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World On Fire, World On Film

by Steve Desroches

Coming out of the restrictions and limitations of the Covid pandemic we are all figuring out the new normal as we go forward, be it as individuals or as an institution. It’s still unclear how we as a society and a community will interact with one another in work and play. What will we gather for in person and what will we stay home for or do digitally and remotely. Like everyone else, this challenge faces the Provincetown Film Society, the organization that produces the Provincetown International Film Festival and operates the Provincetown Film Institute and Waters Edge Cinema.

Of course, for years now audience attendance at movie theaters has declined, while clearly interest and love for film has not, with the enormous growth in streaming services bringing a huge catalog of films from around the world right into our homes. It’s hard for theaters to compete with your own couch. But real film lovers know that seeing a movie is meant to be a communal experience. And with so much of society feeling corporate and soulless one way to get people out of the house and into the cinema is to provide an authentic and unique experience. After all, Waters Edge Cinema isn’t a chain multiplex, but rather a small independently owned and operated theater in a town that takes pride in its distinctive character. Recognizing that and renewing their community commitment Waters Edge Cinema is presenting Planet Ptown, a weekend long cinematic celebration of Earth Day presenting films that are difficult to find a way to view otherwise.

“We have a lot of cool stuff in the works, and this Earth Day series is a good example” says Provincetown Film Society managing director Vanessa Downing. “There’s films by local filmmakers and films about issues people in Provincetown care deeply about.”

In producing this event the film society partnered with the Center for Coastal Studies, the Provincetown-based marine research organization that is a leader in maritime conservation and marine mammal rescue efforts. An environmental film series that focused on climate change, local environmental issue, and citizen science is exactly the kind of events the film society is interested in presenting to the community made all the more attractive as in addition to Earth Day on April 22 the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has declared April 24 Right Whale Day. By working with the Center for Coastal Studies the film society was able to program the series keeping in mind what those on the forefront of combating climate change and maritime preservation see as priorities. As such films in the Planet Ptown address the plight of the right whales, plastic pollution, and global warming.

“Partnering with the Center for Coastal Studies is exactly the kind of community collaboration we are looking for,” says Downing. “By working together with other local not-for-profits we also have an opportunity to build and strengthen our community. It’s a win/win for everyone. I’m really excited about this series and those to come in the future.”

The Planet Ptown series kicks off at Waters Edge Cinema, 237 Commercial St., on Friday, April 21 at 7 p.m. with a screening of Deep Rising followed by a presentation of environmentally themed shorts on Saturday, April 22 at 11 a.m. and closing with the film Last of the Right Whales on Sunday, April 23 at 11 a.m. Passes to all the films ($45) as well as tickets to specific screenings ($20) are available at the box office and online at For more information call 508.487.3456.

Friday, April 21

Deep Rising – Narrated by Jason Momoa, the fate of the planet’s last untouched wilderness, the deep ocean, is under threat as a secretive organization is about to allow massive extraction of seabed metals to address the world’s energy crisis. Followed by a reception to celebrate the kick-off of Planet Ptown.

Saturday, April 22

Spinakker – From Provincetown filmmaker Nadine Licostie comes the story of the film’s namesake humpback whale and the Center for Coastal Studies’ efforts to disentangle her from rope and fishing gear.

Cormie: The Pickpocket Cormorant – Morgan Heim’s film that is part mockumentary, part true-life tale revealing the heart of a rescue center working hard to save wildlife in the small coastal town of Astoria, Oregon.

The End of Snow – Following Dr. Jane Zelikova, a climate scientist and skier, who investigates why the Western snowpack is dwindling and how people can adapt to a future without snow. By Morgan Heim.

Karen and the River – Turnaround Films follows Karen Buck, a mom and kayaker who started a community movement when she began picking up trash along the Malden River.

Looking for Microplastics – Examining how microplastics get into our water systems. By Turnaround Films, documenting climate change and introducing people who are finding innovative ways to mitigate or adapt to it.

Sunday, April 23

Last of the Right Whales – North Atlantic right whales are dying faster than they can reproduce. With unprecedented access to film the whale migration, Last of the Right Whales brings a message of hope about the most at risk great whale on the planet. Followed by a Q&A.

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Graphic Artist

Ginger Mountain

Ginger Mountain (MS Communications Media, BA Fine Arts/Teaching Certification K-12) has been part of the graphic design team at Provincetown Magazine since 2008. Ginger has worked as a creative director, individual contractor, and freelance designer with clients representing many areas —business software, consumer products, professional services, entertainment, and network hardware to name just a few — providing creative layout and development of a wide range of print media content. Her clients ranged from small local businesses to large corporations and Fortune 500 companies, from New Hampshire to Georgia

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