Independent Films, Documentaries, Special Screenings, and Simulcasts
Fivedays at The Moviehouse
Every Wednesday, all films are just $5! Now is your chance to see some of the best movies of the year and stay on budget. Check websites for times.
May 16 - 26
National Theare Live: This House
It’s 1974 and the corridors of Westminster ring with the sound of infighting and backbiting as Britain’s political parties battle to change the future of the nation, whatever it takes. The Moviehouse, Millerton; Cinerom, Torrington; The Clark, Williamstown.
May 17 - 30, Winsted
The story of two men—the great Jackie Robinson and legendary Brooklyn Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey—whose brave stand against prejudice forever changed the world by changing the game of baseball. Gilson Cafe and Cinema. Check website for times.
May 18 - June 2, Hudson
Andre Gregory: Before & After Dinner
A witty and often hilariously funny raconteur, Gregory looks back on a career that spanned decades, shattered boundaries, and established him as a cultural icon. Time & Space Limited. Check website for times.
May 24 - 27, Rhinebeck
To The Wonder
The new feature from filmmaker Terrence Malick which boldly and lyrically explores the complexities of love in all its forms. Starring Ben Affleck and Rachel McAdams. Upstate Films. Check website for times.
May 24 -30, Millerton
Two teenage boys encounter a fugitive (Matthew McConaughey) and form a pact to help him evade the bounty hunters on his trail and to reunite him with his true love. The Moviehouse.
May 24 - June 2, Hudson
Ain’t in it for My Health
For more than two years, filmmaker Jacob Hatley lived in Woodstock at Levon Helm’s and what emerges is a portrait of a man who lived to make music, a man known worldwide for his soulful voice as well as his multi-instrumental skills. Time & Space Limited. Check website for times.
May 30 - June 2, Pittsfield and Great Barrington
Berkshire International Film Festival
The 8th annual event will bring films, filmmakers, industry professionals, and film fans together for a four-day showcase, featuring 27 documentaries, 25 narrative features, and 24 short films. Check website for times.
June 1, Hudson
Violetta Went to Heaven
A portrait of famed Chilean singer and folklorist Violeta Parra filled with her musical work, her memories, her loves and her hopes. Time & Space Limited. Check website for times.
June 2 -4 , Pittsfield
Ballet Screening: Romeo and Juliet
One of the greatest of all love stories and one of the most brilliant ballet scores ever written is presented with fresh passion in Yuri Grigorovich’s version from the Bolshoi, which he originally staged in 1978. Little Cinema at Berkshire Museum.
June 11, Williamstown
In Bed with Ulysses
The story behind the famous James Joyce novel, from it’s inspiration, Norah Barnacle, to the struggle to get it published, and censorship of the book.Images Cinema. 5:30 p.m.
June 13, Millerton
NT Live: The Audience
Helen Mirren reprises her Academy Award winning role as Queen Elizabeth II, broadcast live from London’s Gielgud Theatre as part of National Theatre Live. The Moviehouse. Check website for times.
Enjoy this post? Share it with others.
Film Festivals: Get Out Your Handkerchiefs
So you missed your chance. But why waste tears on regret? Sure, opening night at the Williamstown Film Festival and the ever-popular Saturday Night Sneak at the FilmColumbia Festival are both (predictably, at this late date) SOLD OUT. But there is still plenty of powerful hanky action to be wrung from the films being screened at two major festivals in the RI region this week.
Laughter: When was the last time a rom-com inspired you to stand up and cheer? That’s what audiences at the Toronto Film Festival did last May after the screening of Silver Linings Playbook, directed by David O. Russell and starring Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence (above). Find out why at 1:45 p.m. at the Crandell in Chatham on Sunday, October 21.
Tears: Any Day Now, playing at Images in Williamstown at 2:15 on Thursday afternoon, won the audience award for best narrative feature earlier this year at the Tribeca Film Festival. Set in 1970s Los Angeles, it is about a semi-closeted gay couple (the singer is out, the assistant D.A., naturally, in) and their struggle to legally adopt the sorely neglected, mentally-challenged boy next door. By all accounts, the boy is played with such effect that actor Isaac Leyva all but steals the picture from, among others, the always riveting Alan Cumming. Great music, too.
Wonder: Cloud Atlas, this sci-fi, fantasy, adventure drama based on a bestselling novel, is so sprawling that it required three directors (the Wachowski sibs of Matrix fame plus Tom Tykwer) to herd all those special effects and stars (Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Susan Sarandon, and Hugh Grant, to name but a few). The question remains: Did the audience at Toronto give this film a 10-minute standing ovation because of the big emotional payoff at the end? Or were they simply relieved that, after 3 hours stuck in their seats, they were finally allowed to stand up and make some noise? At the Crandell on Friday, October 19, 12:30 p.m.
Outrage: Love Orchard, a fiction film about the strife that is every illegal immigrant’s daily dread, is set on a farm that bears a striking resemblance to the Love Apple Farm on Route 9H in Columbia County. Written by that farm’s owner, Chris Loken (at left with director Farhad Mann and co-star Bruce Dern), and co-starring Loken’s daughter Kristanna Loken as the young attorney who defies her firm’s anti-immigration stance to take up one family’s particularly wrenching cause. Demand for tickets to this was such that the first screening immediately sold out, so FilmColumbia has scheduled a second one for Sunday night at the Morris Memorial Building at 6 p.m. —Marilyn BethanyComments
Enjoy this post? Share it with others.
The Litchfield Hills Film Festival Finds a New Home, and a New Name
When Frank and Patrice Galterio launched the Kent Film Festival in 2006, they didn’t even know how to run a projector. The couple was more than a little surprised, and relieved, when upwards of 400 people showed up for the Festival’s maiden run of 45 films over two days. It was immediately clear that the Galterios were on the right track with their mission to bring great, under-the-radar films to Northwest Connecticut.
Attendance and programming have grown ever since, and in response the Galterios have increased the Festival’s capacity, first by moving its base from the tiny village of Kent’s Community House to New Milford’s Bank Street Theater in 2010. This year they’ve again relocated the Festival to what they believe will be its permanent home, Torrington, and renamed it the Litchfield Hills Film Festival.
During its run from June 28 to July 1, the Festival will screen about 80 films – culled from thousands of entries from around the world, including documentaries, features, and shorts – at three venues: the historic Warner Theatre’s Nancy Marine Studio “Black Box” Theatre; the auditorium at Torrington City Hall; and an empty storefront at 73 Main Street that has been converted into a “pop-up” cinema and registration area. And since it wouldn’t be a festival without parties, there will be three receptions in the Warner Theatre: on opening night, Friday night, and Saturday night.
While the Festival’s size and scope have expanded, the Galterios intend to maintain its local flavor. That’s not difficult in a region that many notable actors call home. Kevin Bacon, Meryl Streep, and the late Lynn Redgrave are among the area’s celebrity residents who have participated in years past.
Campbell Scott, known for his leading roles in high-quality films such as The Spanish Prisoner, Roger Dodger, and Big Night, which he co-directed, and who is about to go big again in the role of Richard Parker, Peter Parker’s father, in the summer blockbuster The Amazing Spider-Man, is a regular. This year he returns to offer a sneak peak of his new film, Company Retreat, a spoof of reality TV, described as a hilarious cross between Survivor and The Apprentice, which was filmed in Torrington. Company Retreat screens on Saturday, June 30, at 7:15 at the Warner Theatre, followed by a Q&A, and then a gala to celebrate Scott’s new work and his career.
The Galterios note that part of the mission of the Festival is to help develop local filmmakers by exposing them to eager, savvy audiences and to increase the Festival’s educational aspect by expanding it into a two-week enterprise, with ongoing workshops and classes on creating short films. Throughout the year, the Galterios hope to partner with the Warner to present new work by local directors, including Gabe Napoleon from Kent, a volunteer with this year’s festival whose two-minute short, Process, explores the process of drawing through stop-motion animation. Napoleon’s film is included in one of ten distinct programs of shorts. (Napoleon is in the top photo, at right, with the Galterios, center, and fellow volunteer Amanda Asrelsky, at left.)
Patrice Galterio, an accomplished graphic designer, notes that this year’s festival has a rich documentary component, including a series of four films focusing on veterans’ issues that will be screened Sunday, July 1, at Torrington City Hall. Among them are American Veterans: Discarded and Forgotten, about the ongoing problem of homelessness among the nation’s veteran population, and Eleven, featuring interviews with 11 veterans of military conflicts ranging from World War II to the current conflagrations in Iraq and Afghanistan. These films cover issues that are close to the heart of Torrington residents who have seen a disproportionate number of their young men – and, more recently, women – answer the call to serve in the military.
Other slated documentaries include #whilewewatch, a film that follows the Occupy Wall Street movement from its beginnings in New York City’s Zuccotti Park to the current day; Whiskey & Apple Pie, a cross-country journey featuring interviews with Americans in their 70s and older; Knocking on Death’s Door, which explores nuclear disasters around the world; and Dislecksia: The Movie, which spotlights success stories of dyslexics, a selection that holds specific appeal to Festival co-founder Frank Galterio, an artist, photographer, and filmmaker who has learned to overcome this affliction and even use it to his advantage. Many filmmakers will be in attendance to participate in Q&As after the screenings of their work.
Patrice Galterio says that over its six-year history, the Festival’s success and growth has meant a lot of work, leading her to seek out new venues that would be able to accommodate more films and larger audiences. She realizes that it’s a good problem to have, and one that has a happy resolution. “The festival will actually be a little bit easier this year because the venues are set, our projection is great, and the Warner is taking care of selling tickets,” she says. Speaking of which, full Festival passes cost $99 and include access to all films and events. Day passes are available for $29, and single-film tickets cost $9. Party animals can also buy passes to the receptions for $20 each.
Galterio is sanguine about the success of the Litchfield Hills Film Festival, and she thinks this cultural happening will prove a boon to its new home. “We live here in the Northwest Hills and we love it,” she says. “The main thing the festival needs is a good theater, a space. There are a lot of filmmakers who are on the level of the Campbell Scotts of the world who want their movies shown with great sound and great video. We have to have great venues, and I feel like Torrington has so many cultural community things going on that we’re really part of something. It’s going to be the next Great Barrington.” – Michael Marciano
The Litchfield Hills Film Festival
June 28 - July 1
Films will screen at The Warner Theatre, City Hall Auditorium, and The Main Street “Pop-Up” Theatre.
Enjoy this post? Share it with others.
BIFF Thinks Globally, Presents Locally
The Berkshire International Film Festival, running May 31 – June 3, takes the international part of its name seriously. For her seventh annual Festival, founder Kelley Vickery has slated more than 70 independent films from more than 15 countries, from Estonia to Tanzania.
BIFF’s global scope also encompasses talent and subjects much closer to home. Among the Festival’s three major documentaries, two focus on local artists. Following the opening night screening of Ethel, Rory Kennedy’s feature-length portrait of her mother, Ethel Kennedy, on Thursday, May 31, Friday night’s agenda includes a screening of the documentary Marina Abramović: The Artist is Present—and indeed, she will be. Abramović, who is creating her Center for the Preservation of Performing Arts in Hudson, will attend and participate in a post-screening Q&A.
The Festival closes on Sunday, June 3, with a screening of Gregory Crewdson: Brief Encounters, a documentary focused on the photographer’s extensive work in the Berkshires producing his acclaimed cinematic photographic series, Beneath the Roses. Both Crewdson (above, with Festival founder Vickery) and director Ben Shapiro spent a good deal of their childhood summers at their families’ Berkshire vacation homes, and Crewdson now works from a studio at his own home outside of Great Barrington. This is the only screening of the film at which Crewdson will speak, in a panel that also includes Shapiro and Joe Thompson, executive director of MASS MoCA, where many of the images in Beneath the Roses were produced. A good portion of the film’s crew will also be in attendance.
Nestled between these blockbusters, other documentaries with local links have found a place on the Festival’s roster, particularly among the three programs of shorts. Within Shorts #1 is Leon Smith: A Life of Art, Jay Corcoran’s 14-minute film about the life and work of this 78-year-old Ancramdale sculptor.
In Shorts #2, another Berkshire-based artist finds himself on the other side of the lens. For all of eight minutes, Ken Regan: Rock Photographer puts the focus on the man who produced iconic images of every rock star from Bob Dylan to George Harrison, to the Rolling Stones and The Band. On Saturday afternoon, Berkshire resident Regan will be signing copies of his new book, All Access: The Rock & Roll Photography of Ken Regan, in the lobby of The Triplex Cinema.
Shorts #3 includes Mondays at Racine, a 40-minute documentary about a beauty parlor offering complimentary services to women undergoing chemotherapy. The film’s director, Berkshire-based filmmaker Cynthia Wade, who won an Academy Award in 2008 for her short documentary Freeheld, will be in attendance at the screenings, as will the film’s subjects and much of its crew.
Tracking back to feature-length documentaries, Lemon earns a place among Festival films with local ties. Filmmaker Beth Levison, who grew up in Pittsfield, co-directed this portrait of Tony Award-winning Puerto Rican slam poet Lemon Andersen and his struggles to forge a better life life for himself through his talent and creativity. The filmmakers will be in attendance.
And for an international film with a local angle, check out the German feature Wunderkinder, the story of three children, bound by their passion for music, who are swept up in the Holocaust. Lenox resident Stephen Glantz, a member of the Berkshire Film and Media Commisson’s board of directors, is one of Wunderkinder’s four screenwriters. This film has already racked up scores of awards on the international festival circuit; its BIFF screenings offer a rare opportunity for local audiences to see one of Glantz’s films, which also include the German features Babij Jar, The Last Train, and the upcoming If Stones Could Cry, which is scheduled to be shot in September. Glantz will attend the screenings of his film. —Bess J.M. Hochstein
The 7th Annual Berkshire International Film Festival
May 31 - June 3
Screenings at The Mahaiwe and The Triplex Cinema in Great Barrington, and at the Beacon Cinema in Pittsfield
Enjoy this post? Share it with others.
Shorts: A Filmmaking Roundtable and A Juried Contest for Young Filmmakers
The Columbia Land Conservancy and The Chatham Film Club are seeking entries for a juried competition. Filmmakers 16 to 25 are invited to submit original shorts (max. 30 minutes) about land conservation, agriculture, land-use planning, environmental education, or outdoor recreation, all aspect of the Conservancy’s work. A jury of filmmakers, conservationists, and arts professionals will select the winning film, which will be shown in October at the FilmColumbia Festival. The winning filmmaker will receive a cash prize. All entries must be submitted in DVD format to the Chatham Film Club before August 1.