Festival time in P-town; observing World Refugee Month onscreen
Star power and adventurous programming are the hallmarks of the Provincetown International Film Festival, which runs June 12-16. Actor/writer/director John Cameron Mitchell, of “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” fame, is this year’s Filmmaker on the Edge. He’ll join John Waters in conversation June 15 at Provincetown Town Hall. Two-time Tony Award winner Judith Light will also be honored on that date, with PIFF’s Excellence in Acting Award.
Light stars in the PIFF’s closing night film, “Before You Know It” (June 16, 5 p.m., Town Hall), a family dramedy directed by Hannah Pearl Utt and written by Utt and Jen Tullock. They play sisters, Rachel (Utt) and Jackie (Tullock), who inherit from their father a struggling community theater in New York City. The young women then reunite with their long-estranged, assumed dead mother, a vain soap opera actress played by Light. Utt is scheduled to be in attendance for a post-screening discussion.
Producer and actress Jillian Bell, whose Sundance Film Festival award-winning comedy “Brittany Runs a Marathon” opens the festival (June 12, 7 p.m., Town Hall), will receive PIFF’s Next Wave Award on June 14, at noon, at the Pilgrim House where she’ll be interviewed by Vanity Fair chief film critic Richard Lawson.
The PIFF will screen Mitchell’s cult classic “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” (2001) on June 13, 9:30 p.m., at Town Hall. It was written by Cameron with composer Stephen Trask as an off-Broadway musical in 1998. For the film, Cameron reprised his starring role as the punk-rocker from East Berlin who tours the United States as she pursues the former lover/bandmate who stole her songs.
Past PIFF honorees Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman will be in attendance, with two new documentaries. “Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice” (June 14 and 15, Art House) is a portrait of the singer. “State of Pride” (June 13, Waters Edge) traces the history of the LGBTQ movement during the last 50 years since Stonewall. Epstein and Friedman will discuss LGBTQ history and their films, which include the Oscar winners “The Times of Harvey Milk” (1984) and “Common Threads: Stories From the Quilt” (1989) June 16, 10:30 a.m., at Waters Edge.
Film buffs won’t want to miss “Making Montgomery Clift” (June 13, Art House; June 15, Waters Edge), a documentary about the star of such classics as “A Place in the Sun” (1951) and “From Here to Eternity” (1953). Clift, who died in 1966, at 45, was relatively out at a time when Hollywood was deeply closeted. Directed by Hillary Demmon and Clift’s nephew, Robert Clift, and rich with home movies, recordings and interviews, the film examines how two popular Clift biographies painted an inaccurate picture of the actor as tortured by his homosexuality.
Also of interest to cinephiles is “What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael” (June 14 and 16, Waters Edge), director Rob Garver’s profile of the pioneering film critic for The New Yorker and her ongoing influence.
Belmont World Film observes World Refugee Month in June with three timely international films that screen Mondays at 7:30 p.m. at the West Newton Cinema, followed by discussions with experts. “Los Silencios” (June 10), from Brazilian writer-director Beatriz Seigner, centers on a family that flees rampant violence in Colombia and arrives on the small Isla de La Fantasia, where Brazil, Colombia, and Peru meet. There they struggle to survive among other refugees.
Swiss director Markus Imhoof’s “Eldorado” (June 17) draws parallels between the plight of refugees and migrants in Europe today with his family’s own experience sheltering an Italian refugee girl during World War II. The film was Switzerland’s Oscar submission for best foreign language film and won the Amnesty International Film Prize at the Berlin Film Festival. It screens with the Oscar-nominated short documentary “Lifeboat,” directed by Skye Fitzgerald, about volunteers with the German nonprofit Sea-Watch who rescue North African migrants attempting to make it across the Mediterranean. The US premiere of “To the Four Winds” (June 24) is director Michel Toesca’s documentary about the French farmer-turned-activist Cédric Herrou who assists migrants — most of them Sudanese or Eritrean and many of them women and children — cross the border from Italy into France.
Loren King can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.