One look at the line-up at the local multiplex and you might ask yourself, "How far away can I get from Marmaduke and still remain in the state of Massachusetts?" Turns out that summer-movie relief is just a ferry ride away.
EDGE DRIVE: Kevin Smith is being honored by a Provincetown film festival.
Or make that two. The coming week offers a pair of film festivals taking place at Bay State resorts. The Provincetown International Film Festival
, now in its 12th year, runs from June 16–20, and the Nantucket Film Festival
, celebrating its 15th anniversary, runs from June 17–20.
Which to choose? Both offer a great location, engaging movies, and terrific guests. Provincetown, for example, which emphasizes outré cinema, will be presenting its "Filmmaker on the Edge Award" to director Kevin Smith, who will be screening his hits Clerks and Dogma.
How did they pick Smith? "John Waters, our first winner, is now on our advisory board," says Provincetown's artistic director, Connie White. "He'd been saying for years he thought Kevin would be a great honoree. It was just a matter of finding the right time."
Was this maybe not the best time for Smith, since his last film was the wretched Hollywood comedy Cop Out?
White stands by her man. "Our criteria for a filmmaker on the edge is somebody who takes chances. I think [Smith's] career shows that in all sorts of ways."
While Provincetown goes for Edge, Nantucket goes for structure: it's dedicated to the writing part of the filmmaking process. Every year, the festival pays tribute to a screenwriting great. This year, they are honoring three: writer-director Barry Levinson, who will show his classic comedy Diner; Michael Arndt (Little Miss Sunshine), who wrote the screenplay for Toy Story 3, the festival's opening-night film; and documentarian Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth), whose new film Waiting for "Superman" is also on the program.
"Several of our signature events we programmed with an acknowledgement that this is a celebratory year," says Nantucket Artistic Director Mystelle Brabbée, referring to the festival's anniversary. "So our screenwriters tribute has additional awards. Plus, we're pretty confident that Waiting for 'Superman' is going to be one of the most important documentaries this year, and will likely be on that short list of award winners."
So, the two fêtes sound great — why can't we do both? Couldn't they have spread their dates out a little?
White explains the problem. "In a resort town, things get up and running for Memorial Day. And then nobody really comes back again until July 4. So you have what they call the 'shoulder season.' "
That's the window of opportunity both festivals have to take advantage of — hence the overlap. Admirably, the two don't compete, but cooperate.
"I think it's the more the merrier," says Brabbée. "We have different flavors. In fact, we end up working closely with Provincetown. Sometimes on films, sometimes on filmmakers."
As for the frustrated festivalgoer, there's always next year. Though the times have been tough economically — the Newport International Film Festival, for example, has just folded after 11 years — both Provincetown and Nantucket both believe they are going strong. And if Hollywood keeps grinding out dogs like Marmaduke, there should be plenty of people eager to attend.