‘Mapplethorpe’ and the art of life in death

Robert Mapplethorpe wanted the world to view what it considered “obscene” — leather-clad men with exposed genitals, real skulls and crossbones, still lifes of flowers with daggers — as beautiful. And there was no way he was going to accept that his photographs of those subjects didn’t belong alongside a Rodin.

“Mapplethorpe,” the first narrative film written, directed and produced by award-winning documentary filmmaker Ondi Timoner (“Dig!”; “We Live in Public”), chronicles the life of the controversial art photographer and stars Matt Smith, aka Doctor Who, as the man himself. It’s the Closing Night Film at the Provincetown International Film Festival, and Timoner will be there on Sunday when it screens at Town Hall. READ MORE ON WICKED LOCAL PROVINCETOWN.

This is What Democracy Looks Like

“Tell me what democracy looks like? This is what democracy looks like!”

That call and response chant has long been a hallmark of progressive rallies and protests. And while it is often true, it’s not all that democracy is about. While marching in the streets can be an important rallying point in organizing a movement and helping it grow, it needs to result in action—real action—in order to be ultimately effective. People need to not only show up for energizing and affirming marches, but also for the grinding work that doesn’t come with live television coverage and the powerful feeling of being surrounded with like-minded people. It requires reaching out to those different than yourself, considering where you might be wrong, and being open-minded enough to change your own mind in hope others might change theirs. It’s tough, tough work, and if the same numbers that show up to those enormous events also turned our for a voter registration drive or strategy session, real change would come much faster. READ MORE ON PROVINCETOWN MAGAZINE.

Sean Baker’s rainbow connection

It’s not often that a relatively obscure, very-low-budget indie director makes three pictures in a row with the same co-screenwriter (Chris Bergoch), and they break out in popularity, one film getting national recognition for telling a tale of transgender hookers and being shot with an iPhone (“Tangerine”), and the most recent release, the poignant tale of summer among the invisible homeless families of Central Florida, earning critics’ awards and an Oscar nomination (“The Florida Project”). And now, said director, Sean Baker, has been made 2018 Filmmaker on the Edge at this week’s Provincetown International Film Festival, where he’ll sit down on Saturday at Town Hall and chat with John Waters.

“It’s an incredible honor,” Baker says by phone, especially considering “who had received [the award] in the past, even people I’ve worked with, like Ted Hope.” READ MORE ON WICKED LOCAL PROVINCETOWN

The Belle tolls for Molly Shannon: Excellence in Acting Award Winner at PIFF

Molly Shannon, who plays the poet Emily Dickinson in “Wild Nights with Emily,” the opening night film at the Provincetown International Film Festival, wanted to work with the film’s writer and director, Madeleine Olnek, for a very good reason. Shannon credits Olnek with being “the midwife” to Shannon’s signature sketch comedy character, Catholic schoolgirl Mary Katherine Gallagher, which became a staple on “Saturday Night Live.”

“We went to NYU drama school together,” Shannon says of Olnek and their alma mater, New York University. “I remember saying back then, ‘This girl is so smart and so funny!’ ” Shannon says she auditioned for “The Follies,” a comedy revue show at that Olnek was producing at school. “As an exercise, she had us make up a character and [Olnek] played a snotty interviewer. In that exercise, I created Mary Katherine Gallagher. They ended up writing the whole show around Mary Katherine Gallagher, and it became a big hit on campus … I went from NYU and working at a health club to being recognized on campus and people saying, ‘She’s so funny — she should be on ‘Saturday Night Live.’ It was a turning point.” READ MORE ON WICKED LOCAL PROVINCETOWN.

‘Wild Nights’ Headlines 20th Edition of Provincetown Film Fest

John Waters has penned all his books in Provincetown, Mass., and most of his movies, too. The iconic indie filmmaker of such campy classics as “Female Trouble” and “Hairspray” was born and raised in Baltimore, but it’s the “gay fishing village” on the tip of Cape Cod where he’s been summering for the past 53 years, writing in the mornings and bicycling about town.

Waters has also been a steady and celebrated fixture at the Provincetown Intl. Film Festival, kicking off its 20th edition June 13, enticing filmmakers to attend the event.

“I usually write one of the letters to every director that’s come to the fest talking them into coming, and I think every one of them has had a great time,” says Waters, who will present “Tangerine” and “The Florida Project” writer-director Sean Baker with the fest’s Filmmaker on the Edge award. READ MORE ON VARIETY

How the Globe ruined a John Waters party tradition in P-Town

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Provincetown International Film Festival — which begins Wednesday — we thought we’d check in with John Waters, who’s been involved with the celebration from the start. We asked the resident artist to tell us some of his favorite memories from two decades of PIFF, and he was quick to come up with a list.

His highlights included the appearance of Quentin Tarantino, who was in P-Town in 2008 to pick up the Filmmaker on the Edge Award. (This year, that prize will go to “The Florida Project” director Sean Baker.” Waters — who leads the annual onstage interview with the winner of that honor — said that when Tarantino was in town, people noticed. “When he walked down the street, it was like the Rolling Stones were here. People went crazy. And I love to see a director get that response from the public,” he said. READ MORE AT BOSTON GLOBE

Film festival prepares to celebrate 20 years

When the Provincetown International Film Festival began, it used 35 mm projectors and the staff lugged prints, through crowds, from one venue to another. Fast-forward 20 years: digital projectors (four of which are rented) show films that are carried by flash drive and ingested wherever they are needed.

Though the way films are shown has changed, some things haven’t — such as the people who give up their time and donate their money to make the festival happen. While most film festivals honor movie stars and filmmakers, for its 20th anniversary, the Provincetown International Film Festival will honor its own.

A Monumental Party, which happens from 7 to 11 p.m. on Saturday, June 16, will celebrate those who started — and the many who stuck with — the film festival for two decades. During a 7 p.m. presentation at the Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum, awards will be given out to PJ Layng, Maryann McCarthy and Gabby Hanna, as well as all founding board members and staff. Founders Awards will be handed to Alix Ritchie and Marty Davis, who helped financially launch the festival and have supported it annually; Dan Wolf, the founder of Cape Air, one of two sponsors who have contributed to the festival since its inception; and, posthumously, to Stephen Mindich, the former owner of The Boston Phoenix, who agreed to publish the first festival catalogue. (It is expected that his widow, Judge Maria Lopez, will accept the award.) READ MORE ON WICKED LOCAL PROVINCETOWN.