Cape Ann Community Cinema, the unique, living room-style digital movie theater at 21 Main Street in Gloucester, has earned a reputation as "the film festival that never ends," and from November 1-18, they up the ante with 32 films, plus visiting filmmakers, live events and music, HD operas from Europe, and one Bond girl via satellite.
"The Festival is like a Whitman’s sampler of all the things we offer at the Cinema all year long," explained Robert Newton, creative director of the Cinema and the Festival. "It’s like a whole season on fast-forward, delivered in just 2 1/2 weeks."
Most of the Festival’s events take place at the Cinema at 21 Main Street, with a handful happening at Film Haven, located inside The Hive at 11 Pleasant Street.
"Like in our year-round line-up, we program as many quality local films as we can," Newton added, "and like in our year-round line-up, we balance them with the best films we can find from around the state, around the country, and around the world."
The 5th Annual Cape Ann Film Festival’s Opening Night is Thursday, November 1st at 7:30pm, when CinemaSalem’s Paul Van Ness and naturalist Kristina Lindborg present their short feature, "This Perfect Place: A Natural History Of The Massachusetts North Shore." Also part of the evening is a selection of Festival trailers, and free pizza from La Trattoria.
"Paul’s CinemaSalem was part of the inspiration for the CACC, so showing his film is a great match for this year’s Festival," Newton said, "and his steady output of original homespun fare has inspired me to do the same for our Cinema." Newton is now raising money for "Over Cape Ann HD," a planned 45-minute feature to replace the dated flyover video that has been airing on Cape Ann TV since 1988.
The Cape Ann Community Cinema has been open for over four years now. Newton got his start showing movies on Cape Ann in 2007, when he started showing independent movies every week at John Williams’s Gloucester Cinema on Essex Avenue. He has been an exhibitor since 2003, when he retired from 17 years in the video rental business. He had stores in Hamilton, Swampscott, Auburn, and Worcester, the latter of which he sold to Hollywood Video.
The CAFF’s Guest of Honor is character actor extraordinaire Stephen Tobolowsky, aka "The Guy Who Everybody Knows (But Nobody Knows They Know)." He has appeared in over 200 movies and TV shows, and is known best as Ned Ryerson in "Groundhog Day" and Sammy Jankis in "Memento," plus series like "Deadwood," "Glee" and "Californication." He appears at the Festival on Monday, November 12th at 6:30pm, when he will perform a story from his new book, "The Dangerous Animals Club" (which he will sign copies of) and host a Q&A.
Former 007 girl and "X-Men" star Famke Janssen will appear via satellite after the Saturday, November 3rd at 7:30pm screening of her first film as writer-director, "Bringing Up Bobby." The film features "Resident Evil" star Milla Jovovich as a con artist who moves with her young son to a conservative neighborhood in Oklahoma. It has been called "sensitively acted, carefully written and directed with heartfelt compassion" and "an engrossing little independent film.
POLITICS! POLITICS! POLITICS!
A more local guest visits on Sunday, November 4th, when Cape Ann’s own professional prankster and Presidential candidate Vermin Supreme brings his film "Vote Jesus: The Chronicles Of Ken Stevenson." The political satirist’s documentary details his trip behind the moral iron curtain and into the steamy viscera of American Fundamentalism, disguised as a right-wing politician. Speaking of politicians, voters are invited to watch the election results come in starting at 6:30pm on Tuesday, November 6th (presented by The Gloucester Democratic City Committee). On Thursday, November 15th at 6:30pm, the Festival hosts "The JFK Experience," a live, multimedia encounter with history featuring historic performer Mike Lowe as John F. Kennedy. Lowe’s presentation is impressive, immersive, and interactive, with audience members able to actually ask questions of the 35th President of the United States.
ART FOR ART’S SAKE… AND FOR A CAUSE
A quartet of local filmmakers makes up the Thursday, November 8th at 7:30pm "ArtShorts" line-up, with "Boo," "Citgo Dance" and "The Builder" by Elizabeth Cornaro; "Princess" and "Icarus" by Christy Park; "No More Gloomy Sundays" by Robert Newton & Kristen Miller; "Où est Fleuri Rose?" by Mark Warhol.
Ipswich filmmaker Brendan Fay brings his debut feature "Weekend In Summer" to the CAFF on Friday, November 9th at 7:30pm. The coming-of-age hometown homage, made on a budget of $1,200, is about two days in the lives of three friends just out of high school.
Inaugurating the Cape Ann Community Cinema’s "Dinner & A Movie" series is the all-time Greek box office champ "A Touch Of Spice," playing Sunday, November 11th (doors at 6:00pm, movie at 6:30pm). The night, which features a light Greek meal by Brothers Kouzina in Peabody, benefit’s Cape Ann’s food bank, The Open Door.
The Gloucester Unitarian Universalist Church hosts the classic 1973 crime drama "The Harder They Come" starring reggae legend Jimmy Cliff on Wednesday, November 14th at 7:30pm. Rockport artisan Leslie Wind has partnered with the CACC in bringing folk musicians Debra Cowan and John Roberts on Friday, November 16th at 7:30pm. Later the same evening at 10:00pm, Manchester’s Allison Sigrist and her all-girl Queen tribute band, Gunpowder Gelatine, hit the stage, followed by a special movie treat. Additionally, two HD operas from Europe are also part of the Festival line-up – Wagner’s "Siegfried" (from Milan’s La Scala) on Sunday, November 11th at 12:00pm and Tuesday, November 13th at 2:00pm, and Mozart’s "The Marriage Of Figaro" (from London’s Royal Opera) on Sunday, November 18th at 2:00pm.
…AND EVEN MORE LOCAL STUFF
The Healthy Gloucester Collaborative debuts "Our Town," their new teen-made PSAs on Saturday, November 17th at 12:00pm.
Gloucester’s Mick Verga hosts an encore presentation of the adoption story "Somewhere Between" on Saturday, November 17th at 5:00pm, and will read the children’s book that he wrote called ‘The Lonely Little Horse.’
The Festival closes on Sunday, November 18th at 6:00pm with a work-in-progress version of "Maritime Capsule," the new documentary on dory boats by Gloucester guys Sal Zerilli and Keith Palazzola. Palazzola will present the film and host a Q&A session after.
ETCETERA, ETCETERA, ETCETERA…
The other films in the 5th Annual Cape Ann Film Festival are: "An Affair Of The Heart," "Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry," "All Together," "The American Scream," "Arrugas (Wrinkles)," "Atlas Shrugged – Part II: The Strike," "Beloved," "The Best Of The New York Children’s Film Festival," "Compliance," "Detropia," "FDR: American Badass," "Fear and Desire," "Holy Motors," "The Invisible War," "The Island President," "Kumaré," "Nine Nation Animation," "Samsara," "Searching For Sugar Man," "Tales Of The Night," "Trade Of Innocents," "The Well-Digger’s Daughter," and "Wuthering Heights."
Operas and the "Touch Of Spice" Dinner & A Movie event are $17.50 adults, $15.00 for Members. The Debra Cowan & John Roberts show and the Guest of Honor night are $15.00 adults, $12.50 for Members. The "Our Town" event and the screening of "FDR: American Badass" are free. All other films and events cost $9.75 for adults, $8.25 for students and seniors (60+) and $6.75 for Members.
A full schedule, trailers, advance tickets on select presentations, and more information on all Festival films and events can be found on the Festival’s official website, www.CapeAnnFilmFest.com.