Tie It Into My Hand April 7, 2015 / 7:30 pm St. John School of the Arts, Cruz Bay Paul Festa, Director | 2014 | 90 min At once entertaining and deeply insightful, Tie It Into My Hand is an unprecedented look at the life of an artist, told entirely through interviews with pre-eminent directors, filmmakers, visual artists, writers and performers, including Alan Cumming, Barbara Hammer, Peter Coyote, and Harold Bloom, among many others. The filmmaker challenges each of the artists he interviews to teach him a violin lesson, though none of them is a violinist, prompting fascinating discussions of the joys and challenges of life as an artist, including how a chronic hand injury curtailed the filmmaker’s own musical career and redirected his artistic path. St John Film will be presenting Tie It Into My Hand through Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation’s On Screen/In Person program. On Screen/In Person is designed to bring some of the best new independent American films and their respective filmmakers to communities across the mid-Atlantic region. Filmmaker, actor, musician and writer Paul Festa creates work which relates to the performing arts and their role in society. His current project, Tie It Into My Hand (2014), was screened as a work in progress at the Cannes film market and at the ODC Theatre in San Francisco. Festa also produced, wrote and edited the Emmy-nominated documentary Stage Left: A Story of Theatre in San Francisco with director Austin Forbord and is the author of OH MY GOD: Messiaen in the Ear of the Unbeliever, based on his first film, Apparition of the Eternal Church (2006). On Screen/In Person is made possible by Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation through the generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts’ Regional Touring Program.
Category: 2013/2014 Films
Welcome to our 2018 season of the St John Film Society. This year we will present three films, one each in February, March and April. Take a break and come out to support and share with your community. See you at the movies!
Blackfish June 3, 2014 / 7:30 pm St. John School of the Arts, Cruz Bay Gabriela Cowperthwaite, Director and Co-Writer| 2013 | 83 min. Many of us have experienced the excitement and awe of watching 8,000 pound orcas, or “killer whales,” soar out of the water and fly through the air at sea parks, as if in perfect harmony with their trainers. Yet this mighty black and white mammal has many sides – a majestic, friendly giant, seemingly eager to take trainers for a ride around the pool, yet shockingly – and unpredictably – able to turn on them at a moment’s notice. BLACKFISH unravels the complexities of this dichotomy, employing the story of notorious performing whale Tilikum, who – unlike any orca in the wild – has taken the lives of several people while in captivity. So what went wrong? Shocking footage and riveting interviews with trainers and experts manifest the orca’s extraordinary nature, the species’ cruel treatment in captivity over the last four decades and the growing disillusionment of workers who were misled and endangered by the highly profitable sea-park industry. This emotionally wrenching, tautly structured story challenges us to consider our relationship to nature and reveals how little we humans truly know about these highly intelligent, and surprisingly sentient, fellow mammals that we only think we can control.
One Lucky Elephant May 6, 2014 / 7:30 pm St. John School of the Arts, Cruz Bay Lisa Leeman, Director and Co-Writer| 2010 | 84 min. Ten years in the making, ONE LUCKY ELEPHANT follows the poignant journey of circus producer David Balding as he tries to find a nurturing and permanent home for Flora, the 18-year-old African elephant that he rescued as an infant, raised as his “daughter” and made the star of his circus. David’s love for Flora is put to the ultimate test when he realizes he made a terrible mistake keeping her as a solo elephant, and decides to retire her from the circus after 17 years of performing. Knowing Flora will outlive him, and with his health and finances becoming an issue, David sets off on a quest to find a home for Flora can live freely with other elephants. This complicated task begins with Flora’s final circus performance in St. Louis and takes us on an emotional trek across America, then to Africa and back. We follow David’s journey as he discovers just how difficult it is to find a proper home for an elephant in a world that reveres these animals for their majesty yet slaughters them for their ivory, adores them as cuddly Dumbos yet brands them “rampaging creatures”. ONE LUCKY ELEPHANT raises critical issues about the well-being and future of the hundreds of thousands of endangered and exotic animals kept in captivity, the over development and destruction of their natural habitats, our intense and often damaging relationship with wild animals, and how all these issues have impacted the life of one very lucky elephant.
Yurumein: Homeland Andrea Leland, of St John Film shares her 2013 documentary April 1, 2014 / 7:30 pm St. John School of the Arts, Cruz Bay Yurumein: Homeland Andrea Leland | 2013 | 50 min. The Caribs of St. Vincent, a new documentary from independent filmmaker Andrea Leland, recounts the painful past of the Carib people on the Caribbean island of St. Vincent – their extermination at the hands of the British, the decimation of their culture on the island, and the exile of survivors to Central America. But the Carib story does not end there.. The film also captures the powerful moment of homecoming for descendants of the St. Vincent Caribs, when members of the National Garifuna Folkloric Ballet from Honduras makes an official pilgrimage (organized by both governments) to St. Vincent. The trauma and painful dislocation that the returning Garifuna dancers experience, especially when they visit Balliceux (the site where over 3,000 Caribs were massacred in 1793), becomes a celebration of reunification, and incites the beginnings of a movement among Garifuna people to revitalize their traditional language, music, dance, and rituals. As Garifuna from around the world come together to remember and celebrate the lives and resilience of their shared ancestors, they also begin to discover possibility and hope for the future of Garifuna culture and community. In 2001, UNESCO (United National Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization) awarded the Garifuna community the title: “Proclamation of Masterpieces of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.” YURUMEIN includes a SURROUND SOUND soundtrack with Garifuna music by Andy Palacio and Rhodee Castillo and additional music by Abuza from St. Vincent & the Grenadines. Andrea Leland is an artist and independent filmmaker. She has produced and directed a number of award winning documentaries focusing on Caribbean and Latin American cultures. Her filmmaking experience covers a span of over twenty years. In 1998 Ms. Leland co-founded and co-directed REELTIME, a monthly screening series in Evanston Illinois (www.reeltimeevanston.org). Currently Ms. Leland spends most of her time in the Virgin Islands For additional information about Ms. Leland, see www.andrealeland.com.
Las Carpetas (The Files) Maite Rivera Carbonell, Visiting Filmmaker March 4, 2014 / 7:30 pm St. John School of the Arts, Cruz Bay Las Carpetas (The Files) Maite Rivera Carbonell | 2011 | 75 min. Color Documentary, Country: Puerto Rico & Spain, Language: Spanish with English Subtitles Puerto Rico’s secret police, supported by the FBI, spied and persecuted those who disagreed with the government for decades. All collected information was classified in archives known as “the files”. An entire network was set up so that this “subversives”, were denied certain jobs through which they could exert some influence or authority (police, university, journalism). On the jobs they were hounded till they resigned. Many citizens had to emigrate since they could not find jobs in Puerto Rico. In some families they even followed the children. When the existence of the files became known in 1987, the practice known as “the carpeteo” was declared unconstitutional. It wasn’t until 1992 that 15 thousand files were officially returned to the persecuted citizens, opening a Pandora’s Box of painful memories. At present, we have Pupa, Miguel, Ismael and Norma. None of them is a political leader. They are ordinary citizens, workers, and heads of household. All were persecuted for defending causes that ran counter to the interests of the government. Through their testimony the public will see the humane side of a political story that will expose the extent of this persecution on families, workers, professionals and students. Through their personal stories, the documentary exposes a collective history. Maite Rivera Carbonell is a renowned Puerto Rican sound editor. She is a two-times winner of the Goya Award for Best Sound for her work in the feature films The Others by Alejandro Amenábar and Tres Días by Javier Gutiérrez. Writer and director of the short film La Nota Final, which has won international awards. She graduated from the International Film and Television School (EICTV) in Cuba, where she annually works as advisor.