Entertainment » Movies

RI Film Fest hosts 235 films, honors Shatner

by Joe Siegel
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Thursday Jul 30, 2009

The Rhode International Film Festival, a week long series of screenings, panels, and special events, kicks off at 7 pm on August 4 at Providence Performing Arts Center with a collection of short films, including A Bike Ride, A Son's War, Worth, Leger Probleme (Little Inconvenience), The Bake Shop Ghost, Triple Concerto in D Minor, Out of the Blue, Pigeon: Impossible, Las Manos de Abel (The Hands of Abel), and Post-It Love.

Over 235 films from 57 different countries will be screened during this year's event.

The festival also plans to honor individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the world of film.


The Crystal Image award will be presented to composer Klaus Bedelt (Pirates of the Caribbean). Bedelt’s music will also be played throughout Waterfire on August 8.

Actor William Shatner will be honored with the Nathanael Green Humanitarian Award on August 6. There will also be a screening of William Shatner’s Gonzo Ballet in collaboration with the Rhode Island Council for Humanities (RICH) and Rhode Island College.

The Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to Ernest Borgnine on August 7. There will be a screening of his latest film, Another Harvest Moon, with a post-screening party at the Federal Reserve in Providence. A retrospective of Borgnine’s career will be held during the month of August throughout the state of Rhode Island.

On Saturday, August 8, NBA Sports Legend, Wat Misaka, will be presented with the Roger Williams Independent Voice Award. Misaka is the first person of color, as well as the first person of Asian descent, drafted into what is now the National Basketball Association (NBA). More than half a century before the Dallas Mavericks drafted China’s Wang Zhizhi in 1999, the New York Knicks drafted Mr. Misaka in the first round.

GLBT Film Festival

At 7:30 pm on August 5, Bell Street Chapel will host a screening of documentary Out in the Silence, from directors Dean Hamer and Joe Wilson.

Out in the Silence depicts the personal story of Joe Wilson to illustrate just how controversial the topic of same-sex marriage remains in many parts of the country.
Wilson, a native of Oil City, a small town in the hills of northwestern Pennsylvania, ran the announcement of his marriage to his long-term partner, Dean Hamer, in his hometown newspaper, The Oil City Derrick.

The backlash was immediate and harsh, Wilson recalled.

"There was a firestorm of controversy and a flood of negative letters to the editor which said the paper should not have published the announcement, that gay marriage should never be recognized, and that it would have been better if I, as a gay person, had never been born," said Wilson from Washington, D.C., where he and Hamer live.

The controversy also introduced Wilson, Hamer and their cameras to CJ, a gay teen being tormented at school, and his supportive mother Kathy Springer. With nowhere else to turn, Kathy pleaded to Wilson for help after seeing his wedding announcement in the local paper.

"CJ’s and Kathy’s courage and willingness to stand up for what is right will show audiences the remarkable change that is possible when people break the silence and speak out about their lives", Wilson added.

A post-screening discussion panel will be held, featuring Kathy Kushnir, Executive Director of Marriage Equality Rhode Island (MERI), State Representative Frank Ferri (D-Dist. 22, Warwick) and State Senator Rhoda Perry (D-Dist. 3, Providence), both cosponsors of marriage equality legislation; Rev. Jos? Ballester, consulting minister at Bell Street Chapel; and Wilson. The $10 admission includes the screening and the discussion.

On Thursday, August 6 at 7:30 pm, Bell Street Chapel will host the screening of James, The Queen, and Flight to Sinai, - films about coming out. There will be a 45-minute discussion about the issues and challenges surrounding coming out. Members of the panel will include filmmakers; James Robinson, executive director of Youth Pride, Inc. (YPI); and youth from YPI. YPI provides support, advocacy and education for youth and young adults throughout Rhode Island who are impacted by sexual orientation and sexual identity/expression. The $10 admission includes the screening and the discussion.

On Friday, Aug. 7 at 7 pm, also at Bell Street Chapel, New York drag persona Carmella Cann will host an evening of films, filmmaker question-and-answer sessions and music. Films will include the short film It’s Me, Matthew, written and produced by Carmella’s alter ego Michael Ferreira. Other films screened during this event will include The Single Mother, I Have It, and Astoria , Queens . Admission to the event is $10.

Claiming the Title: Gay Olympics On Trial, from directors Jonathan Joiner and Robert Martin, is about an athletic group which tries to hold a "Gay Olympics," instigating what will ultimately become a battle at the U.S. Supreme Court and a challenge over the place of gays and lesbians in American society.

Fish Out of Water, from director Ky Dickens, depicts a young lesbian’s rejection by her Christian peers, which propels her to consult America’s premier theologians in a dissection and debunking of the seven Bible verses used to condemn homosexuality and justify discrimination.

Other GLBT-themed films include Weak Species, The Satyr of Springbok Heights, Swimming with Lesbians, Stubblejumper, Storm, Sandhill Boys, ?IGUALES?, and FRUIT FLY.

For more information and a complete schedule, go to the festival’s web site at www.film-festival.org.

Joe Siegel has written for a number of other GLBT publications, including In newsweekly and Options.


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