Various locations throughout Woods Hole, Massachusetts | 508.495.3456 | woodsholefilmfestival.org/2009
MAINE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL | JULY 11 THROUGH 20 | Now in its 12th year, the Maine International Film Festival, held in Waterville, Maine, describes itself as "Ten Days. Fifty filmmakers. A Hundred Films." It also presents an annual Mid-Life Achievement Award, previous winners of which include John Turturro, Walter Hill, Jonathan Demme, and Terrence Malick. As for this year, rumor has it that the winner might be Arthur Penn, which indeed would be a midlife achievement, because it means he will live to be 174 years old.
Festival Director Shannon Hanes's philosophy is very simple: she believes a festival should give people "a chance to see films they would never see." That would include Martin Scorsese's restored version of the 1956 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Carousel, which had been shot in Maine. And it certainly describes Historias Extraordinarias, Argentinean director Mariano Llinás's 245-minute murder mystery and one of program director Ken Eisen's favorites.
Various locations throughout Waterville, Maine | 207.861.8138 | miff.org
RHODE ISLAND INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL | AUGUST 4 THROUGH 9 | Unfortunately, if you weren't paying attention, you missed the Newport International Film Festival, which ran in early June. But you're still in luck if you want to enjoy world-class cinema in various classy Rhode Island milieux. The 13th Rhode Island International Film Festival unreels at various venues around the Biggest Little. It claims to be the country's only statewide film festival — one advantage, I guess, to being the smallest one in the union.
You can start this cinematic tour with the opening-night gala shown on the "grand 50-foot screen" of the Providence Performing Arts Center. The opening film was not determined as of press time, but some of the 175 to 200 feature selections have been confirmed. They range from Ben Loeterman's The People v. Leo Frank, a dramatization of the true story of the lynching of a Jewish factory manager in Atlanta in 1913, to veteran Turkish director Çagan Irmak's comedy Issiz Adam. Among the several documentaries, based on the titles alone I'd be lining up to see Mai Iskander's Garbage Dreams and David Marshall's Swimming With Lesbians.
The festival also prides itself on its commitment to shorts — it is one of only 63 qualifying festivals for this genre with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences — and boasts an opening-night tribute to the "Art of the Short Film." Nor does it sell the local talent short: on August 7 it hosts the Rhode Island Film Forum, "your chance to become involved with Rhode Island's 'stars' of the film community" at the University of Rhode Island, Feinstein Providence Campus. Sounds like another possible appearance for the Farrelly Brothers to me!
Various locations throughout Rhode Island | 401.861.4445 | film-festival.org