Well, the 13th annual Provincetown International Film Festival was wonderful. Though there were a few organizational hiccups (people got turned away from screenings because they ran out of seats, etc.), this festival is just as fun as a big-city event like Tribeca but with none of the corporate stuffiness or commercialized hype from sponsors. Sure, we got HBO swag bags, but that was about it. The general air was fun, happy, excited–everything you’d hope for. And since this fest took place in glorious P-Town, as the locals call it, there was plenty of sun and sand (and restaurants, shops and drag shows) to enjoy between screenings.
The five films I ended up seeing (I had planned to see eight, but time constraints and one overbooked screening conspired against me) turned out to be a great mixture and representative of the festival’s overall quality: “Higher Ground,” “Weekend,” “Happy, Happy,” “Buck,” and “On The Ice.” (Reviews to follow!) “Buck” ended up winning the HBO Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature, and Vera Farmiga, director and star of “Higher Ground,” was honored with this year’s Excellence in Acting Award. Other award recipients for 2011 were Darren Aronofsky (Filmmaker on the Edge Award) and Albert Maysles (Career Achievement Award). Like the fest and P-Town itself, the honorees represent a diverse range of expertise and experience, all bringing their own unique brand of brilliance to their work.
As a whole, the festival was excellent. The staff and volunteers were welcoming and accessible, and I really got the feeling that they were genuinely excited about and dedicated to making the fest as good as it possibly could be. Other audience members I chatted with (not press, just regular civilians) all seemed in line with this tide of enthusiasm; they were all thrilled to have such a great cultural event taking place in their town, and relished the opportunity to see such great films right in their own backyards.
All in all, I declare P-Town 2011 a complete success. Looking forward to coming back next year!