Woods Hole Film Festival celebrates 20 years
By: Elise Hugus, July 26, 2011
They say good things get even better with age. That certainly rings true for the Woods Hole Film Festival, which celebrates two decades of bringing independent film to Cape Cod this summer, from July 30 to August 6.
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, earning accolades from Movie Maker Magazine in 2010 for being “one of the coolest film festivals in the world.”
Its success is partly due to its maturity: in 1991, Woods Hole hosted one of the few film festivals in New England. As digital media made filmmaking more accessible, the independent film scene blossomed, and Woods Hole became known as a welcoming place for young talent to mix with veterans of the indie industry.
This year is no exception. Rounding out a comprehensive program of narrative features, documentaries, animation, and shorts, the film festival features an impressive lineup of panels, workshops with master filmmakers, and the all-important after-parties, where ideas unfold and relationships are formed.
“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.
WHFF: beyond the movies
There is more to the Woods Hole Film Festival than just movies. From comedy to KId's Day, panel discussions, workshops, and parties, there is truly something for everyone at this year's fest.
- Boston comedian Jimmy Tingle makes a stand-up run for the Oval Office at 5 PM on Thursday, August 4, a $20 fundraiser for the festival. At the same time, the Cape Cod Screenwriters will hold a staged reading of its 2011 contest winner, “The Go-Getter,” a comedy by Mary Conroy.
- If you ever wanted to feel the rush of reporting from the front lines, get upclose and personal with those who have, in a panel titled Filmmaking and War, to held on August 5 at 7 PM.
Sebastian Junger—the surviving member of a team who embedded in Afghanistan to bring you Restrepo—joins GlobalPost.com founder and former Boston Globe correspondant Charles Sennott, veteran documentary filmmaker Michael Sheridan, and Falmouth’s own Beth Murphy, the director of Beyond Belief, for a discussion moderated by Fred Schlipp. This is a chance to hear about the fog of war from the people who capture it live on video, and see a few clips from on the ground in Egypt, Iraq, and beyond.
- Cinema afficianados, and inquisitive minds will get a chance to go behind the scenes with this year’s filmmaker-in-residence Heidi Ewing, the director of Jesus Camp, 12th & Delaware, The Boys of Baraka, and Freakonomics.
Currently working on a film about the resilience of Detroit, Ewing will shed light on how she handles such controversial topics as a right-wing Christian youth camp or an abortion clinic in a filmmaking master class, scheduled for Monday, August 1, at 2 PM.
- Aspiring filmmakers will get a crash course on how to produce a narrative feature or documentary film with veteran producers David Heilbronner (Waiting for Armageddon, Southern Comfort), Dorothy Aufiero (The Fighter, Queer Eye for a Straight Guy), and Michael Corrente (The Door in the Floor, Brooklyn Rules) in a panel hosted by former state film commissioner Nicholas Paley on Tuesday, August 2, at 4 PM.
- Scientists and filmmakers come together for a panel discussion on Tuesday, August 2, at noon to discuss their mutual roles in times of environmental crisis. Whether it is the three-month BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico or the Fukishima nuclear disaster in Japan, panelists will discuss how they can work together to better serve the public’s right to know and understand the consequences of such castasrophes.
- Want to go to the festival with your kids? The festival’s closing day, Saturday, is also Kid’s Day, hosted by Dan Clark the Singing Trooper. Kicking off at 2 PM at Redfield Auditorium on Water Street, this family-friendly event will feature a selection of short films, games, and prizes. Older children might also enjoy the animation of the late Sesame Street artist Karen Aqua, screening at 7 PM at the Old Woods Hole Fire Station.
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 or at the Woods Hole Film Festival Box Office, at the Old Woods Hole Fire Station on Water Street. It is open every day from 3 to 7 PM, and noon to 9 PM during the festival. If you’re planning on seeing a lot of films, consider getting a $250 pass for the full festival or $90 for either weekend. Single tickets for films, panels, and parties are $10. WGBH members pay $8.
- Find alternative transportation. Ticketholders enjoy free parking at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Insitution’s lot on School Street, but Ms. Laster also recommends biking, taking the free Green Shuttle on the opening and closing weekends of the festival, or parking at the Falmouth Mall and taking the WHOOSH trolley to Woods Hole ($2 each way).
- Go to parties. From the Phusion Bar & Grille, Captain Kidd Waterfront, The Nimrod and The Landfall, the festival hooks it up each weekend with hors d’oeuvres, drink specials, and great live entertainment from Silver Still Shines, The Rip It Up’s, Ilo Ferreira, Groovy Afternoon, and the Jason Spooner Trio. Another opportunity to meet n’ greet with filmmakers takes place at 4 PM on Thursday, August 4, with a “Quick Stop” for munchies and drinks at Quick’s Hole.