Introduction to the 2017 Festival

Movies are meant to be shared. Gathering with your neighbors, laughing together, crying together, being frightened or outraged together—this is a communal catharsis you simply won’t get on the couch. The best movies remind us of our humanity, or perhaps allow us to forget it for a couple hours of bliss. Communities gain strength by sharing experiences together as one, by creating mutual memories. In troubled times, art can be a salve.

Of course, art alone isn’t going to change the world. But it can change your mind, by introducing you to unfamiliar perspectives. In the hush of a darkened theater, cinema beckons us into the lives of people of different classes, genders, orientations, ethnicities, politics, and eras than our own—and yet we recognize ourselves in these stories.  Older films have another layer to offer, with their prismatic ability to allow us to view the world as it was (or as it imagined it was). Cinema’s history also reminds us that all the vibrant new films in this year’s fest will one day gain an additional hue, as a documentary record of the moment we are in.

In Norwegian Wood, Haruki Murakami wrote, “If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.” Surely the same goes for cinema, with its multiplex hegemony on one end and “content” oriented streaming services on the other, their reassuring algorithms primed to perpetually feed you more of what you already know. Here is a chance to step back and see what the rest of the planet is watching, and thinking. At the end of these 8 days, you might see things differently, too.

Jim Healy, Director of Programming
Mike King, Senior Programmer