There were many winners at this year’s Rhode Island International Film Festival, but the biggest winners of all were the hundreds of movie lovers who saw a number of great independent films during the week-long festival.
Joyce and I took a “busman’s holiday” and viewed 89 movies from Tuesday through Sunday. We saw nine full-length features and 80 shorts that averaged 15 to 30 minutes in length. Plus we reviewed two movies at the Showcase. We spent 12 hours on one day and another 12 hours another day watching movies at the Vets, RISD and URI Providence.
The Best Short prize went to a poignant end-of-life story starring John Hurt, titled “Sailcloth.” It was also our favorite.
“Inuk,” a tale of young Greenlanders from broken families who are taken on a journey over the barren, icy terrain, tied for first place and was also our favorite. Many of the young folk in the movie traveled from the cold north to Rhode Island, where they were treated to a day at the beach in 90-degree weather.
Another short starring Melissa Leo and Rhode Island’s own Peter Gerrety, “The Sea Is All I Know,” dealt with the controversial subject of assisted suicide. Leo, who won an Oscar for "The Fighter," won Best Actress.
Terry Gilliam’s short, “The Wholly Family,” won an award and was as bizarre and fascinating as his feature-length "Brazil."
Highlight of the festival was a documentary about the Cowsill Family, formerly of Newport. Three of the members of the famous singers of the '60s were there to perform their four hit records and participate in a lively Q and A session. Another highlight was a documentary on Stan Lee, creator of many of the Marvel Comics superheroes, including Spider-Man and the Hulk.
The festival has grown over the years under the leadership of George Marshall. If you love good movies, it should be an event to put on your August 2012 calendar.