It was a hectic and exciting weekend on Martha’s Vineyard where the 6th annual film festival really delivered. I met folks from all over the US: Maryland, Michigan, New York, and even Kansas. A great mix of movie lovers from across the nation converged on this tiny little island for an amazing few days of films.
Saturdays line up of films was heavy on docs, which everyone enjoyed. The day began with “Connected: An Autobiography about Love, Death, and Technology.” The film takes a multidimensional approach to understanding urgent social issues and how they connect-through the environment, technology and the economy. The most anticipated film of the day was “Circo,” by director Aaron Schock, which recently won Best Documentary at the Hamptons Film Festival. The film follows the Ponce Family, a circus troup that has been criss crossing the Mexican countryside since the 19th century.
Being a food guy, my favorite of the day was “A Matter of Taste-Serving up Paul Liebrandt,” directed by Sally Rowe. The film offers an insiders view of the restaurant scene in New York, and the ups and downs of a brilliant young chef Paul Liebrandt who seemingly came out of nowhere. Liebrandt is a sort of mad genius in the kitchen, preparing complex dishes with 20, 30 and 40 ingredients, and combining surprising flavors - chocolate and scallops is one example. Thomas Kellar is quoted as saying about Liebrandts food, “you don’t know what to think about it, since you have nothing to compare it to, so you can’t decide if its good or bad.” The film starts with a young hot shot snotty Liebrandt at one of his first NY restaurants, and we end up seeing Liebrandt mature as a chef and as a person over the 10 years of the film.
Sunday began with a series of films by local Martha’s Vineyard filmmakers. Entitled “Think Globally, Shot Locally,” island filmmakers present their work-in-progress, trailers, and short films. The screenings are held in conjunction as a forum where indie filmmakers talked shop with festival attendees, and each other. I was torn between the live music the festival arranged on Main Street and the closing night film “the Trip,” so I did a little of both.
The closing night party was held in the Vineyard Haven marina. Champagne, plus a vineyard sunset, plus entertaining people equals perfection. Part family get together and part film festival party, the event was totally laid back, but most of the filmmakers were partying pretty hard.
All in all. A well executed year for the festival, and director Richard Paradise. The festival has matured and adjusted. With everyone excited about a year round film center for the film society and MVIFF, things will only get better.
I am already looking forward to next year. Get the champagne and oysters ready. Okay perhaps not the oysters, as year old oysters would probably give me some sort of permanent intestinal damage.
Please consider supporting the Martha’s Vineyard Film Society and the new Film Center.
Alright, I might take a small break this week and actually relax for my last week or so on the east coast. But I will be back and writing again at the beginning of October. So hold your damn horses. There’s lots of good stuff on the way.