“There's no place like home” Judy Garland, The Wizard of Oz, 1939
After years of showing films Island-wide, carrying projector, cords and speakers around, the Martha's Vineyard Film Society is going to have it's very own permanent home at the Tisbury Market Place. Also home to the Saltwater Restaurant, Rocco's pizza, the Net Result and parking, it couldn't be more perfect. And the view – stunning - across from the marina and the port where the ferries come in; and next to a beautiful lagoon, it's a splendid spot.
There was no space to be found to rent or lease, space is at a premium here; so when Sam Dunn, architect, developer and landowner at the Market Place approached Richard Paradise, founder of the Film Society, the man with the vision and commitment; it was a collaboration made in heaven. The roof just went up last week and the building fits in like the last piece of a jigsaw puzzle. Well, it is actually, it's the last piece of land available there.
Last year opening night of the Int'l Film Festival was under a big white tent beside the lagoon and guests rocked out to music enjoying hors d'oeuvre prepared by Saltwater's fine chef. It's easy walking distance from the center of town where the MVFS has screened films at the town's three different theaters, the Capawock Theater, Katherine Cornell Theater and the Vineyard Playhouse.
It seemed like a pie in the sky dream when it was announced at last year's Festival, with a scale model and all, that it would be ready for this year's 7th Int'l Festival.
The new Martha's Vineyard Film Center will be a community gathering place. Like the Festival forum “Think Globally, Shoot Locally,” it will honor filmmakers and give them a place to bring their stories to the big screen. It will give kids a place to go for their own appropriate programming and an auditorium when one is needed.
A very exciting change will be greater access to viewing award-winning films every week of the year with popular films playing multiple times. This film center will bring you what you have to go to Boston or New York to get. Surround sound, comfy stadium seating with optium viewing and a new concession stand in case you have the movie munchies. But most of all, exellence, choice, social awareness and conscience.
The Film Society started showing films around the Island in 1999. In 2002 it became a non-profit 501 c3 in earnest. It's an all-volunteer organization with Richard Paradise leading the way. Over 700 films have been screened (in 16mm) since it began.
The Int'l Film Festival showed 30 films from 20 countries last year. The recurring theme is “other places”. The purpose is to encourage filmgoers to think broadly about how immense the world is and our place in it. Culturally different but inherently the same. About 90% of the film selections are non-U.S. productions promoting cross-cultural understanding.
Eight directors attended last year's Festival. Four days filled with movies, after-parties, and the very special Reel Food dinner with the Island's farm grown ingredients lovingly and skillfully prepared. After dinner the films from the Short Film competition are shown. Last year NYU graduate student Luke Matheny won the $500 award with his funny short “God of Love”. It then went on to win the 2011 Academy Award for Best Live Action Short!
Last December the Film Society was awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Out of 375 applications submitted, the MVFS was honored with the recognition of a grant. As US representative William Keating so aptly said “The arts are not a luxury as so many incorrectly assume, they are dynamic integral parts of our communities that often serve as small economic engines and the Martha's Vineyard International Film Festival is a perfect example of this.” Kudos to Richard Paradise.
Memberships have gone up to about 600 since offered in 2002. Now, with funds needed to complete the Film Center, donations and memberships are needed to raise the
necessary capital over the next couple of crucial months to reach the final hurdle.
There are some very cool membership options offered. My personal favorite is having a seat named after you. There are other naming opportunities; contact the film society to find out about them.
If you visit Martha's Vineyard, have a house or live here and want to help, visit the website and see what the creative and interesting options are for membership/donations.
This is the best thing you could possibly do for yourself! Become a part of the Martha's Vineyard Film Society, visit the new Martha's Vineyard Film Center and become part of the whole world!
Richard Paradise: (774-392-2972) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.