Updated: Jul 16, 2020
Everything about the Provincetown International Film Festival (PIFF) filled us with pure inspiration. From the women driving the festival, Christine Walker (CEO/Executive Director) and Lisa Viola (Artistic Director), to the fabulous women honoree’s, Chloë Grace Moretz and Molly Shannon. Each woman who stood before us during the festival, gave the most rousing speeches, talks and conversations. Audiences were left nothing less than enthusiastic, moved and motivated.
Opening night kicked off with one of our favorites, Wild Nights With Emily, starring Molly Shannon as poet Emily Dickinson. The line for this film wrapped around the Town Hall and down the street. We were given a wonderful welcome, when we arrived, by a couple of volunteers, who cheerfully helped organize the waiting patrons.
Madeleine Olnek, director of Wild Nights With Emily, gave us a totally different view on the secret life of Emily Dickinson. Molly Shannon’s performance was ingenious, she brought us a character that was alive with every kind of emotion, from passion to humor, in a perfect balance. The supporting cast of Amy Seimetz, Susan Ziegler, Jackie Monahan and Brett Gelmen all gave blissful performance’s that took us back to the time of Emily Dickinson.
Chloë Grace Moretz is an incredible young woman, she is someone to be reckoned with. Chloë is not afraid to take on roles that push the boundaries if she believes in them and she wholeheartedly believed in her role, as Cameron Post, in The Miseducation Of Cameron Post, directed by Desiree Akhavan. Her performance was remarkable. Cameron is sent to a camp for conversion therapy,
Chloë’s portrayal gave us a clear belief that Cameron was not struggling with her attraction for the same sex, it was the people around her who were struggling with it. When Chloë talked of the importance of this film, she made us feel really encouraged that she will help so many people, by bringing this role to life. Her involvement is truly instrumental to the success of the film. Chloë received the much-deserved accolade of being PIFF2018 Next Wave Honoree.
“The Miseducation Of Cameron Post is such an important film with a strong message and it couldn’t have happened without Chloë’s involvement.” Said Ashley Connor, Director of Photography, The Miseducation Of Cameron Post.
We caught as many films as we could, from shorts including She Is Juiced: Slice One – Jo Hay, a female contemporary artist, directed by Lois Norman and Keeper, which captures the essence of time, through the openings and closings of a drawbridge, directed by Marnie Crawford Samuelson and Shane Hofeldt. The Children Act, a narrative feature. directed by Richard Eyre and starring Emma Thompson and Stanley Tucci, was another poignant film that PIFF2018 had to offer us. Emma Thompson gave a gripping performance as High Court judge Fiona Maye, who must rule on whether, or not, a teenager receives a life saving blood transfusion against his wishes. Her decision leads to a complicated relationship.
As well as all the wonderful films, there were fascinating and informative talks. Christine Vachon, producer of groundbreaking films which include Carol, Boys Don’t Cry and Still Alice, gave us great insight into the world of independent filmmaking. From what makes her choose a script, the MeToo movement and diversity in film to the impact of VOD.
Madeleine Olnek, Susan Ziegler and Jackie Monahan gave an in-depth talk - All About Emily: Reimagining A Life. Madeleine has an incredible wealth of knowledge about Emily Dickinson and she took us through the process of bringing Wild Nights With Emily to the big screen. Leaving us with a whole new way of appreciating the poet’s life. Particularly compelling is the erasure of Emily’s love, Susan, from her letters, this is a heartbreaking revelation.
Another highlight of PIFF2018 was the conversation with Molly Shannon, as she received her Excellence In Acting Award. Molly delighted the entire audience with an energetic talk filled with stories from her youth, which included sneaking onto a flight with a friend at the age of 12, wearing a Tootoo. Regaling her love for her infamous character, Mary Katherine Gallagher to, more recently, her portrayal of Emily Dickinson and Tish, one half of Tish and Cord (Will Ferrell). The audience erupted and got to their feet when, after receiving her award. she dropped to the floor and gave us “SUPERSTAR”!!!
This years Filmmaker On The Edge Award went to the hugely talented Sean Baker. He is the director and co-writer of The Florida Project, Tangerine, Take Out, Prince of Broadway, his body of work continues to push the boundaries in the film industry.
PIFF2018 did not disappoint with splendid and numerous special events. The Opening Night Party, held at the Crown & Anchor was fabulous, filmmakers, actors, producers, townies and film fans mingled enthusiastically. Christine Walker gave a spirited speech celebrating all those involved with PIFF2018, from sponsors including HBO to a recollection of 20 years of PIFF, before introducing the jubilant Jona Williams, whose performance was sanguine. Other outstanding events included A Monumental Dance Party, Beachside Bash and Garden Party at Lands End Inn . There was so much lively entertainment to choose from.
Roux hosted Wasabi, Whisky, and Wild, Wild Women - Provincetown’s Women in Film Soiree supporting The Provincetown Film Institute’s Women Filmmakers Initiatives. Set in the beautiful grounds of Roux, guests enjoyed mouthwatering delicacies and delicious drinks, topped off with a charged speech from Christine Walker and a celebration of women in film.
We may still have a long way to go towards full inclusivity for women in film, but, one thing you can be sure of, Provincetown International Film Festival and Provincetown Film Institute are getting it right. You must be there to get the full impact of just how great the place and the people are, so if you didn’t make it this year, make it a date for next year!
The PIFF2018 award winners are:
- HBO Audience Award / Best Narrative Feature: AND BREATHE NORMALLY, directed by Ísold Uggadóttir
- HBO Audience Award / Best Documentary Feature: TIME FOR ILHAN, directed by Norah Shapiro
- The John Schlesinger Award for Narrative Feature, presented to a first-time feature filmmaker: THE CAKEMAKER, directed by Ofir Raul Graizer
The judge for the John Schlesinger Award for Narrative Feature was filmmaker Dan Minahan (“Game of Thrones,” “True Blood,” SERIES 7).
- The John Schlesinger Award for Documentary Feature, presented to a first-time feature filmmaker: A FINE LINE, directed by Joanna James
The judge for the John Schlesinger Award for Documentary Feature was Richard Lawson, chief critic, Vanity Fair.
- HBO Documentary Short Film: LANDLINE, directed by Matt Houghton
- Here Media Best Queer Short Film: MARGUERITE, directed by Maria Gracia Turgeon
- Best Narrative Short Film: WREN BOYS, directed by Harry Lighton
- Best Animated Short Film: NEGATIVE SPACE, directed by Max Porter & Ru Kuwahata
- Best New England Short Film: BECAUSE YOU’RE HERE, directed by Mike Syers
- Best Student Short Film: GIRL FRIEND, directed by Chloë Sarbib
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For more details about PIFF please visit https://www.provincetownfilm.org/
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