2022 Block Island Film Festival
The 2022 Block Island Film Festival is being held from Sept. 7 to 10 at the Block Island Maritime Institute in tribute to legendary “Island Nurse” Mary Donnelly.
Donnelly, who was a stalwart at Block Island’s Medical Center and philanthropist with her Mary D Fund, recently passed away. Her daughter Marguerite will attend the film festival to discuss the impact her mother had on island life.
Award-winning filmmaker Sue Hagedorn, a nurse and part-time islander, will screen her documentary profile about Donnelly entitled “Island Nurse,” as one of the festival’s Spotlight presentations. The film chronicles Donnelly’s life, as well as the island’s history.
“We are excited about paying tribute to
Mary D as part of this year’s film festival,” said Cassius Shuman, founder, and executive director. “She was a special lady who cared genuinely for the island’s people, providing financial aid to those in need, while also assisting the medical center with its daily operations.”
The film festival will feature a collection of 30 films in four categories competing for the Lighthouse Award: narrative feature-length films, short films, student short films, and short documentaries. There is also a screenplay competition.
The festival will feature special Block Island Maritime Institute (or BIMI) Blocks, films that speak to topical issues, such as the melting polar ice caps, with the Diana Kushner and Stephen A. Smith produced documentary, “Beneath the Polar Sun.”
Filmmaker Craig P. O’Connell will screen his feature documentary, “Ghosts of New York,” about the mystery surrounding Montauk’s three-week long thresher shark aggregation, as a Spotlight feature presentation. O’Connell’s underwater footage is quite spectacular, with close encounters in the murky depths.
There are also two short documentary films that touch on mental health, with “You Are Not Alone,” a NAMI-Block Island sponsored film about a collaborative mixed media art project that has gone global, and “Faces of Suicide,” which was produced by the widow of a police officer.
A narrative feature film called “The Walk,” written and directed by Daniel Adams, and starring notables, Terrence Howard, Jeremy Piven, and Malcolm MacDowell, tells the 1974 story of an Irish Boston cop confronting fierce social pressure after being assigned to protect black high school students as they are bused into all white South Boston High.
Connecticut-based filmmaker Nicholas Rapuano will premiere his feature-length film “Sandstone,” as a Spotlight feature, a cautionary tale about bullying. The film festival will be hosted by its Los Angeles-based board members, who are award winning actor/producers, in Kristin Carey, Kim Estes and Henry LeBlanc.
“The Block Island Maritime Institute, located at the edge of the Great Salt Pond, is a fantastic setting for this year’s film festival,” said Shuman. “We are honored to partner with BIMI and showcase such great filmmaking talent in their facility.”
The schedule and information about the film festival can be found on the Block Island Film Festival website blockislandfilmfestival.org