Saturday, June 16, 2012

This Week's Hot Ticket - PIFF

Seeing two women carrying gigantic film reels down Commercial Street is a sure sign that the Provincetown International Film Festival is underway, and this terrific annual Provincetown event is this week's Hot Ticket. It happens in the middle of June every year, so put it on you calendar for next year now, so you can clear as much time as possible to devote to seeing movies, talking with filmmakers, attending events, and rubbing elbows with directors, producers, actors, and with film buffs from far and wide. 
We're smack in the middle of the 14th annual Provincetown International Film Festival, running this year from June 13th-17th, so you still have time to see movies, attend parties, and hear this year's honorees talk about their films, their careers, and whatever topics come up at the Conversations With Honorees event, which is always the most popular special event of the festival. It takes place in Town Hall, at 260 commercial Street, at 5:00 PM tonight, Saturday, June 16th. For tickets go to the box office, which is sharing space with the Crown and Anchor box office at 241 Commercial Street.
This year's Filmmaker on the Edge honoree, producer/director Roger Corman (director of HOUSE OF USHER, PIT AND THE PENDULUM, LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS and 50 others, and producer of 401 films ) was honored with the 2009 Academy Award for Lifetime Achievement. He will be interviewed by John Waters, legendary director of PINK FLAMINGOS, FEMALE TROUBLE, SERIAL MOM and many other off-the-wall films. and the first-ever PIFF Filmmaker on the Edge honoree back in 1999, the first year of the festival.
Indy film queen Parker Posey (DAZED AND CONFUSED, PARTY GIRL, BASQUIAT, CLOCKWATCHERS, and my personal favorite, WAITING FOR GUFFMAN, among many others) is this year's Excellence in Acting honoree. Indy actor/director Craig Chester (KISS ME GUIDO, I SHOT ANDY WARHOL, ADAM AND STEVE) will interview her.
Documentary filmmaker Kirby Dick (OUTRAGE, TWIST OF FAITH, DERRIDA, SICK: THE LIFE AND DEATH OF BOB FLANAGAN, SUPERMASOCHIST) receives this year's Faith Hubley Career Achievement Award. Director Mary Harron (I SHOT ANDY WARHOL, THE NOTORIOUS BETTIE PAGE, AMERICAN PSYCHO, THE MOTH DIARIES) will conduct this interview. Dick is Emmy and Academy Award-nominated, and has won Sundance, San Fransisco and Los Angeles Film Festival awards. His new film, THE INVISIBLE WAR, a stunning investigation of the staggering number of rapes committed within the US military and the government cover-up of these crimes, can be seen Sunday at noon at the Schoolhouse, 494 Commercial Street. This film won the Audience Award at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.
Each of theses honorees has two films in the festival. The Awards for these three PIFF honorees are sponsored by the Coolidge Corner Theater Foundation, American Express, and the MALLRD Foundation, respectively. We thank them for their support. 
There are films scheduled all day long on Saturday and Sunday, and the HBO Audience Awards and the Closing Party are also still to come, so pick up a schedule at the box office or at many other locations around town, or go to, or click this link to the 2012 PIFF Schedule. And keep an eye out for filmmakers walking the streets.
During last year's festival. I found myself on the back deck at Waydowntown looking out over the beach and the harbor, having lunch with a friend, and sitting at the table next to ours was Kathleen Turner (WAR OF THE ROSES, THE VIRGIN SUICIDES, SERIAL MOM) who was in town for the festival. Her film THE PERFECT FAMILY, by Anne Renton, was in the festival, and she was receiving the PIFF Lifetime Achievement Award. We were respectful and didn't bug her, but as my friend and I were talking about something to do with the film festival, Ms Turner heard a bit of what we were talking about, and she had an opinion, so she joined our conversation.   
This afternoon I ran into animator Emily Hubley, walking down Commercial Street between films. Her animated shorts have been featured at The Museum of Modern Art, Tribeca Film Festival, Seattle International Film Festival and many others. We must have similar tastes, because we often end up at the same films when she's here for our festival. We've talked at a few parties over the years, and I've been pleased to get to know her a bit. I can spot her distinctive animation style without even looking at the credits. Among others, she did the animation for HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH, which was a favorite among audience members when it played here. I've been crying for more animation at PIFF since the beginning, and it's been great to see a bit more of it here.
One of the greatest PIFF pleasures for me came in the very early years of the festival, when I found myself sitting off to the side in the row ahead of Emily's mother, renowned animator Faith Hubley, whom I had become acquainted with through my work as a volunteer with the festival. During a screening of her beautiful film OUR SPIRITED EARTH,  I found I could turn in my seat and see the joy and amusement on Faith's face as she sat in the midst of the crowd watching her film, feeling their reactions to her work. I spent as much time watching her face as I did watching the film that afternoon.
Well, gotta dash...I'm off to see this years program of animated shorts. There's still time, with more than 30 films playing on Sunday, so get out and see a couple, and put us on your calendar for next year. The 15th Annual Provincetown International Film Festival will be a great excuse for you to come to visit us. I guarantee, many of these films will not soon be coming to a theater near you!

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