company.

JR: I love that one! Have you seen the Documentary Now! Satire of it? Paula Pell is amazing as Elaine Stritch!

MR: I need to see that. There’s another documentary, 51 Birch Street, that I found devastating. It’s about a marriage and a son discovering what was really happening in that marriage. It’s simply devastating. 

JR: Did it just take a left turn?

MR: Basically, there were clues all along, and the documentary maker started by recording events around his parents 50th anniversary, which I think were intended just for personal use. He discovers the sacrifices his parents made to keep the family intact. It does take twists and turns and makes anyone reflect on their own parents’ marriage.

JR: When you were at the Hasty Pudding Club, did you have memorable moments with any of your honorees?

MR: My freshman year, we honored Lucille Ball and Steve Martin. Steve Martin was really hot at the time. He had just completed Roxanne and he had successfully transitioned from successful stand up to leading man. One of my cast mates asked him why he agreed to be Man of the Year and he replied, “I did it because I heard I would be honored alongside Lucille Ball.” I remember thinking in my 19-year-old mind that, “Lucille Ball is of my grandmother’s generation but Steve Martin is cool.” It was a realization for me that true talent transcends generations and honors each other. In retrospect, it makes perfect sense because Lucille Ball was a genius. But at the time it surprised that someone as cool as he would bow down to her. Nevertheless, it’s still really cool. 

JR: What have you binged during quarantine?

MR: I thought It’s a Sin on HBO Max was so good. There are things you like that don’t stay with you and there are things you like that do stay with you. It’s hard to predict what stays with you. I think It’s a Sin is more likely to stay with a gay man so it’s not a shocker that it stayed with me. It’s also like, ‘Damn! That British acting training is something.’ There are performances that are so good that in a couple of cases, it’s hard for you to believe that they are not the actual people they are portraying. You have to remind yourself that they’re actors. I also found that Ted Lasso is a real tonic for the time. It’s hard to pull off something hopeful and buoyant without it turning saccharine, and it doesn’t do that. It’s really good.

JR: Is there something about It’s a Sin that keeps it on your mind and resonates with you?

MR: Part of what I found so compelling is that I came of age at a time when AIDS was known and terrifying. I think that for a lot of people around my age, you can’t help but contemplate the math and think, ‘if I had been born five years earlier, would I still be alive?’ I turned twelve in 1981, when the series starts and when people didn’t know much about it, but were terrified of it. The characters in the series are roughly only five years older than me and it is such a starkly different situation for them. 

JR: We honored Larry Kramer a few years ago and he was so frail but he was such a force of nature and lately I’ve really loved hearing about his friendship with Fauci. That people could hear each other. That Fauci could get past the insults and still say, ‘you know you got a point there. Your evidence is solid.’ And Kramer could say, ‘You’re a son of a bitch but you’re my friend.’ It’s a discourse that’s sorely lacking in these times…

MR: Agreed.

JR: If you were to program a series of musicals in Provincetown, what would you pick? 

MR: That’s a tough question, because you don’t want to pick something that everyone’s seen.

JR: Yes, but you want to make sure you have sing-a-long moments from the popular ones like The Muppet Movie

MR: I once did a story on the A Christmas Carol and went to the Dickens’ Christmas Carol Museum in London for it. They said that they think that the best version is the Muppet Christmas Carol and they didn’t say that ironically. Let’s see… I like The Harvey Girls. When Doris Day died, I looked at Calamity Jane again and that has a bunch of great numbers, although that might be more suited for Women’s Week. Little Shop of Horrors is also a great one. Rick Moranis and Steve Martin are outstanding. 

JR: Finally, are there any movies you love that are not necessarily well-known or well-regarded?

MR: I loved the film Earthquake. I couldn’t imagine anything more exciting than it and its all-star cast of Ava Gardener and Charlton Heston. I looked at TV Guide as a teenager and saw that it had only 2.5 stars and I felt wounded. The other one that was terribly reviewed was The Champ with Ricky Schroeder and John Voight. I think it’s considered dreck but I cried my eyes out watching it… along with Black Stallion

JR: Thank you for your time. I hope you get to program some musicals here in the future!

Julie Rockett

Provincetown Film Society


Jump To:

[Letter from the E.D.] [Member in the News] [Institute Updates]
[Cinema Updates] [Festival Updates] [The Launch]


Blythe Frank, PFS Interim Executive Director

Dear PFS Community

I am excited to announce that I have joined PFS as the Interim Executive Director. I am full of hope as 2021 unfolds, and recognize this as a moment of reinvention and renewal. Even through crisis, we continue to discover who we are, and in alignment with PFS’s core mission, celebrate new, diverse voices that boldly lift and lead us forward.

Voices like Amanda Gorman in, ‘The Hill We Climb”:

“When day comes, we step out of the shade,
aflame and unafraid
The new dawn blooms as we free it
For there is always light,
if we’re only brave enough to see it
If we’re only brave enough to be it”

I have been a lifelong part-time resident of Provincetown and Truro with deep ties to the community, a working producer, and professor of film for a combined twenty years.  I bring experience in fundraising, creative development, marketing, and management, as well as strong ties to the industry, non-profit board experience, and a love of storytelling in all its forms.  I am a problem-solver, a bridge builder, and though seasoned at the day to day, I anchor all the work I do with an eye toward thought of where we can go, and where we can grow. 

I join an incredibly talented and devoted staff and board, who have tirelessly helped weather the storm of 2020, and we find ourselves at a moment where we have much to look forward to.  As ED, my immediate goals are to continue finding ways to bring sustainability to the organization, while also developing new sources of funding for PFS, including new programs and initiatives that support the organization’s mission and create new opportunities for our members and filmmakers. 

I look forward to the journey ahead, and the new voices we will discover together. 

With gratitude,

Known for its unique culture, world-class dining, and artful experiences and performances, Provincetown has established itself as a hub for creative personal expression. Provincetown Film Society’s Winter Auction captures all the things that make Provincetown the wonderful place that it is. Browse through our listings and bid on one-of-a-kind experiences, delicious dining, and hidden treasures; all featuring the people and places that call Provincetown home.


Celebrate Black History Month by screening new release films, reacquainting yourself with films from past PIFF festivals, or revisiting classics that you may have missed. All of these titles are available on various streaming platforms – many are directorial debuts. Here are some suggestions:

13TH directed by Ava DuVernay (2016) Explores the history of racial inequality in the United States, focusing on the fact that the nation’s prisons are disproportionately filled with African-Americans. A timely film that highlights the issues behind the recent executive order signed by President Biden to not renew any federal contracts with private prisons. (Netflix)

BAMBOOZLED directed by Spike Lee (2000) A frustrated African American TV writer proposes a blackface minstrel show in protest, but to his chagrin it becomes a hit. A blisteringly funny, unapologetically confrontational satire, Bamboozled is a stinging indictment of mass entertainment at the turn of the century. (Amazon Prime)

BOYZ IN THE HOOD directed by John Singleton (1991) It’s hard to believe that this classic coming-age-‘hood’ drama was the late John Singleton’s fresh out of college feature film debut starring Ice Cube, Cuba Gooding Jr. Laurence Fishburne and recent first-time director herself, Regina King (One Night in Miami). Following the lives of three young males living in the Crenshaw ghetto of Los Angeles, the story contemplates future prospects in the face of social and economic turmoil.  

DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST directed by Julie Dash, (1991) Julie Dash’s rapturous vision of Black womanhood and vanishing ways of life in the turn-of-the-century South was the first film directed by an African American woman to receive a wide release. Addressing weighty themes with lovely visuals and a light, poetic touch, offering an original, absorbing look at a largely unexplored corner of American culture.

THE DEATH AND LIFE OF MARSHA P. JOHNSON directed by David France (2017) Chronicles the life and mysterious death of celebrated LGBTQ rights activist Marsha P. Johnson, who was found floating in the Hudson River. Originally ruled a suicide, many in the community believe she was murdered. Paying tribute to Johnson’s important role in the LGBTQ movement, the film also laments the loss of a beloved figure who was a mother of sorts to many transgendered people in the city.   

EVE’S BAYOU directed by Kasi Lemmons (1997) Over the course of a long, hot Louisiana summer, a 10-year-old black girl, Eve Batiste (Jurnee Smollett), discovers that her family’s affluent existence is merely a facade. A striking feature debut for director Kasi Lemmons, the film layers terrific performances and Southern mysticism into a measured meditation on disillusionment and forgiveness.

FRUITVALE STATION directed by Ryan Coogler (2013) Based on the true story of Oscar Grant III, the film takes place in the hours before his murder by a police officer on New Year’s Day in 2008 at the Bay Area Rapid Transit station of the title. Featuring the debut performance of Michael B. Jordan, the film, in its restraint, delivers a sobering portrayal of the consequences of unconscious bias and racism.  

JUST ANOTHER GIRL ON THE I.R.T. directed by Leslie Harris. (1992) A teen girl struggles to reconcile her desire for self-improvement with her rebellious nature and her lack of maturity in this coming-of-age drama, which won first-time director Leslie Harris a special jury prize at the 1993 Sundance Film Festival.

THE LAST BLACK MAN IN SAN FRANCISCO directed by Joe Talbot. (2019) A moving wistful odyssey of a young man searching for home in a gentrified Bay Area community. Populated by skaters, squatters, street preachers, playwrights and other locals on the margins who attempt to lay claim to the community that has left them behind. 

PRECIOUS directed by Lee Daniels (2009) Director Lee Daniels poured his own experiences of domestic volatility into this searing adaptation of Sapphire’s novel Push, about a Harlem girl whose journey to literacy may just set her free. Mo’Nique won an Oscar for her supporting role as Precious’ mother and launched the career of Gabourey Sidibe, playing the traumatized and then triumphant title character.

SLAM directed by Marc Levin (1998) Winner of the Grand Jury Prize for Dramatic Film at Sundance and the Camera d’Or at Cannes, Slam tells the story of Ray Joshua, an original, gifted young poet trapped in a war-zone housing project in Washington, D.C. One day he is arrested on petty drug charges and ends up jail, where he meets two people who can redirect his life: a prison gang leader or a beautiful female poet teaching a self-expression class for inmates. 

SPRINTER directed by Storm Saulter (2019) Tells the story of a Jamaican teen who is burdened by an unstable father and an unruly older brother hopes a meteoric rise in track-and-field can reunite him with his mother, who has lived illegally in the U.S. for over a decade. Screened at Provincetown Jamaican Film Festival in 2019. 

SAVE THE DATE! State of the Media Summit May 20, 2021

4th Annual The State of Media Summit (aka the Women’s Media Summit) presented by the Provincetown Film Society, The Geena Davis Institute, and The Representation Project will take place on Thursday, May 20th. Find more details in our upcoming March Newsletter. 


The Ash Christian Shorts Filmmaking Program is seeking submissions from emerging LBGTQ Filmmakers, ages 16-20 years old. The program is a three-month online initiative for emerging LGBTQ creatives who submit a short film or treatment that addresses the themes of ‘fitting in, standing out, being yourself,’ and who demonstrate an ability to work with a team of experienced mentors and professionals dedicated to helping them complete a quality short film. Deadline for submissions is March 3. Youth educators, please send inquiries to:


LGBTQ+ TV Representation Falls for First Time in 5 Years

An annual report found that 9.1 percent of characters scheduled to appear on prime-time broadcast series identified as L.G.B.T.Q. in the 2020-21 season, down from 10.2 percent.

For the first time in five years, LGBTQ representation on television decreased, an annual report by the LGBTQ+ advocacy organization GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) has found.

The findings were published recently in a report called “Where We Are on TV,” available at It assessed representation in the 2020-21 season, defined as broadcast, cable and streaming shows expected to premiere new seasons between June 1, 2020, and May 31, 2021.

Normalizing Injustice: The Dangerous Misrepresentations that define Televisions Scripted Crime Genre.

A report put out by Color of Change Hollywood is a first of its kind on how scripted crime shows represent the criminal justice system. Normalizing injustice found that the crime TV genre—the main way that tens of millions of people learn to think about the criminal justice system—advanced debunked ideas about crime, a false hero narrative about law enforcement, and distorted representations about Black people, other people of color and women. These shows rendered racism invisible and dismissed any need for police accountability. They made illegal, destructive and racist practices within the criminal justice system seem acceptable, justifiable and necessary—even heroic. The study found that the genre is also incredibly undiverse in terms of creators, writers and showrunners: nearly all white.


By Tracy Pease

From left to right:Adam LaFrance, John Lee, Anthony Tannous, Andrea Sawyer, Anthony Lawson & Jay Critchley.

The first time I met this member in the news she was volunteering at the little red fire station on Commercial Street for the Provincetown International Film Festival.  Soon I would learn how much time she really spends in the firehouse (and other locales) throughout the year volunteering, donating her art to raise money for various causes, and serving others – literally as she does each week at SKIP – Soup Kitchen in Provincetown.  Andrea Sawyer not only has a love of film, she is an artist and an activist for democracy, for inclusion and for people.  PFS refers to the rare and precious humans that possess Andrea’s amalgam of aptitude as “artivists”.

Andrea, originally from Falmouth, Maine is what we call in our family “the first pancake” – the oldest child in her family.  She has three sons (Charlie, Andrew & Ian), Sarah who she lovingly refers to as her “favorite daughter”, and nine grandchildren.  

‘Andi’, first came to Ptown on vacation in 1995 with her husband Larry, when their youngest child left the nest.  Having seen herself as an artist since she was five years old, she’d also had a successful career in real estate from 1992 until December 2014 when she dedicated her career full time to painting, primarily oil on linen and canvas.

“The first time I came here, we were driving down Route 6 in July.  The sun was low bouncing off of the dunes.  I had an epiphany and knew there was something about this place that gave me a distinct impression that I would someday live in the town that I had yet to see.  I have that feeling every time I look at those dunes.  We increased our visits more and more extending to 2 to 3 months each year. On our returns to Maine, I would sob all the way to Sagamore Bridge.”

When asked what inspired her to take her talent more seriously, she said “We were raising 4 children and had full-time careers.  Until then, I only had enough time to dabble.  But as empty nesters, I didn’t have any excuse not to.  I’d wandered into the Kiley Court Gallery on my first visit here and fell in love with Bobby Cardinal’s work.  I couldn’t wait to get home to paint, and paint I did.  About five years later I took a week-long class from him to hone my skills.  Although our styles are vastly different, that experience taught me to fight for my own style while making improvements that exist in my work today.  I thank him for the artist I have become.”

In January of 2014 Andrea lost her husband of thirty years, Lawrence Sawyer.  She describes him as a gentle and beautiful man of wise counsel who opened his life to her, her four children and eventually 8 grandchildren – (their ninth, Sadie was born after his death).  “He was intelligent, my knight in shining armor; a man who loved his family.”  

It will come as no surprise that Andrea craves the light in Provincetown.  An avid world traveler she says “The light is so different from anywhere I’ve been.  It’s the quality of light bouncing off the water around us.  Everything is filled with that light.”  She acknowledged that some similarities of light exist in Italy especially as one travels north and then declared about her beloved Provincetown, “the skin of the universe is thin here.”

Erudite, Andrea goes to bed most nights with a good book.  Her devotion beyond art proffers to music, listening to the likes of The Three Tenors, Duke Ellington, Leonard Cohen, and this season a lot of Christmas music while she bakes or cooks large vats of yummy soup from scratch.  Her daily living is a collection of encounters that broaden her perspectives of the world.  

Andrea knits, which I refer to as her guilty pleasure, as she feels the need to steal time in the day to do so.  After seeing her work online, I’m convinced that Jen Ellis of Vermont (currently under siege with requests for mittens similar to the ones she made for Bernie Sanders worn at the 2021 inauguration) would gladly accept Andrea’s help.

Ironically, in 2017, Andrea voraciously knitted “little kitty” hats for every member of her travel party, knitting even as they drove to Washington D.C. to join the Women’s March.  There were nine hats in all, including one for her infant granddaughter.  “It was one of the greatest experiences of my life.”  For people of all ages, genders and ethnicities to amass together declaring that women’s rights are human rights resonating a familiar strain over centuries in our nation.   Somehow the synchronicities of this particular talent and political events line up for Andrea like the light in Provincetown.   Two words amply describe Andrea’s sense of indisputable hope regarding the new administration on Pennsylvania Avenue: “Looking forward”.

Andrea lives in-the-now, every minute with pursuits ranging from redecorating, service to others, nesting, taking walks, listening to a friend in need, self-study, self-improvement, indulging in ‘framily’ and making time for an eclectic selection of movie classics the likes of Harold & Maude, Casablanca, The Godfather, and Forrest Gump “for the sweetness” and Miracle on 34th Street “because it’s Christmas”.

When I was young my father was a projectionist in the fabulous old theaters in Portland, and as I was the oldest he would often take me to work with him on weekends.  One of my earliest memories is watching The Wizard of Oz all by myself in the front row of the balcony of the State Theater, drinking orange soda and eating popcorn, while Daddy kept an eye on me from the projection booth.

A recent pursuit is learning to sail with ‘B’ (for Brian O’Malley), love of her life. “Brian had been my doctor.  Both of us were widowed, and I became his ‘theater buddy’, he also had concert buddies and hiking buddies. At 71 (we’re two months apart) each of us assumed we were just too old and opinionated to find love again, but one night after he walked me home from the Provincetown Theatre he kissed me, and it was all she wrote.  Oh, the boat, she’s a small Beetle Cat named ‘Granny.’  B is well-spoken, engaged, thoughtful, caring and loving. I enlisted him to serve at SKIP where we now work on Fridays.  We work our asses off preparing 125 regular meals and 40 vegan meals every week. We’re a good pair and we complement one another.”

When I asked about their future, she said, “We have 28 ½ years left on our contract with an option to renew”.

On any given day, one can log onto Facebook and view Andrea’s gratitude journal.  Daily she describes what she’s thankful for, what she’s looking forward to and an awareness, new or revisited.  Inside those entries one will identify a pattern of attributes that circumscribe the remarkable woman within.  

Exclusive Films at Waters Edge Virtual Cinema!

Virtual Cinema delivers a wide variety of exclusive new films every week. 
Enjoy art house movies at home. 

Closed Cinema offers private parties, starry auction — Cape Cod Times

Rent Waters Edge Cinema
 with your family or house mates to screen your favorite films! Choose from our selection of films, or bring your own film, home videos, and more to enjoy! Starting at $149

Save the Date!!!

Provincetown Film Festival 2021

June 16-25, 2021
Now accepting submissions! 
Late Deadline: February 8

THE LAUNCH with Julie Rockett

The famous psychiatrist Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross wrote, “The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.

Michelle Boyaner

If these are our standards for beauty, then let us crown Michelle Boyaner our new Miss America! Was it close? No, not really, especially when she and her wife Barbara Green clinched the talent competition back in 2015 with their documentary, Packed in a Trunk: The Lost Art of Edith Lake Wilkinson. It was this #PIFF Award-winning documentary that first brought Michelle to Provincetown. We’ve been fortunate to have her return as a resident of our Women’s Filmmaking Institute and as a leader during the Women’s Media Summits.

She has spent the last five years bringing her upcoming documentary, It’s Not a Burden: The Humor and Heartache of Raising Elderly Parents, to fruition. While we eagerly await its release, I caught up with Michelle and found out about her ‘lowbrow and proud’ appreciation of films, a plan to remake Urban Cowboy, and the role Provincetown has played in shaping her films.

Julie Rockett: Your early narrative short, You’re Still Young, is about a young gay woman who is visited by her older self who warns her to hang in there and reassures her that she’ll be okay. If you could visit your younger filmmaking self, what advice would you give?

Michelle Boyaner: Don’t put anything on your credit card. [laughs] I’d tell myself, ‘it’s sacrifice, no matter what.” I would do everything the same but I would make more of them. And I will, I will continue to make more films.

JR: How did you find the story of Edith Lake Wilkinson?

MB: These subjects find us. That’s been true throughout all of our filmmaking. Our friends, Jane (Edith’s grand-niece) and Tess, approached us with the story of Edith. And I am forever grateful because that story brought us to Provincetown. We discovered the town through its history and Edith’s history. Jane became like ‘Dorothy’ in The Wizard of Oz meeting all these wonderful characters along the way and the town embraced us. 

JR: Were you introduced to film by your parents?

MB: No, not at all. The first time I remember being impacted by a film was from the rainy day schedule in middle school. If there was rain, out came the projector and their one film, Brian’s Song. I saw this depressing film about a dying college student like three times in one year. But I didn’t get movies at home. It was all TV and variety shows like Donny and Marie and Helen Reddy and Carol Burnett. That helped make me into a not-fancy-film person. My early influences were Bugsy Malone and Ice Castles. I am the least pretentious film lover.

JR: Do you recall the first movie you saw in a theatre?

MB: It would have been in a drive-in. Probably the Highway 39 Drive-In with me in footie pajamas. Hmm… I remember in 1982, my good friend, DeDee’s sister Michelle was in a movie and I remember standing in front of that film poster for Grease 2. 

JR: Wait, DeDee’s sister is Michelle Pfieffer?!

MB: Yes! We were friends in high school. And there we all were seeing a movie with someone we knew which was memorable. As for other movies, I always liked things that were relatable. Like, I went to camp so there’s Little Darlings… But I have to say that one film that profoundly effected me was Defending Your Life because it showed what you could do in terms of suspending disbelief in storytelling. Because I had always tried to make up in my mind what had happened to my baby brother who died when I was three. Defending Your Life clearly imagined what the afterlife looked like and incorporated one’s real life into. It’s impact on me was huge.

JR: So I had a friend whose younger sister wanted to get a tattoo and her advice to her was, “Keep in mind, at one point my favorite film was La Bamba.” Is there a movie that you look back on and don’t find as profound now?

MB: That would probably be Bugsy Malone because these were kids in adult situations, drinking in a night club, smoking, driving cars and it was a musical. It was glorious!

JR: So do you regret your Bugsy Malone tattoo? But seriously, why did they cast it with kids?

MB: Because it was the take. It’s like my desire to remake Urban Cowboy with all women. 

JR: Really?

MB: Oh yes! I would love to do that!

JR: What’s your favorite documentary?

MB: For sure, Grey Gardens. The Maysles just followed them like flies on the wall and that’s the type of documentary I love the most. Harlan County, USA and Sarah Polley’s The Stories We Tell. It’s the story of Sarah’s family and a family secret. She didn’t have access to b-roll so she cast actors and created this incredible b-roll to go along with certain parts of the storytelling. I haven’t seen anything like that before and I just love her work in general. 

JR: Finally, what makes Provincetown special to you.

MB: Oh god…. I literally tear up. I have been poked with a fork several times and Provincetown seeped in. It’s on a soul level. There is something about its soul that speaks to me and I can’t articulate what it is other than a feeling of peacefulness and freedom. Knowing that someone like Edith Lake Wilkinson went there and could live and create her art and many years later we came back and got to spend days writing and walking its beautiful empty streets…. it was like patchouli to me. It skunked me but I didn’t want to take a tomato juice bath. And it’s there, there forever. It’s so special and hopefully it can continue to be that. It’s a sickness and a love. I hope that a Starbucks never opens there.



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – January 21, 2021

Provincetown, MA – Provincetown Film Society (PFS) is excited to share details of their upcoming 2021 winter auction. “Having weathered the financial hardship of 2020, PFS is eager to return to their mission-based work to lift diverse voices and promote gender and race equity through film. PFS is pleased to announce their first ever Winter Auction, which will not only celebrate all things Provincetown but will also enable PFS to resume programming and community outreach.” says Anthony Lawson, PFS Board President.

The success of this auction will enable PFS to move forward with the 23rd Provincetown International Film Festival (June 16 – 25th), fund the cinemas and continue their year-round programming including the annual Women’s Media Summit, Film Financing Forum, Jamaica on Film Festival, and the LGBTQIA2+ Young Film-Maker Mentorships.

Get ready to chase the winter blues away with all the things that make Provincetown unique and memorable! The centerpiece is a tour of Provincetown’s past and public sex spots. Hear the stories and visit the sites and then join John for drinks and dinner at Bubala’s By the Bay.

The Winter Auction is full of truly unforgettable experiences and quintessentially Provincetown-centric items. The response and generosity from the Provincetown community and supporters has been overwhelming with over 100 items. There is something for everyone! From incredible vacation stays, one-of-a-kind masterpieces, to gift cards for sumptuous dining encounters. This auction gives bidders a chance to support the Provincetown Film Society after a challenging year due to Covid-19 and celebrate Provincetown itself. Additional items include:

  • A literary tour of Provincetown concluding with lunch at the Norman Mailer House with East End Books owner Jeff Peters
  • A virtual Provincetown architectural tour with David Dunlap
  • A 2-night stay for 4 with dinner at the Mary Heaton Vorse House
  • A writing salon with Michael Cunningham
  • A literary salon and lunch with writer and Grub Street artistic director Christopher Castellani
  • A personalized voicemail greeting recorded by Kathleen Turner
  • A PIFF workshop with film festival programmers
  • A history tour of Provincetown restaurants with Spiritus and Bubala’s owner John Yingling
  • Exclusive and unique luxury Provincetown rentals

What: PFS 2021Virtual Winter Auction
Who: Open to all, virtually through Bidding For Good
When: Early registration and preview of items begins January 18th. Auction begins January 29th, 12:01 AM – February 7th,11:59 PM
Where: Auction link:

If interested in sponsorship opportunities, donating an item or questions regarding the event, please contact Sarah Macaulay Nitsch, (310) 463-1508 or email

About PFS
Provincetown Film Society (PFS) which began as the Provincetown International Film Festival (PIFF) in 1999, is a non-profit arts organization dedicated to showcasing new achievements in independent film and honoring the work of emerging as well as acclaimed directors, producers and actors. Our mission is articulated through three primary activities: the annual Provincetown International Film Festival (PIFF); a year-round theater operation, Water’s Edge Cinema; and the Gabrielle A. Hanna Provincetown Film Institute for film and media artist residencies and conferences. A substantial contributor to the economic and creative vitality of America’s oldest art colony, PFS is dedicated to becoming a sustainable, year-round cultural organization that brings film education, genre-specific festivals, and cultural partnerships to outer Cape Cod.

CONTACT: Sarah Macaulay Nitsch, Development & Media Relations,
Provincetown Film Society
PO Box 605 | Provincetown, MA 02657
Phone # (310) 463-1508


Ever wonder what movies the staff of the Film Society are watching when we aren’t planning festivals or running our cinema? Join us each month as the Provincetown Film Society lets you know WHAT WE’RE WATCHING!

December’s theme: Holiday movies!

Andrew Peterson
Festival Programmer

BABETTE’S FEAST: The setting is very Olde Timey Christmas—a small Norwegian village in December 1883. Babette, a French refugee, repays the generosity of her pious hosts by cooking a spectacular feast worthy of any Christmas table. An Oscar winner for Best Foreign Film, Babette’s Feast is about giving and receiving love, with no expectation of anything in return, and stars the sublime Stéphane Audran. The last lines of the film, which speak to the appreciation every artist desperately yearns for but rarely receives, slay me every time.

RARE EXPORTS: A Christmas Tale. On Christmas Eve in Finland, the real Santa Claus is unearthed in an archaeological dig. But unlike most depictions of Jolly Old Saint Nick, this Santa Claus is a malevolent supernatural entity based on real Scandinavian lore. A thoroughly unique spin on the dark origins of Santa Claus for anyone who wants a decidedly different Christmas movie. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

Tracy Pease (left)
Director of Development

Two of my holiday cinema favorites are steeped in tradition.  From the time my children were young (my youngest wasn’t born when the movie came out) we watched and loved HOME ALONE.  My kids can readily recite every line of the movie in heavy competition with their dad.  We still have it on VHS.  Not the VHS player but I can’t part with it – as if our family might fall apart if I did.  Last year I ordered it on Netflix and watched it with my grandson for the first time.  He’s watched it half a dozen times since then. Still a hit since 1990!

LOVE ACTUALLY, another favorite, is not quite appropriate for my 7-year-old grandson and may never be a favorite, especially to watch with his grandmother, but my daughter and I have watched it together every holiday for the last 10 years including Thanksgiving 2020.  Gotta love the Prime Minister’s moves and who doesn’t love the primarily English all-star cast.  God Save the Queen!

Patricia Doon – CFO
My holiday favorites are AUNTIE MAME with Rosalind Russell. One of my favorite holiday songs is “We Need a Little Christmas”. Other must sees – CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS, SCROOGED, ELF, and LOVE ACTUALLY. I’ll also be tuning in to Boston Ballet’s 2019 Urban Nutcracker being streamed in 2020 on a donation basis. 

Heidi Bolinder
Director of Program Operations

My 2 favorite Christmas movies have always been and will always be:
ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS, starring Ethan Embry and Thora Birch. They play the kids of an upper class Manhattanite and her ex-husband who runs a diner. When the sister asks a mall Santa (Leslie Nielsen) to get her parents back together, her older brother comes up with a crazy scheme to try and make it happen. My favorite part of the movie is when Hallie (Thora Birch) sings a duet of BABY, IT’S COLD OUTSIDE with her grandmother, played by Lauren Becall. 

CHRISTMAS EVERYDAY: It’s exactly like GROUNDHOG DAY, except instead of Bill Murray, it stars my #1 favorite 90’s heartthrob Erik Von Detten. He keeps waking up to relive his shitty Christmas over and over again until he “gets it right”. (Fun fact: Erik Von Detten is one of the choir boys in the opening scene of ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS too) Erik Von Detten is my Christmas angel.

Julie Rockett (left)
Social Media Manager

IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE: Runner Katherine Switzer said, “If you find yourself losing faith in human nature, go watch a marathon.” It’s too cold for that so this movie is a great substitute. I smile and lose control over my eyeholes every time I watch it. 

TRADING PLACES: I love a great comedy and this is one of my favorites and it occurs during the holidays so it counts, right? Seeing Winthorpe on a Philly bus eating a smoke salmon from his mangy Santa beard kills me.

Lisa Viola
Festival Programmer

My 2 holiday picks are IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE and BAD SANTA: the angel and devil of Christmas films!

My mother was named after Donna Reed from IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE so it has been a longstanding tradition in our family to watch it every holiday season without fail. Jimmy Stewart chews the scenery in the very best way possible and I’m pretty sure we’re all currently living in ‘Pottersville.’ 
BAD SANTA is just good plain fun. Directed by Terry Zwigoff (director of CRUMB—another must see) and starring Billy Bob Thornton (nominated for a Golden Globe), the film was a surprising box office and critical hit when it was released in 2003. 

Both of them love MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET and LOVE ACTUALLY during the holiday season!

Ellen Birmingham (left)
Communications & Event Operations Manager

My undisputed #1 choice for best version of “A Christmas Carol” goes to none-other than A MUPPET CHRISTMAS CAROL. This was the first major Muppet production after Jim Henson’s passing, and you can feel the love that went into making this movie. The classic Muppet humor and whimsical puppets fit the ghostly story well. I am particularly fond of Gonzo and Rizzo’s bromance as they narrate the story.

My other favorite is ELF – its quick pacing makes it rewatchable year after year. The “Pennies from Heaven” scene is one of my favorites, and is made all the better knowing that many people in it were not actors, but everyday New Yorkers genuinely reacting to Will Ferrell’s shenanigans. And remember everyone, “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear!”

Erica Giokas
Website & Box Office Manager

A CHILD’S CHRISTMAS IN WALES. I love the poem by Dylan Thomas and all the details about the different aunts and uncles, neighbors and other grownups. How kids make their own little worlds to pass the time while adults are visiting. And the magic of how music and light brings generations of family together in the cold dark of winter.

HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS (the original animated of course!). Its classic Dr Seuss illustration and a secular way to show the celebration of family, community, and the spirit of giving. The first winter I moved to Ptown from NYC and went to the lighting of the Lobster Pot Tree, I felt like a little Who singing in Whoville and knew I was home.

Sarah Nitsch – Sponsorship & Donor Events
DIE HARD (1988) for us is a Christmas eve tradition, usually while enjoying some tequila and present wrapping. When we lived in West LA you could see “Nakatomi Plaza” from our apartment, it was always fun to see it around the holidays. We pick up all sorts of new things each time we watch it. The 80’s hair and fashion is just classic, the color of John Maclean’s tank-top  (wife beater) gets really dark at some points, and Alan Rickman is just the most amazing villain (always) and really the Christmas party is such an HR nightmare!! “Come out the the coast, we’ll get together, have a few laughs.”

Having grown up with my family into the original Vacation film and a love of Chevy Chase, I gotta say NATIONAL LAMPOON’S CHRISTMAS VACATION (1989) is a classic. We watch it each year and we still laugh, my boys have started to watch it and appreciate the humor – just enough cousin Eddie for them. Look at the cast too! The usual suspects, but Juliette Lewis as the daughter, Johnny Galecki – pre Big Bang Theory, Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Margo the quintessential yuppie next door neighbor. It’s got a little something for everyone, written by John Hughes, his love for Chicago continues in the film and it was based on his short story Christmas ’59 which was published in National Lampoon (1980). Originally it was set to be directed bu Chris Columbus, but he and Chevy Chase did not get along – so later Hughes went to Columbus to do Home Alone together. Which is another classic holiday film for the whole family, it makes me miss John Candy! 

We hope you saw a new film to add to your holiday line-up, or was reminded of one of your tried and true favorites! From all of us at the Provincetown Film Society, we hope you have a safe, healthy, and happy holiday season!



Letter From the Board President

By April of this year, the non-profit sector in Massachusetts had lost $8 billion and 15,000 jobs. Cultural non-profits were hit particularly hard, and many have since closed for good. Thanks to the dedication of our staff, board, and community, the Provincetown Film Society is not among them. You stuck by us in what were, with no exaggeration, the darkest days of our organization.

In July, largely through volunteer efforts, PFS was able to present a re-imagined virtual film festival which, in characteristic P-town fashion, charted a new path for other film festivals across the country. PFS was the first to offer an outdoor drive-in experience, including a double feature selected by renowned director John Waters, as well as a robust program of in-depth conversations with artists and directors, complementing a stellar array of films. Mischa Richter’s film, I AM A TOWN, played to a sold-out audience and was a true highlight in an historic year, speaking to our love of Provincetown, the resilience of our community, and the power of artistic expression.

Mischa Ritcher at The Wellfleet Drive-In, PIFF Reimagined, 2020.
Photo by Mae Gammino.

We were then able to continue raising money throughout the summer with weekly outdoor screenings at the Mary Heaton Vorse House, in partnership with the Provincetown Arts Society, as well as a mini-film festival honoring our former executive director, Christine Walker, who now leads our diversity initiatives. Although I am happy to report we were able to re-hire our staff in October, we are not yet out of the woods. We still need your support to continue championing diverse voices, speaking truth to power, and making P-town a global destination for creative exploration in film. 

Our team is hard at work on PIFF 2021, which promises to be a rich and rewarding experience, full of surprises and innovative ways to meet the occasion. We also look forward to resuming our work promoting gender and race equity in the film industry. With your continued support, I have no doubt we will return as strong as ever to bring Provincetown to the world, at a time when our vision of a just and equitable society can serve as an inspiration. 

In fact, one of the most surprising twists of the year, for me, was seeing our virtual festival reach places far and wide, including Wyoming, Arkansas, Alabama, Oklahoma, and Utah, amongst many others. We have uncommon resources and with them a responsibility to be there for people across the nation and around the world. Our virtual platform has the power to provide people with access to artists like never before, and we will continue to use that platform to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

Representation in film matters. It has the power to humanize the “other,” change how people see one another, and redraw the boundaries of inclusion within the human heart. With one of the most divisive presidential elections in our nation’s history now behind us, the urgency of our mission has never been greater, as we believe film is uniquely suited to promote the empathy required for sustaining one of the most pluralistic, complex democracies in the world. Thank you again for your support. I invite you to continue joining us in our work; we cannot do it without you.

Anthony Lawson

Member In The News

By Tracy Pease

A person sitting at a table and smiling at the camera

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Blythe Robertson

Checking all the boxes, this month’s member in the news is a narrative and documentary film producer, a decades-long Massachusetts convert, and uniquely the newest member of the Provincetown Film Society Board of Directors, Blythe Robertson.  Blythe said, “I’m excited to join the PFS board to help further their advocacy of diversity in film and look forward to bringing new ideas to expand this vision.”

You’ve seen her on the streets of Provincetown, at the Waters Edge Cinema taking in a movie, at the annual June film festivals, at the Women’s Media Summits and Film Financing Forum.  She’s rolled up her sleeves to fundraise at PFS’ recent production of DIFFERENT FROM THE OTHERS in the Boston neighborhood of Dorchester and now PFS is pleased to add her name to the board roster. 

Originally from Huntsville Alabama, Blythe is a graduate of the University of Alabama.  With her wife Mary & dog Maisy, this fall, they moved east from Provincetown to Truro to renovate a fixer-upper that will have all the flair and style uniquely them!

Blythe has been making films for 15+ years. During COVID, she has been in development with South African director Bruce Donnelly on the feature documentary, THE ELEPHANT CORRIDOR about human-elephant conflict in southern Africa and how scientists, rural communities and park wardens are coming together to solve the crisis by using, of all things, honeybees.

Blythe executive produced Ira Sachs’ LITTLE MEN, starring Greg Kinnear and Paulina Garcia, which premiered at Sundance 2016. Previously, she EP’d Sachs’ critically acclaimed LOVE IS STRANGE, starring John Lithgow, Alfred Molina and Marisa Tomei, which was nominated for four Independent Spirit Awards. She produced ABOUT SUNNY, starring Lauren Ambrose and was nominated for another Independent Spirit Award.   Closer to home, Blythe was a line producer on the American Experience/Frontline doc series, GOD IN AMERICA. Other projects include The History Channel’s Emmy-nominated, DESPERATE CROSSING: THE UNTOLD STORY OF THE MAYFLOWER.  Blythe also co-produced the revival of Broadway’s revival of SIDE SHOW.

I’ve always been drawn to stories of social inequality and I’d like to think my films reflect that. My goal is that the projects I’m involved with create awareness around the unjust issues they highlight” said Robertson. PFS is thrilled to be part of this Legacy Member in The News’ next chapter.

Institute News

During this time of unprecedented global crisis and economic and racial upheaval, the lessons from previous crises tells us that a commitment to diversity and inclusion could easily take a back seat to other priorities. Yet, even during these trying times, we maintain that diversity and inclusion are in fact critical to recovery, resilience and reimagination. As we look towards and plan for a brighter and healthier future, among our priorities is to continue to amplify the diverse voice, particularly the least represented and to step up our efforts to hold ourselves and others accountable for supporting and incentivizing storytellers that represent the full breadth of human understanding and experience. Heading up our diversity initiatives will be former PFS CEO Christine Walker. Over the course of her tenure, she oversaw the development of the Women Filmmakers Residency Program, the Women’s Week Film Festival, the First Annual PFS Jamaican Film Festival, the PFS Film Financing Forum for Diverse Projects, the Celebration of Transgender Filmmakers and the Transgender Filmmaker’s Community Forum, among other programs.

Ash Christian Courtesy of Lon Haber & Co.
Ash Christian Photo Courtesy of Lon Haber & Co.

Soon we will launch the Ash Christian Shorts Filmmaking Program for LGBTQ Youth, named after a prolific filmmaker and dear friend who served on the PFS advisory board and tragically passed this past Fall at the young age of 35. Ash is credited for jump-starting the careers of several first-time filmmakers and he produced our PFS Annual Film Financing Forum. At the forum, Ash encouraged all aspiring filmmakers to above all, ‘go out and make a short film.’ Through this program, Ash’s legacy will ensure that select applicants will work with industry professionals to develop and create a short film that will serve as a calling-card for future opportunities. Look for more information in the coming weeks.

In January, we will also announce new guidelines for our Sixth Annual Women Filmmaker’s Residency Program which will take place at the newly redesigned Mary Heaton Vorse House, the historical home of the late Provincetown author, journalist, and activist. 

Let’s Go Back to the Movies!

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Save the Date!!!
Provincetown Film Festival 2021
June 16-25, 2021

Calling all filmmakers! Submissions for the 2021 Provincetown Film Festival are now open–early bird deadline is December 4. Submit your narrative, documentary or short films here

THE LAUNCH with Julie Rockett

I’m delighted to be relaunching The Launch and who better to do it with than Provincetown’s own Fermin Rojas? You probably know Fermin as being a champion of Provincetown Film Society. We are in his debt for his inspired idea of taking Provincetown Film Society on the road and having fundraising dinners in New York, Houston, San Francisco and other great cities (we hope to add more cities to this vibrant list when all this mishugas is over and we can travel freely again.). 

Fermin Rojas

He and his husband, Jay Kubesch, are partners in DKR Films. Their documentary, BLACK MAMBAS, was a PIFF2019 award winner. His past documentaries include REVOLUTIONS which chronicled Fermin’s return to Cuba after 50 years to create a Cuban Gay Men’s Chorus. You also definitely don’t recognize him from directing a comedy short I wrote about Sarah Huckabee Sanders. He did an impeccable job of making me look so very much like her that I’d resent him for that if I didn’t adore him.

Julie Rockett: Were you able to see any films during this past summer’s PIFF Reimagined?

Fermin Rojas: I was able to watch THE CAPOTE TAPES. It was wonderful. Truman Capote is one of my favorite authors. In my formative years, I read every bit of his writing including ANSWERED PRAYERS which was nothing more than a collection of gossip columns. My favorite Capote book is a collection of short stories called MUSIC FOR CHAMELEONS and it has one of my favorite stories, “Spin Dazzle Dazzle”. It’s a great example of how Capote’s writing incorporates all five senses. It’s basically about him being told for the first time that he was gay by a fortune teller. At the end of the story he meets a prostitute and writes, “She spoke the way bananas taste.”

JR: What films do you wish had a bigger following?

FR:  Lately I’ve been watching many silent films. I think they get this bad rap for having silly storylines with over the top acting but some of them are very sophisticated and have very talented directors at the helm. I rediscovered them last year. I was part of a live play reading at The Provincetown Theatre about a murder that occurred at LA’s Silent Movie Theatre back in 1997. The film they were showing that night was PANDORA’S BOX (1929). I watched the film and found the lighting to be beautiful and the acting was sublime. I highly recommend it.

JR: What are you working on now?

FR: I’m Executive Producer for a documentary called, ELEPHANT CORRIDOR. It’s about an organization of Southern African countries that is trying to control the migration of elephants through “bee fences” which are bee hormones placed in trees. They redirect the elephants’ migration and help protect trees from being trampled by the elephants. They’re also planting gardens that repel elephants like sunflowers or chili peppers and these provide food and economic resources for the communities. It’s mostly all women who are leading this program.

I’m also quite proud of the short films that we did with the Wampanoags that can be seen at the Provincetown Monument Museum. It’s a very complicated story of the interaction between the Colonists and the Native population. I think when people talk about the bravery and heroism of the Colonists it’s important to recognize that it was done at a great cost to the civilization that already lived here. 

JR: Do you remember your first favorite film?

FR: It was from when I still lived in Cuba. It translates to THE FESTIVAL OF THE DOVE. It was a musical about two sisters, Chastity and Suzanne. My brother and sister and I would reenact this film over and over.

JR: Were you Chastity or Suzanne?

FR: I was the director! I directed the whole thing and in retrospect, I’m so lucky that it was a foreign film that was my first favorite film. Then when I moved to the States I got to see THE WIZARD OF OZ and absolutely loved and devoured Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers films.

JR: And finally, what’s a Holiday film that you love?

FR: I’m so easy. It’s THE GRINCH. It packs everything. I know very little about animation but the fact that a director could take that book and get an army of artists to make such a emotionally expressive film is amazing. The way he pokes at Max the dog who’s sporting these wonderful fake antlers. It touches on all of the important themes. I just love it. 

JR: I hope you and yours remain safe and healthy this Holiday Season!

FR: Thank you! 

Provincetown Film Society is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization; as such, we rely upon community financial support for continued year-round operation. Your generous support is appreciated!

Pecker’s Point: November 2019


November marks the launch of our eleventh annual fifteen-part film arts series co-presented with PAAM and curated by Provincetown’s resident cinephile extraordinaire Howard Karren. We honored Howard with our Persistence of Vision Award a few years ago, but this year’s extraordinary line-up of jewels is a reminder of his well-deserved distinction. Howard’s curatorial vision combines scholarship, fandom, and a devotion to the idea that film is meant to be screened in a dark insulated room with good sound quality and projection! Please join Howard on select Wednesdays thru May for great film and lively conversations.

Programs like these are made possible with the support of our good friends at PAAM and from all the proceeds of our annual auction, starting on Black Friday. If you’re in town, please stop by our kick-off party on Friday, November 29th at CUSP Gallery, hosted by Curtis Speers. See details below.

November also marks the second anniversary of the passing of our friend Judy Cicero, who rarely, if ever, missed a film art series screening. In fact, among the qualities I admired most about Judy was the fact that she always showed up for the things she cared about most.

She showed up at our community forum to voice her concern about closing our art house cinema in the winter. She showed up at our first annual Women’s Media Summit to combat gender inequity in the industry. She showed up at Town Hall to vocalize her support of our new marquee. She showed up time and time again and her only expectation was that we do our best (and boy, did she let you know it when you didn’t).

Judy was one of the first person’s I met when I started my tenure as CEO at the film society. As my term is nearing its end in January, I am thinking of those angels, like Judy, who showed up and in turn have held me up over the years with invisible hands.

This Thanksgiving season, I and the staff of the film society wish to thank all of our angels, on earth and in other dimensions, for bolstering our work, our efforts, and our spirits. May you all experience the same great fortune!

Happy Thanksgiving,

Christine Kunewa Walker, CEO

Member in the News: Cheryl Eagan-Donovan

Cheryl Eagan-Donovan

We are delighted to hear the news that PFS volunteer, supporter, and member, Cheryl Eagan-Donovan was awarded Oxfordian of the Year for her film, Nothing is Truer than Truth, a documentary about Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, as Shakespeare. She is the first filmmaker to win this award dedicated to the study of Shakespeare. Former award winners include Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens and Academy Award-winning actor, Mark Rylance.

Cheryl’s film focuses on the possible true identity of William Shakespeare. In particular, she focuses on the year and a half de Vere spent in Italy that just happen to coincide with the writing of Shakespeare’s early Italian plays.

“What makes my film different from other films about de Vere and Shakespeare is that I believe the primary reason for his pseudonym was that he was bisexual and had an affair with the Earl of Southampton and sexuality was a particularly taboo subject at that time. It was one of the reasons his daughters continued to use the pseudonym after his death. Harold Bloom, the famous Shakespeare scholar said that Shakespeare invented the ‘Human’ through his understanding of psychology. He also said that it is clear through his writings that Shakespeare world view was that everyone is bisexual. I wanted to integrate that integral aspect into my film,” said Eagan-Donovan.

Cheryl’s devotion to Provincetown and the film festival is long-standing, “I’ve been going to Provincetown forever. I picked up John Waters hitchhiking one Fourth of July and he said ‘I’ve been coming here for 38 years’ and I said, well I’m right behind you. I’ve always said that John Waters is America’s Fellini – his work with Divine is definitely on a par with Fellini’s work with his wife Giulietta Masina and I love Fellini’s statement which pertains especially to Shakespeare:
“All art is autobiographical; the pearl is the oyster’s autobiography.”
John is such an amazing Renaissance man – writer, director, artist, performer, sage…and I love his new book Mr. Know-It-All.

“I adore the Provincetown Film Festival. I volunteered early on and got to meet Mary Harron who made I Shot Andy Warhol and I met Gus Van Sant who’s film My Own Private Idaho is featured in my documentary. For me, it’s the kind of festival that you don’t get any place else. There’s something about the intimacy and lack of pretension. Everybody is there because they love film. That makes it one of the best festivals around.”

Nothing Truer Than Truth can be viewed on Hulu and Amazon Prime. In addition to filmmaking and teaching screenwriting, she is at work on the following books: Master Mistress: Shakespeare’s Discovery of Sexuality in Late Sixteenth Century Literary London, with co-author John Hamill, and Shakespeare Auteur: A Guide to Creating Authentic Characters for the Screen.

Call to Artists

Dedicated to artists in all mediums, Provincetown Film Society’s Annual Black Friday Auction is inviting all artists to contribute their work (up to 5 pieces) at consignment, to benefit Waters Edge Cinema.

In addition to support of Provincetown’s only art-house cinema, contributing artists will:

  • The opportunity to submit up to five works and select your preferred consignment amount from 50%, 25% or 0% of the valued price
  • A dedicated social media post highlighting your work
  • Promotions to our database of 10,000 patrons
  • Promotions via our auction site
  • On-screen advertising in the Waters Edge Cinema
  • A year-round membership to the Waters Edge cinema


  • November 1st – Early deadline for best promotion of work online and
  • across social media
  • November 22nd – Deadline for art to be submitted for inclusion
  • November 29th – Auction Kick-Off at CUSP Gallery, 115 Bradford Street,
  • Provincetown, 4 – 6 pm cocktails, snacks, and bidding

For more information on submissions, email

Click link above to be directed to the Auction website!


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.


Pecker’s Point: October 2019


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.


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!



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!


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.