On Wednesdays at the Chilmark Community Center from the end of June to the end of August, there’s a special treat for kids of all ages, Cinema Circus. Now in it’s fourth year, and part of the well known Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival, it is certain to make your kids and the kid in you smile. The mission of Cinema Circus is “To produce family activites that engage children with films, discussion, and activities that promote media literacy and community interaction.”
And community interaction there is! Prior to the film start time, Cinema Circus is in full swing. Soon as you step up to the box office, you can see there is a flurry of fun activities happening! The blue star big top tent sets the scene for it. It was a feast for the senses, and I can only imagine how a child must feel.
From Ellie the Elephant, walking around (manned by two very sweet people because it has to be hot in that costume), to a prowling lion that kids can interact with (MVFF founder, Thomas Bena is usually playing that role), to music, to Vineyard food vendors like Tisberry, Chilmark Coffee, Chilmark Store, Not Your Sugar Mamas, and others, to dress-up clothes, to arts & crafts, to face paining, bubbles and more – it’s all happening at Cinema Circus.
There were lots of people enjoying the circus when we got there which was around 5:30. There were a lot of familiar faces and friends to say hi to, a nice bonus for the evening. With all of the activities there, parents were really engaging with their kids. Nothing beats a dad in good ole Nantucket Reds shaking a pair of maracas and singing with his two little ones. These are things that Summer memories are made of.
Before we could do anything, we had to get popcorn. Soon as my daughter, Charly, saw people eating it, there was no stopping us! What would Cinema Circus be without popcorn that you can buy from an adorable clown? Personally, I would’ve gone to sit on the lion first because he’s so cool, but whatever makes someone happy.
Then we sat and listened to the boys of Vineyard Sound belt out some amazing acapella songs like “Sittin On The Dock of the Bay” by Otis Redding, always a Summer favorite. Then it was on to dress-up, which was short-lived, but the Arts & Crafts table was the favorite of the night.
There were great little cotton bags there with an elephant stamped on them for you to color and personalize as a little souvenir. Charly loved it! She was so proud of her work, and had her own bag like mommy’s for the grocery store.
The films were a collection of shorts all entertaining and geared to share a lesson with its viewers. These short films are from all around the world. It’s wonderful to see the different cultures share similar issues with their own feel. The films chosen for Cinema Circus are not your usual Yo Gabba Gabba silliness. They are thoughtful and engaging, and lend to discussion after they are seen.
It’s amazing to see these kids from all over the place, sitting together enjoying these rich films, learning so much through all the fun the films present. It really is an experience for the whole family. So, I think it’s safe to say that the mission statement for Cinema Circus is successfully achieved each and every week – kudos to them all and thank you for bringing a wonderful circus to Chilmark.
Sadly, there are only three Cinema Circus Wednesdays left this Summer leaving us looking forward to the fifth Annual Cinema Circus in 2013! Visit tmvff.org to find out about the remaining films and events. One thing to note — it’s better to get there as close to 5 pm as possible. Parking can be a bit challenging, but it was worth it.