MONIFF festival launches, films screen at end of April

  • At this year’s Monadnock International Film Festival, co-directors Cynthia Wade and Sasha Friedlander are to be presented the prestigious Jonathan Daniels Award for their documentary “Grit,” about an environmental disaster in Indonesia. Photo by MICHAEL CROOK

  • At this year’s Monadnock International Film Festival, co-directors Cynthia Wade and Sasha Friedlander are to be presented the prestigious Jonathan Daniels Award for their documentary “Grit,” about an environmental disaster in Indonesia. Photo by MICHAEL CROOK

  • Steve Young, a writer for the David Letterman Show, whose light-hearted documentary film “Bathtubs Over Broadway” is screening at Keene Cinemas on Sunday, April 28 at 1:30 p.m., as part of the Monadnock International Film Festival will be on hand after the screening for a question and answer session with the audience. Courtesy Photo

  • Monadnock International Film Festival board members Anna Schierioth, Pelagia Vincent, Dan Scully and Dee Fitzgerald attend the Peterborough launch party for the 2019 festival at Cooper’s Hill Public House Tuesday night. Courtesy Photo

  • The Monadnock International Film Festival held a launch party for its 2019 festival at Cooper's Hill Public House and the Peterborough Community Theatre Tuesday night. Staff Photo by MEGHAN PIERCE

  • The Monadnock International Film Festival held a launch party for its 2019 festival at Cooper's Hill Public House and the Peterborough Community Theatre Tuesday night. Staff Photo by MEGHAN PIERCE

  • The Monadnock International Film Festival held a launch party for its 2019 festival at Cooper's Hill Public House and the Peterborough Community Theatre Tuesday night. Staff Photo by MEGHAN PIERCE

  • The Monadnock International Film Festival held a launch party for its 2019 festival at Cooper's Hill Public House and the Peterborough Community Theatre Tuesday night. Staff Photo by MEGHAN PIERCE

  • The Monadnock International Film Festival held a launch party for its 2019 festival at Cooper's Hill Public House and the Peterborough Community Theatre Tuesday night. Staff Photo by MEGHAN PIERCE

  • The Monadnock International Film Festival held a launch party for its 2019 festival at Cooper's Hill Public House and the Peterborough Community Theatre Tuesday night. Staff Photo by MEGHAN PIERCE

  • Monadnock International Film Festival executive director Dianna Costello talks about the festival at the Peterborough launch party at the Peterborough Community Theatre Tuesday night. Staff Photo by MEGHAN PIERCE

  • The Monadnock International Film Festival held a launch party for its 2019 festival at Cooper’s Hill Public House and the Peterborough Community Theatre Tuesday night. Staff Photo by MEGHAN PIERCE

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 4/10/2019 9:15:09 PM

The 2019 Monadnock International Film Festival held its Peterborough launch party Tuesday night with a cocktail party at Cooper’s Hill Public House and a screening of festival film trailers at the Peterborough Community Theatre afterward.

The festival is planned to take place in Keene the last weekend of April.

“This is exciting and we always include the Peterborough Community Theatre, they are wonderful partners,” said festival board member Dee Fitzgerald of Antrim at Cooper’s Hill Tuesday evening.

She added the festival hopes to include the Park Theatre in Jaffrey once it opens in the near future. Keene just happens to have the number of venues large enough to accommodate the large crowds and the number of films the festival wants to screen, she said. “We have over 30 films this year, 34 to be exact. And it’s quite the lineup. A lot of Oscar-nominated or Oscar-winning films. A lot of surprising films that I think people would not have the chance to see otherwise.”

“It’s the Monadnock International Film Festival, it’s not the Keene Film Festival. It’s for the Monadnock Region,” board member Anna Schierioth of Fitzwilliam said.

She added the festival this year boasts the largest number of film directors who are attending and plan to speak with festival goers after their films and at festival panels.

“Ghost Light” was one of many of the festival films previewed at the Peterborough launch party once it moved to the Peterborough Community Theatre Tuesday evening. The movie features an ensemble cast, including Cary Elwes and Carol Kane, in a haunted comedy about a group of actors mounting a production of William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” and how they react to all the absurd superstitions surrounding “The Scottish Play.” “Ghost Light” is to screen at the Colonial Theatre on Friday, April 26, at 11:30 a.m.

A trailer for the light-hearted documentary “Bathtubs Over Broadway” was also shown. The film follows comedy writer Steve Young as he discovers and then tries to learn as much as he can about the hidden world of industrial musicals. The film follows his research while he tracks down rare albums and unearths unseen footage and rediscovers the composers and performers of these musicals. Young is scheduled to attend the question and answer session at the festival after the film screens at the Keene Cinemas on Sunday, April 28, at 2 p.m.

Peterborough filmmaker Amy Jenkins is also part of the festival with a screening of her deeply personal film about death and grief, “Instructions on Parting,” at the Putnam Theatre Saturday, April 27, at 9:45 a.m. Jenkins plans to hold a question and answer session afterward.

The festival’s Audience Awards ceremony is also planned for Saturday, April 27. Starting at 7:15 p.m. at the Colonial Theatre, the ceremony will be followed by a screening of this year’s winner of the Jonathan Daniels Award, “Grit,” at 7:30 p.m.

Co-directors Cynthia Wade and Sasha Friedlander are to be presented with the Jonathan Daniels Award for their documentary “Grit,” about an environmental disaster in Indonesia and its lasting impacts.

The award is given to filmmakers whose films help bring awareness to a social justice issue. “Grit” documents a mudflow that wiped out 16 villages and displaced 60,000 people in 2006, and has been expelling hot mud and gasses ever since.

Friedlander, believes the mudflow disaster is a result of drilling, which is the reason so many people in the U.S. have never heard of this disaster, she said in a recent interview.

“When I moved back to the states, I didn’t hear anything else about this story,” Friedlander said. “The owner of the drilling company is very connected to politics in Indonesia and much of what goes in and out of those outlets is controlled by these media tycoons.”

Wade reached out to Friedlander after seeing her feature film “Where Heaven Meets Hell.” Wade had been in Indonesia doing a shoot, unrelated to “Grit,” when she heard about the mudflow. She was compelled to do a film on the disaster but needed a partner who had more knowledge of Indonesian culture and language.

“The idea of being able to follow the resistance movement that was growing with the community there was really, really important to me,” Friedlander said.

MONIFF is launching its first family film program on Sunday, April 28, with two animated features 10 a.m. for free, “Boy and the World” and “Spirited Away.” These films will be shown at Keene Cinemas, which is joining the festival as a venue this year for the first time and is screening other festival films as well.

Dianna Costello, MONIFF executive director, said in an interview that the festival is trying to expand its reach this year with new programs and venues in the hope that more people will have the opportunity to attend.

“We’re trying to make the festival more of a weekend destination for out-of-town visitors,” Costello said.

At the same time, Costello said, festival organizers are also trying to make MONIFF more accessible to local residents with more Saturday and Sunday screenings.

“It’s more beneficial for residents because a lot of residents work Monday through Friday, so they miss Friday. Now it’s been extended so they get to see more films if they live in the area.”

A VIP Pass, which gets attendees into all films, panel, after parties, a Sunday brunch with the filmmakers and the Sunday night closing reception, is $150.

Festival-goers can also buy a Film Pass for $100 to get access to all films, panels, Friday and Saturday after parties and the Best of Fest.

Individual tickets for films at the Colonial Theatre are $14. At the Putnam Theatre individual tickets are $10 or free to Keene State College students with I.D.

For attendees traveling for the festival, there is a special package available through the Courtyard Marriott. “It’s called the ‘two plus two plus two package.’ Two VIP passes for two nights and it includes two breakfasts for $480. That’s new to this year,” Costello said.

Best of Fest is taking place at the Peterborough Community Theatre on Sunday, April 28, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. and includes a screening of “Grit” as well as the Audience Awards winners for best documentary short, best narrative short and best documentary feature. Tickets for this event are $25.

The festival’s closing night reception is also being held in Peterborough from p.m. to 8 p.m. at Harlow’s Pub.

For more information and a full schedule go online to www.moniff.org.

Meghan Pierce contributed to this story.


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