2019 Martha’s Vineyard International Film Festival
Celebrating 14+ Years!
The Film Program and Special Events at a Glance
From the Oscar-nominated team behind the genre-defying Embrace of the Serpent, comes an equally audacious saga centered on the Wayúu indigenous people during a crucial period in recent Colombian history. Torn between his desire to become a powerful man and his duty to uphold his culture’s values, Rapayet (José Acosta) enters the drug trafficking business in the 1970s and finds quick success despite his tribe’s matriarch Ursula’s (Carmiña Martínez) disapproval. Ignoring ancient omens, Rapayet and his family get caught up in a conflict where honor is the highest currency and debts are paid with blood. A sprawling epic about the erosion of tradition in pursuit of material wealth, Birds of Passage is a visually striking exploration of loyalty, greed, and the voracious nature of change.
Sex, drugs, power, and vice: welcome to the mid-2000s Italy of Silvio Berlusconi, the egomaniac billionaire Prime Minister who presides over an empire of scandal and corruption. Sergio (Riccardo Scamarcio) is an ambitious young hustler managing an escort service catering to the rich and powerful. Determined to move up in the world, Sergio sets his sights on the biggest client of all: Berlusconi (Toni Servillo), the disgraced, psychotically charming businessman and ex-PM currently plotting his political comeback. As Berlusconi attempts to bribe his way back to power, Sergio devises his own equally audacious scheme to win the mogul’s attention. Exploding with eye-popping, extravagantly surreal set-pieces, the dazzling, daring new film from Academy Award-winning director Paolo Sorrentino(The Great Beauty) is both a wickedly subversive satire and a furious elegy for a country crumbling while its leaders enrich themselves.
On Opening Night of the Festival, enjoy meeting fellow festival attendees and special guests inside a tented reception, from 5:30-7:30 PM, on the beautiful water-front lawn adjacent to Ferryboat Pond, just off Beach Road at the Tisbury Marketplace.
We’ll be serving wines, beer ( Festival sponsor OUR MARKET) and appetizers (provided by Sarah Hibler) while Eric Johnson and his jazz trio perform under the tent. After the reception, guests will be invited to make their way to the Film Center for a special OPENING NIGHT screening (see below). The film begins at 8:00 pm.
There will be no tickets sold separately for the opening night film.
The last female bee-hunter in Europe must save the bees and return the natural balance in HONEYLAND, when a family of nomadic beekeepers invade her land and threaten her livelihood. This film is an exploration of an observational Indigenous visual narrative that deeply impacts our behavior towards natural resources and the human condition.
Friday, September 6th
In 1961, United Nations secretary-general Dag Hammarskjöld’s plane mysteriously crashed, killing Hammarskjöld and most of the crew. With the case still unsolved 50-plus years later, Danish journalist, filmmaker, and provocateur Mads Brügger (The Red Chapel, The Ambassador) leads us down an investigative rabbit hole to unearth the truth. Scores of false starts, dead ends, and elusive interviews later, Brügger and his sidekick, Swedish Göran Björkdahl, begin to sniff out something more monumental than anything they’d initially imagined. In his signature agitprop style, Brügger becomes both filmmaker and subject, challenging the very nature of truth by “performing” the role of truth seeker. As Brügger uncovers a critical secret that could send shockwaves around the world, we realize that sometimes absurdity and irony are the emboldening ingredients needed to confront what’s truly sinister.
Well-known actress Behnaz Jafari is distraught by a provincial girl’s video plea for help–oppressed by her family to not pursue her studies at the Tehran drama conservatory. Behnaz abandons her shoot and turns to filmmaker Jafar Panahi to help solve the mystery of the young girl’s troubles. They travel by car to the rural northwest where they have amusing encounters with the charming folk of the girl’s mountain village. But the city visitors soon discover that the protection of age-old traditions is as generous as local hospitality…
When the reclusive Christian (Franz Rogowski, TRANSIT) takes a job working the night shift at a big box store, his new manager, Bruno from th
e Beverage Department (Peter Kurth, BABYLON BERLIN), teaches him the lay of the land and the delicacy it takes to operate a forklift. Christian becomes enamored by his charming but mysterious co-worker “Sweets Marion” (Sandra Hüller, TONI ERDMANN), with whom he begins to share flirtatious break room coffees and conversations. But Marion has secrets of her own and when she suddenly goes on sick leave, Christian is tempted to fall into habits of his dark past. An affecting and bittersweet glimpse into the shared connections of a motley group of workers, IN THE AISLES quietly celebrates the beauty in the day-to-day and the collective pride we take in our jobs with dark humor and nuance.
Train driver Nurlan is heading to Baku for the last time before retirement. On its way round the neighborhoods of the city his train snags a blue bra off a washing line. To escape from his lonely existence, Nurlan embarks on the most adventurous journey of his life: to find the owner of this perky piece of underwear. He rents a small room in Baku and begins his quest. With great dedication, Nurlan knocks at every door along the train track. While the women he encounters have their own reasons for letting him into their private worlds, his ‘project’ does not remain unnoticed by their husbands. The more difficult it gets, however, the more creative and determined Nurlan becomes to convince every woman to try on the bra. The tragicomic story of THE BRA is directed by acclaimed German director Veit Helmer.
DIRECTOR VEIT HELMER WILL JOIN US FOR Q&A AFTER THE FILM
Writer-director-producer Veit Helmer shot his first film at the age of 14. He studied film directing at HFF Munich. He co-wrote the feature film “A Trick of Light” directed by Wim Wenders, premiered in Venice 1997. His first feature film “Tuvalu” (1999), starring Denis Lavant was released by Buena Vista International. His second feature film “Gate to Heaven”, starring Miki Manojlovic and Udo Kier was released by Prokino/20th Century Fox. “Absurdistan” (2008) premiered in Sundance. His feature film “Baikonur” (2011) premiered in Pusan and was sold to more then 20 territories. “Fiddlesticks” (2013) is his first kids film, with a main cast of 4 year old children. His latest film “The Bra” stars Miki Manojlovic, Denis Lavant and Paz Vega.
Marianne leaves Abel for Paul, his best friend and the father of her unborn child. Eight years later, Paul dies. Abel and Marianne get back together, arousing feelings of jealousy in both Marianne’s son, Joseph, and Paul’s sister, Eva, who has secretly loved Abel since childhood
Insolent, spontaneous, funny. Pamela, a young Roma, is different from other girls in her community. A single mother, she lives with her grandmother and her little girl in a small hut where the three of them share a bed. How can she reconcile the needs of her two-year old daughter and her dream of freedom? Pamela embarks on a journey into the unknown, breaking away from the traditions that suffocate her. “Lapin, pizza, amour”. All she has are three words in French and the hope that marriage will change her and her daughter’s destiny.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 7th
A shy but ambitious film student (Honor Swinton Byrne) begins to find her voice as an artist while navigating a turbulent courtship with a charismatic but untrustworthy man (Tom Burke). She defies her protective mother (Tilda Swinton) and concerned friends as she slips deeper and deeper into an intense, emotionally fraught relationship that comes dangerously close to destroying her dreams. From acclaimed writer-director Joanna Hogg comes an enigmatic and personal portrait of the artist as a young woman, combining passionate emotions and exquisite aesthetics into a lush, dreamlike story of young adulthood and first love. At once enrapturing and mysteriously unsettling—and featuring a profoundly layered breakout performance by Honor Swinton Byrne—The Souvenir is an essential and enduring film from one of our most distinctive and exciting filmmakers.
A collection of some of the world’s best new short animated films from acclaimed animators curated by Bill Plympton.
The MV International Film Festival will present a display of animated shorts with a showcase curated by Bill Plympton, Academy Award-nominated animator recently garnered national attention with his short films “Trump Bites” ran on the main page of the New York Times Online this year. In this truly multinational segment, he presents new animation shorts from filmmakers around the globe.
A tragicomedy initially set in the jianghu-criminal underworld-setting, ASH IS PUREST WHITE is less a gangster movie than a melodrama. With a three-part structure, it begins by following the quick-witted Qiao (Tao Zhao) and her mobster boyfriend Bin (Fan Liao) as they stake out their turf against rivals and upstarts in 2001 postindustrial Datong before expanding out into an epic narrative of how abstract forces shape individual lives, and continues Jia Zhangke’s body of work as a record of 21st-century China and its warp-speed transformations.
From over 350+ entries our festival selection committee has chosen 10 finalists. We will screen each short film and our jury will select the “Best Overall” film at the conclusion of the program. The winning film will be shown again prior to the Closing Night film.
In Mexico City’s wealthiest neighborhoods, the Ochoa family runs a private ambulance, competing
with other for-profit EMTs for patients in need of urgent help. As the Ochoas try to make a living in this cutthroat industry, they struggle to keep their financial needs from compromising the people in their care.
Juliette Binoche and Guillame Canet reunite with acclaimed director Olivier Assayas for this wry, slyly seductive tale of sex, lies, and literature. Set amidst the bohemian intelligentsia of the Parisian publishing world, NON-FICTION traces the romantic and emotional fallout that results when a controversial writer begins blurring the line between fact and fiction, using his real-life love affairs — including a passionate fling with an actress who happens to be married to his editor — as fodder for his explosive new novel. Balancing dry wit with keen observations on the tensions between art, commerce, and technology, Non-Fiction is a buoyant, breezy delight from a master director at his most effortlessly brilliant.
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 8th
25-year-old Sibel lives with her father and sister in a secluded village in the mountains of Turkey’s Black Sea region. Sibel is a mute, but she communicates by using the ancestral whistled language of the area. Rejected by her fellow villagers, she relentlessly hunts down a wolf that is said to be prowling in the neighbouring forest, sparking off fears and fantasies among the village women. There she crosses path with a fugitive. Injured, threatening and vulnerable, he is the first one to take a fresh look at her.
A college student finds solace in the meditative art of Japanese tea ceremonies.
Ethiopian-Israeli writer-director Aäläm-Wärqe Davidian makes a startlingly confident feature debut with this story of lives torn asunder by civil war. Set in Addis Ababa in 1989, FIG TREE follows a teenage girl’s harrowing coming of age.
Mina is 16 years old. The Ethiopian Civil War has been underway her entire life. She lives with her brother and grandmother in a humble house with newsprint for wallpaper. The family is Jewish and is planning to flee Ethiopia for Israel, where Mina’s mother awaits their reunion. But this plan leaves out the person Mina loves most: Eli, her Christian boyfriend, who lives in the woods so as to evade being drafted into Mengistu Haile Mariam’s army. Mina hatches a scheme to save Eli, but everyone and everything seems set against her.
In the heart of Chinatown, New York, ornery, chain-smoking, newly widowed 80-year–old Grandma (Tsai Chin) is eager to live life as an independent woman, despite the worry of her family. When a local fortune teller predicts a most auspicious day in her future, Grandma decides to head to the casino and goes all in, only to land herself on the wrong side of luck…and suddenly attracting the attention of some Chinese gangsters. Desperate to protect herself, Grandma employs the services of a bodyguard from a rival gang and soon finds herself right in the middle of a Chinatown gang war.
Director Sasie Sealy brings to life a dark comedy about immigrant life, the vulnerabilities of aging and an unexpected friendship. Set in alleyways underground mahjong parlors with a cast of richly drawn characters (including Taiwanese movie star Corey Ha) Lucky Grandma is a love letter to Chinatown and an homage to all the bad ass elderly women who inhabit it.
DIRECTOR SASIE SEALY WILL JOIN US FOR Q&A AFTER THE FILM!
Sasie is an award-winning writer/director from North Carolina, known for combining visually striking imagery and playful moments. Her films have screened at the Smithsonian Institute and festivals around the world, and she has twice been awarded the short filmmaking prize at the Tribeca Film Festival, with New York Magazine calling her film The Elephant Garden “one of the most touching and poignant films we’ve seen this year.” Her previous short Dance Mania Fantastic was named one of Tribeca’s +5, and she has won numerous grants and support from the Sundance Institute, New York State Council on the Arts, Film Independent, the Sloan Foundation, and the Tribeca Film Institute.
A fellowship and new short with HBO in 2014 led to a chance to direct episodic television and her first DGA nomination for her work on Gortimer Gibbons’ Life on Normal Street. Since then, she has directed multiple projects for Amazon and most recently an episode of Fresh Off the Boat. Sasie is currently based in New York City, where she directs commercials as part of Bullitt Branded, the filmmaker collective and creative studio founded by Justin Lin and the Russo Brothers. Her feature debut Lucky Grandma premiered at Tribeca this spring to rave reviews, with the New York Times naming Sasie as one of “9 Filmmakers Who Should Be On Your Radar.”
A FILM BY BONG JOON-HO
Meet the Park Family: the picture of aspirational wealth. And the Kim Family, rich in street smarts but not much else. Be it chance or fate, these two houses are brought together and the Kims sense a golden opportunity. Masterminded by college-aged Ki-woo, the Kim children expediently install themselves as tutor and art therapist to the Parks. Soon, a symbiotic relationship forms between the two families. The Kims provide “indispensable” luxury services while the Parks give the Kims a way out of their shabby circumstances. But this new ecosystem is fragile, and soon enough greed and class prejudice threaten to upend the Kims’ newfound comfort.
CLOSING NIGHT — Your ticket is good for both the CLOSING NIGHT film and the following CLOSING NIGHT PARTY at La Soffitta starting at 6:30 PM. There will be no tickets sold for just the Closing Night film separately.
Keep the good times rolling after the film and join us for our Closing Night Party at LA SOFFITTA restaurant at 82 Main Street in Vineyard Haven from 6:30 to 8:30pm. Enjoy a SPECIAL KOREAN/ASIAN MENU created by Chef Bobby Meyers, libations, and live music. Each attendee gets one drink ticket to redeem, and thereafter a cash bar.
Your Ticket To the Festival
The recurring theme of the annual Martha’s Vineyard International Film Festival is “Other Places, Other People”; the festival’s purpose is to encourage attendees to think broadly (about how huge the world of film is) and deeply (about the universal concerns and desires that unite all people). About 90% of all film selections are non-US productions, helping to fulfill the festival mission of promoting cross-cultural understanding through film.
Martha’s Vineyard International Film Festival is an amazing experience not to be missed. Come and join us for 6 days in September.
THE FILMS: The 2019 Martha’s Vineyard International Film Festival will present a selection of films from around the globe by international filmmakers. Films are curated from top-notch festivals like Sundance, Berlin, and Cannes, with a few surprises thrown in.
CONVERSATIONS: The movies are just the beginning. Making our festival unique we’ll bring guests from film, media, politics, and art worlds to celebrate, discuss and debate the films’ issues.
WALKING FESTIVAL DISTRICT: Meet the filmmakers, attend special events, cocktail parties, artist showcases, and live music at the festival. Check out the great local shops and restaurants. Enjoy the islands amazing beaches and relaxed charm.
THE ISLAND EXPERIENCE: Although most of the festival will take place in a village of Vineyard Haven, there will be plenty of opportunities to explore our other Island towns and natural beauty. Martha’s Vineyard is the perfect location for our multi-day festival, with its amazing beaches, sunsets, spectacular chefs, unique shops, and a highly influential community.
What makes our festival different? It’s community-oriented programming inspired by the World around us. Martha’s Vineyard is a special place and we have designed programs to give back to the community, including promoting commerce in downtown Vineyard Haven and across the Island. We are working with local merchants to create a community celebration that will go hand-in-hand with our festivities.
We offer filmmakers a chance to show their best work during our International Juried Short Film Competition. We select 10 films for the program which are shown in a single program, with the announcement of the winner coming at the conclusion of the program. The winner is awarded a $1,000 cash prize and their film is shown again before our Closing Night Film and Program. For more information, or to submit your film for consideration please click the submit button below.
For more details and information on how to submit your local short film or work-in-progress – please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Our Festival is also cooperating with various Island non-profit on events/films that focus light on their mission and community services. Contact us if your organization is interested in collaborating, at email@example.com
The Martha’s Vineyard International Film Festival is presented by the Martha’s Vineyard Film Society. The Film Society presents award-winning feature films, documentaries, animation, and shorts from around the world, paired with topical speakers throughout the year. We aim to bring together people of all ages, foster appreciation of the world’s diversity and stimulate discussion through the universal language of film. The Martha’s Vineyard Film Society is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation.
Since 1999, when he founded the Martha’s Vineyard Film Society, Richard Paradise has been actively involved in the promotion and exhibition of independent and international films on the Island of Martha’s Vineyard. The Martha’s Vineyard Film Society has become a much loved year-round arts organization screening over 200 films annually, with a membership of over 2500 and annual patronage of over 60,000.
Visiting Martha’s Vineyard for the Festival
To obtain information on getting to and from Martha’s Vineyard, we have asked our partner, the MV Chamber of commerce for its assistance. Please click the link below for information on transportation options.
To see a map of downtown Vineyard Haven and our venues/locations, please click this link.
For general information on other lodging options, please click this link to the Chamber of Commerce site:
Your Ticket To the Festival
Our film schedule/program for the 2019 festival will be available in late July/ Early August 2019.
For any additional questions or comments, please email your inquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org or
We hope to see you in September 2019 or sooner at one of our daily MV Film Society screenings at the new Martha’s Vineyard Film Center!
We are grateful to our wonderful patrons, contributors, and sponsors….