Local films, festivals, and faces

Accolades for fests and filmmakers

Alfred Thomas Catalfo, grand prize winner of the 2012 Rhode Island International Film Festival Screenplay Competition.
Alfred Thomas Catalfo, grand prize winner of the 2012 Rhode Island International Film Festival Screenplay Competition.

It’s awards season, and that doesn’t just apply to the major studios feverishly unleashing their best in the race for year-end recognition and Oscar nominations. Several local filmmakers and festivals also reaped accolades in November. Dover, N.H., resident Alfred Thomas Catalfo took the grand prize in the 2012 Rhode Island International Film Festival Screenplay Competition with his feature script, “Betrayed.” Catalfo’s entry was judged the best among 367 submissions — the most in the competition’s history — from throughout the United States and across the globe, according to festival executive director George T. Marshall, who announced the award.

Catalfo, who has written and directed several short films, will be honored at the opening night gala of the festival next August.

His winning script is a thriller about a small-town newspaper editor who answers the door in the middle of the night to find a disheveled man who claims to be his older brother, an Air Force pilot shot down over North Vietnam in 1972 and reported missing in action. Next come mysterious assassins, a dangerous mission, and revelations that threaten to tear the editor’s family apart.


Meanwhile, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has awarded grants to two well-regarded New England events — the Provincetown International Film Festival and the Camden International Film Festival. The PIFF recently announced a $20,000 grant to help fund the festival’s signature event, the “Filmmaker on the Edge,” for the festival’s 15th anniversary edition next year, running June 19-23. The Provincetown Film Society, which oversees the festival, is also one of 832 nonprofit organizations nationwide recommended for a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Art Works grant.

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CIFF, one of New England’s most respected documentary film festivals, last week announced that it has received a $10,000 grant for special programming and to increase filmmaker participation during the 9th annual festival next year, Sept. 26-29. The two festivals are among only 23 to receive grant funding from the Academy for 2013, out of 134 festivals that applied.

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City on fire

The WaterFire events held several times each year in Providence are part art installation, spiritual experience, and urban design marvel. For those who’ve never participated in the spectacle of open fires burning along the river downtown, accompanied by music, the new documentary “WaterFire: Art & Soul of a City” provides an overview and a chronicle of the display from its humble beginnings in 1994. WaterFire’s creator, Providence resident and artist Barnaby Evans, produced the film with Joe Rocco. Besides the history of the revitalization of downtown Providence, the film offers a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to produce a WaterFire installation. Evans now oversees WaterFire exhibits in other US cities as well as Singapore and Rome. “WaterFire” the film had its premiere on Saturday in Providence and is now available on DVD with several bonus features, most notably footage of the Rome WaterFire spectacle on the Tiber River.

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Life with father

Lyle Talbot, an actor in Warner Bros. films of the 1930s with stars such as Humphrey Bogart and Carole Lombard before his career slipped into cult B movies, may not be a household name. But he’s about to have his close-up now that his daughter New Yorker staff writer Margaret Talbot has written a biography, “The Entertainer: Movies, Magic, and My Father’s Twentieth Century” (Riverhead). A combination of Hollywood history, social history, and family memoir, the book traces Lyle Talbot’s career as it spans the history of the entertainment business — from his roles in early talkies to major films during the Golden Age of Hollywood to the advent of television when Talbot had recurring roles on “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet” and “Leave It to Beaver.” Margaret Talbot will read from her book on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Brattle Theatre, followed by a screening of one of Lyle Talbot’s films, the pre-Code melodrama “Three on a Match” (1932). Directed by Mervyn LeRoy, it also stars Joan Blondell, Bette Davis, Ann Dvorak, and Bogart.

Tickets are $10. For more information, go to

Holiday toe shoes

Yes, it’s that time of year when “The Nutcracker” is ubiquitous, from banners around Boston to music tracks in malls. Now it’s also at the movies. Tchaikovsky’s classic arrives in movie theaters nationwide for one day only, Monday, at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. from NCM Fathom Events and More2-Screen. “The Nutcracker” will be presented by the world-renowned Mariinsky Ballet troupe and features two of the Mariinsky Theatre’s rising stars: Alina Somova as Clara (Masha in the original Russian ballet) and Vladimir Shklyarov as the Nutcracker. The Russian Imperial Mariinsky Theatre was the original home of Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker” in 1892, when it made its worldwide debut. Monday’s program was captured over three performances at the end of last year’s holiday season. For the first time this year, “The Nutcracker” will screen in 3-D in select locations including Fenway 13, Dedham’s Legacy Place, Showcase Cinemas in Revere and Randolph, and AMC theaters in Burlington and Framingham. The film screens in 2-D at additional suburban theaters.

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Loren King can be reached at loren