What's Up at the 21st Woods Hole Film Festival?
By: Elise Hugus, July 25, 2012
Woods Hole Film Festival - Film-goers line up at the WHFF screening room at the Old Firehouse on Water Street, Woods Hole. The festival's box office is located on the ground floor.
From its humble beginnings in 1991 to the eight-day, multifaceted event it is now, the Woods Hole Film Festival is a diamond in the rough n' tumble world of independent film festivals, earning accolades from Movie Maker Magazine in 2010 for being “one of the coolest film festivals in the world.”
Rounding out a comprehensive program of narrative features, documentaries, animation and shorts, this year's festival features an impressive lineup of kids' events, workshops for filmmakers of all levels, and the all-important after-parties from July 28 to August 4.
“A lot of times, people will see a film for pure entertainment. We give them the opportunity to go a little deeper. Here, we make the difference in trying to create a community of filmmakers,” said festival founder Judy Laster.
How to Festival
Get your tickets early.
Believe it or not, many films sell out, especially those in the smaller venues. Don’t be disappointed: purchase tickets any time online.
If you’re in Woods Hole, stop by the Woods Hole Film Festival Box Office at the Old Firehouse on Water Street, open every day starting July 23 from 3 to 7 PM, and 10 AM to 9 PM starting July 28.
Single tickets are $10. WGBH members pay $8. If you’re planning on seeing a lot of films, consider getting a $250 pass for the full festival or a 10-screening pass for $90. Get a book of six tickets for $55.
Find alternative transportation.
Ticketholders enjoy free parking at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s lot on School Street, but you can also get creative!
• WHFF staff recommend biking along the Shining Sea Bikeway (with convenient parking lots along the way).
• Try parking or taking the bus to the Falmouth Mall and taking the WHOOSH trolley to Woods Hole ($2 each way). The first trolley leaves Falmouth Mall at 9:35 AM and runs every half-hour after that; the last trolley leaves Woods Hole at 7:35 PM Sunday through Thursday and 10:05 PM on Friday and Saturday nights.
• There is also free parking on weeknights after 5 PM and all day on Saturdays and Sundays at the NOAA Fisheries parking lot, located next to the Woods Hole Aquarium at 166 Water Street.
Schmooze with filmmakers and fellow film buffs at the Captain Kidd Waterfront, the Nimrod and the Landfall, where the festival hooks it up with hors d’oeuvres, drink specials and great live entertainment each weekend.
• Another opportunity to meet ’n’ greet with filmmakers is during several “Quick Stops” for munchies, drinks and live music at Quick’s Hole.
• Don’t forget to attend the closing night awards ceremony on Saturday, August 4, at 9 PM.
This year’s festival will benefit from the inclusion of the 500-seat, air-conditioned Lillie Auditorium at the Marine Biological Laboratory, in addition to the traditional festival venues at the Woods Hole Community Hall, the Old Woods Hole Fire Station, and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s Redfield Auditorium.
In its 21 years, Woods Hole Film Festival has grown into a destination for film buffs across New England. Even still, Laster said it can be difficult to entice year-round residents or summer visitors who fear they won’t find parking in Woods Hole, or who aren’t used to watching independent films.
“The hardest thing is getting people to trust what they are going to see will be worth their time, the confidence that it’s going to be good even if they’ve never heard of it before,” Laster said. “We’ve been at it 21 years. You can see a film that can change your life. It’s about the art of discovery.”
The start of NXNE?
Woods Hole is home to a variety of music venues, and this year WHFF takes on a SXSW feel by hosting live music “Quick Stops” at Quick’s Hole, movies with live musical accompaniment, and festival after-parties with musical entertainment.
“It’s been our goal for years to create a scene that encourages community. People will feel like they can come in off the street and take part in the festival. It’ll make the festival more festive,” Laster said.
Partnering up with the Naukabout Music Festival, a daylong event at the Barnstable County Fairgrounds on August 11, the festival will feature local and regional musicians: Sara Leketa, Ross Livermore, Mike Bernier, Derek Teichert and The Jason Spooner Trio.
Other events feature music and film on the same stage. In What Is A Heart, a short documentary about architect/composer Christopher Janney’s performance piece “HeartBeat,” the film makes use of the sound of dancers’ hearts to compose a beautiful soundtrack, rounded out by “The Kings of A Cappella,” The Persuasions. The $20 event will feature a special opening performance by The Persuasions on Wednesday, August 1, in the Lillie Auditorium.
Fans of the 2012 Oscar award-winning silent film The Artist can relive the glory days of celluloid with a special screening of The Mark of Zorro, set to live musical accompaniment by The Zeds on Friday, August 3, at the Woods Hole Community Hall.
The Woods Hole Film Festival has become a launch pad for many New England filmmakers, including several who live on Cape Cod. In addition to The List by North Falmouth's Beth Murphy, this year’s festival showcases the talents of several regional filmmakers at the start of their careers.
Falmouth’s own animator Basia Goszczynska showcases four years of painstaking attention to detail in her stop-motion short, Dziad i Baba (The Old Man and Old Woman), based on a beloved Polish fable by the same name, on Monday, July 30. Goszczynska, who created this year’s festival opening trailer, will also give a workshop on 3-D animation on Sunday, July 29.
Woods Hole cinematographer Daniel Cojanu and Brooklyn-based director Lukas Huffman bring their short Five Ways to Leave Your Lover to WHFF on Friday, August 3, following its last screening in the Short Film Corner at Cannes Film Festival in May.
Also screening on Friday, August 3, is Falmouth High School graduate Tay Kitts’s satire of overly-indie student art films, If I Can’t Forget, complete with a soundtrack by Falmouth indie rockers The Island Tigers.
In Booster, Boston’s Matt Ruskin crafts a nail-biting drama in which a Chelsea man is forced to examine familial loyalty and his own will in an attempt to acquit his brother of armed robbery. Booster will screen on Thursday, August 2.
Heidi Sullivan, a Boston lawyer and screenwriter who spends summers in Sandwich, will make her festival debut with Ashbash on Tuesday, July 31. This hilarious and heart-warming film documents her friend Ashley’s decision to host a wedding reception without actually getting married, a party of a lifetime in celebration of celibacy.