The 11th Annual Newburyport Documentary Film Festival will showcase twenty-five amazing and thought-provoking documentary films. Several films this year have local ties which should prove popular with the audience. The feature film Food Fight: Inside the Battle for Market Basket chronicles the momentous events that took place throughout the summer of 2014, when a corporate food fight played out in dozens of communities impacting tens of thousands of workers and the economies of three states, including Massachusetts and New Hampshire. When the faction of the Market Basket board headed by Arthur S. Demoulas fired his cousin and arch-rival Arthur T. Demoulas as long-time CEO of the successful supermarket chain, it set off a firestorm that sparked one of most unique corporate dramas in American history. The film will screen on Sunday, September 18 at the Firehouse Center for the Arts with Jay Childs, the Exeter, NH-based filmmaker on hand to answer questions afterward.
Also close to home is the film Beyond the Wall, a look at the struggles prisoners face after they are released from prison. This film tells the personal stories of six former prisoners and was filmed in Lawrence, Lowell and Newburyport.
This year’s line-up of films covers subjects as diverse as the strange history of the famed Ruby Slippers from the iconic film Wizard of Oz (The Slippers), an in depth exploration of the unregulated pet food industry (Pet Fooled), a look back at the December 21, 1988 bombing of PAN AM Flight 103 over the quaint, rural village of Lockerbie, Scotland (Since: The Bombing of PAN AM Flight 103) and an expose on the state of abortion rights in the Deep South (Jackson).
Personal profiles are very prominent as well including an inspiring portrait of blind musical prodigy Rachel Flowers (Hearing is Believing), an in-depth look at Skip Williamson, an outrageous, outspoken 60s-era underground cartoonist who helped lead the Underground Comix scene over five decades ago (Pigheaded), a fascinating look at Joani Hannan, a pioneering female jazz drummer (Joani: Queen of the Paradiddle) and a profile of Jarvis Rockwell, the son of famed artist and cultural icon Norman Rockwell (Jarvis Rockwell). Though he frequently posed for his father’s most famous works, life wasn’t a Norman Rockwell painting. Instead, Jarvis Rockwell grew up in a family far more emotionally complex than is generally known.
Friday night at the Firehouse Center for the Arts we open the festival with the appropriately titled film The Opening Act. In this profoundly personal, funny documentary, we accompany the film director– Grammy-nominated-Linda Chorney — in the passenger seat as she enlists friends, family and strangers in the production of a wild music video for a new song. Following the film, Linda will participate in a panel discussion with the legendary Fred Taylor, Boston’s premiere jazz promoter, as well as perform a number of her songs.