The Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival – Life Changing, Thought Provoking, Fun, And Celebrities Too

WOW is what I have to say about this year’s Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival summer line-up. I had gotten an email about the festival events, and I was immediately intrigued.

The Martha's Vineyard Film Festival - Photo By Eli Dagostino

There is so much happening in the festival’s 14th year. It is literally a star studded, community, educational, thought provoking, life changing, fun-for-the-whole family event — Vineyard style.

To make it even more amazing, the Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival is bringing movies and events to other towns. This summer, you will be saying WOW too!

The Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival is “more than movies,” it’s a community organization. It’s activism and art using movies and events as a way to educate and inspire, and maybe even change the world for the better.

Martha's Vineyard Film Festival Movie & Dinner - Photo By Eli Dagostino

For this year, there’s Dinner and a Movie, Wednesdays at the Chilmark Community Center (there’s always dinner and music before all the events), Brew & View, movies that are a little fun and edgy, playing at the Harbor View Hotel, outdoor movie screenings, special events, and of course Cinema Circus.

Martha's Vineyard Film Festival Office in ChilmarkI met with festival founder and avid surfer, Thomas Bena, at the festival office in Chilmark. It was fun to see where the magic happens, the behind-the-scenes stuff. The staff there is pretty amazing. You can almost feel the excitement and creative energy!

TMVFF staff

This year is quite different — five towns, 22 screenings, 25 special guests, more than a month of events in all, with the festival running from July 2 through August 21. That’s over a month of events that will kinda amaze you.

Movies Not to Miss

Let’s talk movies a bit. With so many movies, more than I can write about in a single blog, I had to ask Thomas what his top three were, and use those as a base.

Obviously for Thomas, that’s a tough question, since each film is amazing in its own way. However, after a moment he said, Fed Up, Divide in Concord, and Compared to What? The Improbable Journey of Barney Frank.

Fed Up Movie To Play At Martha's Vineyard Film Festival

The first two are movies that make you think and are meant to have an impact, make you want to change. Fed Up is a movie about what the food industry does not want you to see. It exposes the ugly truths surrounding what is making companies millions of dollars.

Producers Katie Couric, and Laurie David will be at The Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival’s showing of Fed Up on Friday night, July 25th at the Performing Arts Center at the MVRHS.

Not only do you get to see the movie and learn about the addictive chemicals in food, but you’ll be able hear these two amazing ladies speak. I’ve already bought my ticket. This is going to sell out.

Divide In Concord Film Presented At Martha's Vineyard Film FestivalAnother of Thomas’ favorites, Divide in Concord is also going to make you think — about that bottled water you’re drinking.

An 84 year old woman, Jean Hill, wages a campaign to get single-serve bottle water banned in the town of Concord, Massachusetts. We all know that plastic bottles are bad for the environment, but find out even more ugly truths about these “convenience” bottles.

This woman who’s “fighting this modern day enemy” will be there, along with one of the grocery store owners fighting the cause, who actually happens to be a mentor to Steve Bernier of Cronig’s — always a tie to the Vineyard somewhere.

Martha's Vineyard Film Festival Organizers Thomas Bena and Brian Ditchfield With Mason Jars Also note that at their 14th annual film festival in March, MVFF stopped serving plastic water bottles at their events. Water, lemonade, and iced tea are now served in mason jars. With a little creativity, it can be done.

Compared To What - Barney Frank At Martha's Vineyard Film Festival

Thomas also finds Compared To What? The Improbable Journey of Barney Frank a compelling thought provoking film. Everyone has an opinion about this sometimes controversial, first openly gay United States congressman.

Barney Frank, his husband, Jim Ready, and the film’s directors Sheila Canavan and Mike Chandler will be at the film presentation on Wednesday, July 16th at the Chilmark Community Center.

I just have to say how cool to have a bite to eat at 7 p.m. and then watch this movie at 8 p.m., and hear Barney Frank’s perspective in person at such an intimate venue. Only on MV!

Aside from Thomas’ top three, I feel like I also have to mention Very Good GirlsThe screenwriter and director of this movie, Naomi Foner, is an Island resident, and loves the Vineyard as do her children Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal.

Very Good Girls - Dinner & Movie Martha's Vineyard Film Festival Actor Dakota Fanning and Director Naomi Foner Will Be Present

Very Good Girls is a fun, coming-of-age story with a seriously star-studded cast including Ellen Barkin, Demi Moore, Richard Dreyfuss, Dakota Fanning, and Elizabeth Olsen.

The movie is showing on Saturday July 12th at the Chilmark Community Center at 8 p.m. and this is going to be quite the movie and event.

Naomi Foner will be at the showing along with others from the movie, including Dakota Fanning. You read that correctly. Yes, celebrity fans, the Chilmark Community Center is the place to be that night. I can only guess who else may show up to support the movie.

The four movies I mentioned are just a few of the powerful films being shown around the Island with The Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival. There are so many more, and there really is something for everyone.

Brew & View – New This Year

Brew & View at the Harbor View Martha's Vineyard Film Festival

New this year. To get more 20-somethings interested, the Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival has partnered with the Harbor View Hotel in Edgartown to create a micro cinema on Thursday nights, July 10 through August 21 called Brew & View.

The films being shown are a bit edgy and some are fun, and certain to entertain. You can grab a beer or cocktail from Henry’s, watch the movie, then head back over to Henry’s to discuss the movie.

Brew & View Martha's Vineyard Film Festival Edgartown Events What a great way to spend some time with friends, get a little culture (you’re watching indie flicks after all), have a bevy, and discuss the movie you saw with others.

I imagine the 22 screenings shown will have an impact on a number of people here and beyond our shores. With unique venues, delicious food, friends, strangers, compelling films, what an event it is.

The Martha's Vineyard Film Festival

There is so much happening this summer with The Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival, I’m breaking off the family-friendly events into their own On Point Blog next week. So exciting. Stay tuned!

The potential power of these movies, helping us make Martha’s Vineyard and the world a better place. It’s pretty amazing what a movie can do.

Special thanks to our friend and Island photographer Eli Dagostino for The Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival Dinner and a Movie pictures (want to know more about his interesting story, check our On Point profile).

Thanks for reading the On Point Blog. You can learn more about The Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival on Facebook. And speaking of social media, don’t forget to “Like” us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter, Linked In, Google+, Pinterest and YouTube.

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