Since opening the Film Center in September of 2012, the Film Society annually has shown over 200 feature and short films to more than 60,000 patrons. The Martha’s Vineyard International Film Festival just completed its 14th year. Additionally, the Film Society produces five other festivals throughout the year, including SPECTRUM Film Festival (LGBTQ+S) in April, Nature as Inspiration Environmental Festival in May, FILMUSIC Festival in June, its Documentary Week in August, and WOMEN IN FILM in late October.
In 2015 the Film Society partnered with the Martha’s Vineyard Theater Foundation to embark upon a difficult but necessary project for not only the Film Society members, but for the Island community as a whole. The Capawock Theatre in Vineyard Haven (opened in 1913) and at The Strand Theater in Oak Bluffs (opened in 1915) had fallen into disrepair. The Capawock could only be used sparingly and the Strand had been shut down completely for several years. In early 2015 Mark Snider and the Martha’s Vineyard Theater Foundation came to the Martha’s Vineyard Film Society with a proposal: They had negotiated a 20-year lease for the Capawock and Strand Theaters and extensive renovations were in the works. Their proposal: Would we be willing to operate the theaters once they opened? The Film Society proudly accepted the proposal and determined the re-opening dates. The Capawock opened on May 29th, 2015 and The Strand Theater on June 20th. Carly Simon and family performed to a packed house at the Capawock Opening Ceremony and a large crowd welcomed the Strand back to working order during a screening of JAWS! (filmed right here on Martha’s Vineyard) on the film’s 40th anniversary.
Today, the Film Center is still reserved for “Art House” style film programming and live performances, while The Capawock and Strand Theaters are primarily playing commercial, blockbuster style films. By adding these two theaters to the Film Society’s network, the Film Society is now more capable than ever to offer an enriched film program to the Island community.