Little Town of Terror: Provincetown in Horror Movies

October 26, 2011 6:54 pm0 comments

altAs the nights grow longer and Halloween approaches, there is perhaps no better way to get in the mood than to light the candle in the jack o’lantern, invite some friends over, and watch a scary movie.  If it’s something wicked with a local tie that you are looking for then you’re in luck, as Provincetown has featured prominently in several classic horror films. While a horror movie has yet to be filmed or set in Provincetown, these frightening films will add chills and thrills with a little local color to any fright night

The Flesh Eaters

This low-budget 1964 film directed by Jack Curtis is often considered one of the first gore movies ever made. A wealthy, washed up, alcoholic actress named Laura Winters (Rita Morely) has a last chance at reviving her ailing career by taking a summer theater gig in Provincetown. Her perky and dutiful assistant Jan Letterman (Barbara Wilkins) tries to get a very inebriated Ms. Winters to P’town pronto by hiring gruff pilot Grant Murdoch (Byron Sanders) to fly his seaplane from the Hudson River in New York City to Provincetown. The only problem is there is a severe tropical storm that forces them to make an emergency landing near a small, uncharted island (you’ll have to suspend your disbelief that in the 1960’s there could be an unknown island between New York and Cape Cod). The trouble really begins when Professor Peter Bartell (Martin Kosleck), an escaped Nazi, appears. He’s been experimenting with a microbe that devours human flesh. Just how ravenous these tiny creatures are is apparent when they eat a hole through a hippie named Omar (Ray Tudor) whose raft washes him and his bongo drums onto the island. While the movie provides more laughs than screams, horror movie historians note its creativity and artistry considering the small budget, and credit it with influencing the genre, as certain scenes seem strikingly like snippets of future films like Jaws, Silence of the Lambs, and Aliens. But perhaps the most memorable moment of the film comes shortly after the plane splashes down and the doomed castaways come ashore. The drunken actress hiccups and looks around at the deserted island and exclaims, “This isn’t Provincetown!”

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Around the World in Seven Days

September 28, 2011 2:45 pm0 comments

 Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman once said, “ No art passes our conscience in the way film does, and goes directly to our feelings, deep down into the dark rooms of our souls.” The power of the cinema is not restricted to the feature-length films that dominate movie theater screens across the country. The often-neglected cousin of the feature film is the short, but this week, Outer Cape audiences have the opportunity to celebrate short form films of nearly every genre at a satellite screening of the New York-based Manhattan Short Film Festival.
“It’s everyone’s party around the world,” according to Festival director Nicholas Mason. Indeed, not only are the ten films to be shown representative of numerous countries (Canada, U.S., Scotland, Hungary, Egypt, Switzerland, Peru, Sweden, and Australia), but one of these films will be named the winner of the Manhattan Short Film Festival competition, based on the votes of audiences in over 200 cities spanning six continents, within the space of this week only.
Mason says it is particularly valuable to have “regular” people vote for the winning film because when filmmakers and others involved in the film world judge film festivals, “they tend to like the films they were involved with.”

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Hooray for Hairy Hollywood! On the set of Bear City 2

September 21, 2011 6:47 pm0 comments

On a sparklingly perfect late summer day, as schooners race on the horizon and swimmers cross Provincetown Harbor in the Swim for Life, several big, burly, and hairy men take to the breakwater surrounded by cameras, a boom, and at least a dozen crew members in constant motion. The calendar might say that it’s September, but the script says it’s July – more specifically, Bear Week.
For more than two weeks ending on September 23, a full production team has been filming Bear City 2 the sequel to 2010’s Bear City, a hirsute hit film that took Sex and the City into a bear’s den! The romantic comedy about a group of bears in New York City follows the ups and downs of finding true love, self-acceptance, and community in a gay subculture that continually redefines concepts of beauty, self-esteem, and personal expression. The first Bear City distinguished itself as one of the first feature films about the bear community to be not just a hit with bears, but to attract mainstream attention with high praise from critics (“Warm, funny, thoughtful… a triumph in the audience-appeal category.” -The New York Times), collecting awards at the Oslo International Film Festival (Norway), the Andalucía Film Festival (Spain), as well as at Outfest in Los Angeles, the Long Island Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, and the St. Louis LGBTQ Film Festival.

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The Strange Case of Nora Aunor

June 15, 2011 4:39 pm0 comments

Nora Aunor is a superstar. In her native country of the Philippines, she is regarded as the grand dame of screen, stage, and song. Star of over 170 films, a recording artist with 40 albums, and frequent tour dates all over the world, she has a long list of impressive accomplishments and awards. But she was also at the center of a bizarre controversy involving the Provincetown International Film Festival.
It all started back in 2005 when entertainment industry folks in the Philippines received this text message.
“We are here in Provincetown, Massachusetts, for the First 
Provincetown International Film Festival. We are happy to report that 
Ms. Nora Aunor won the Best Actress award for Naglalayag. She beat 
Hilary Swank for Million Dollar Baby hands down. Congratulations are in order. Please spread the wonderful news to everyone.”
Leonel Escota, the founder of ICON (International Circle of Online Noranians), a fan club established in 2000, sent the message. The Noranians, as fans of Aunor are called, are an intensely devoted community. Aunor is an especially popular gay icon in the Phillipines. News traveled fast, including reports on national news programs.
But it never happened.

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From Stage to Screen

4:34 pm0 comments

Provincetown stages are packed with talent of all varieties.  And now those stars of drag, fringe, and comedy are making their way to the silver screen at the 13th annual Provincetown International Film Festival. Several films feature P’town’s most beloved drag queens, riotous comedians, accomplished actors, and even filmmaker John Waters as none other than Jesus Christ. Check out these film festival selections featuring Provincetown’s own in starring roles.

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The Legend of Albert Maysles

4:14 pm0 comments

Ever since Thomas Edison started playing around with motion pictures in the 1880s and the Lumiére Brothers started producing filmed actualités in 1885, the ability of movies to both document reality and provide escape from reality has been a fascinating dilemma. It is a medium that can just as easily lie as it can reveal truth.
Beginning with the first feature length “documentary,” Robert Flaherty’s Nanook of the North (1922), this duality has been at the heart of discussions around defining the term itself. Like the infamous question, “what is art?”, defining the documentary has also been an endless exercise, with notoriously subjective results. But for Albert Maysles, it is really quite simple.

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A Provincetown Herstory

April 17, 2011 12:15 am0 comments



 On Sunday, April 24 at 2:30 pm, The Provincetown Public Library is proud to present the world premiere of the one hour film,

A Provincetown Herstory. This film represents a unique chapter in both women’s history and in that of the town.


Accompanied by first-hand accounts, archival photos, video, news clippings, postcards and artwork, the film recounts stories from the lives of women who lived in Provincetown year round from the late 1800’s through the 1940’s. These ordinary yet extraordinary women raised their families, worked in shops, guest houses, restaurants, and the fish packing industry and survived two world wars and the Depression.


The Director, Catherine Russo, who is particularly drawn to the making of oral history film, has captured on reel for the first time a story that needed to be told. She explains that “there is much material on the fishermen and the artists of Provincetown, but very little on the women who held the town together for everyone.” There are people in town remaining who can testify to the lives of their mothers and grandmothers. Two interviewees, Frances Medieros and Mary P. Roderick who relate their stories in the video, are especially poignant as these women are no longer alive. Catherine added, “They are good examples of the lives of Portuguese women during this period.” Other women emigrated from Nova Scotia to Provincetown and George Bryant talks about these women who arrived with his grandmother and mother.

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The Screen , Gen Silent

February 15, 2011 9:13 pm0 comments

In Stu Maddox’ documentary Gen Silent, an unpleasant reality is explored. No one wants to think about it, but the simple fact is everyone on this planet shares one thing in common – we are all aging. And with aging, comes the inevitable slate of decisions that need to be made as vibrant lives complete their final chapters.
Gen Silent looks specifically at how aging impacts the GLBT community, focusing on three longtime couples and one single transgender woman as they make end-of-life decisions. It begins with Lawrence and Alexander, a couple who have been together for 38 years, the last 10 of which have been apart, with Alexander in a nursing home facility, due to Parkinson’s dementia. The pair demonstrates the same kind of love and concern that any straight couple would in a similar situation, but there is the added complication of how their relationship will be seen by the staff of the nursing home.

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