THE FILM:Vanishing Orchards
THE FILMMAKER: Rocco Michaluk (director)
THE STORY: Lush visuals and interviews with multi-generation apple farmers offer a window into the orchards that once blanketed our state in this film. But the story has a sour twang, too. "If you look at a bottle of apple juice now, we don't even know where our apples come from anymore," Michaluk says. "That's scary."
THE STATUS: Newport's Jane Pickens Theater is hosting a sneak preview screening on Thursday, May 23 at 7 pm. A festival release will follow this summer.
THE FILM:WaterFire: Art & Soul of a City
THE FILMMAKERS: Joe Rocco and Barnaby Evans (co-executive producers)
THE STORY: "He said he wanted to light the rivers on fire and I thought he was some kind of nut," Buddy Cianci says of Barnaby Evans during the film. If you're one of the 15 million people who have reportedly made the trek to Providence to see this crackling, aromatic spectacle, you know how the story ends.
THE STATUS: The film premiered to a sustained ovation at the Vets in Providence on December 1, 2012. It will have its RI broadcast premiere June 8 at 7 pm on WPRI, with two more showings on myRITV and Fox Providence, respectively, later in the month.
THE FILM:Best Judgment: Ladd School Lessons
THE FILMMAKERS: Jim Wolpaw and Bob Macaux (co-directors), with members of Advocates in Action Rhode Island, Inc.
THE STORY: It was Rhode Island School for the Feeble Minded; then, it became the Exeter School; then it was the Dr. Joseph H. Ladd School. Then it was closed, abandoned, overrun with weeds, crumbling, and allegedly more haunted than anywhere in the state. This film takes viewers back inside, with former residents leading the way.
THE STATUS: The film is currently in production and seeking funding. It's too early to offer a tentative release date, filmmakers say. Updates are available at laddfilm.com.
THE FILM:How Do You Love an Elephant? (originally Uproar in Pawtucket)
THE FILMMAKER: Patti Cassidy (director)
THE STORY: If you think a 1993 vote by the Pawtucket city council is an unlikely dramatic climax, you haven't met Fanny the Elephant — as complex a character as any you'll find in the history of Ocean State cinema.
THE STATUS: The film officially premiered on September 22, 2012 (National Elephant Appreciation Day) at the Pawtucket Public Library. It will be broadcast on June 15 at 7 pm on RI PBS.
THE FILM:The Station
THE FILMMAKER: David Bettencourt (director)
THE STORY: Scars. Burned flesh. On-the-scene footage from February 20, 2003. It's not easy to watch this seven-part documentary series, but it's harder to turn away. Few local films have ever felt this vital.
THE STATUS: The first episode premiered online on February 20, 2013, the tenth anniversary of the Station fire. Six weekly installments followed, all of which — plus additional footage — are now viewable at youtube.com/TheStationWebSeries.