Block Island Film Festival goes virtual

Mon, 08/31/2020 - 4:00pm

The second annual Block Island Film Festival will be kicking off this week on a virtual platform due to the pandemic. The festival will commence Tuesday, Sept. 1 and will run until Saturday, Sept. 5. Block Island Times reporter Rosemary Connelli spoke with Cassius Shuman, who is the executive director of the festival, and was a reporter for The Times from 2014 to 2019.

Q: Hi Cash! Please introduce yourself, and your affiliation to the Block Island Film Festival.

CS: I am the founder and executive director of the Block Island Film Festival. We are in our second year and will be using a virtual platform due to the pandemic. We would have loved to have an in-person event but COVID-19 prevented that from happening. 

Q: Can you give me a brief background of the Block Island Film Festival, and how it originally came together?

CS: The Block Island Film Festival was founded about two years ago when I thought an annual film festival would do well on Block Island. After consulting with a few friends, in Hollywood and on the island, we decided to give it a go. We couldn’t be happier. And we have now partners with Jennifer Smith and her Barbados Independent Film Festival. So it’s exciting; we’re growing. 

Q: When will the film festival begin, and when will it end? What does the schedule look like for the coming week?

CS: It’s 30 films in five days on our virtual platform, We also have two-screenwriting forum for our top five finalists. The schedule begins at about 10 a.m. every morning and goes until about midnight, east coast time. The virtual festival runs Sept. 1 to the 5. 

Q: What categories of films will be streamed at this year’s festival? Will there be films presented that have connections to Block Island?

CS: We are screening narrative short films, narrative feature films, student short films and short documentaries. One of our Spotlight Films is “Stevenson - Lost and Found,” which is about the legendary New Yorker cartoonist James Stevenson. We will also be screening three great marine-based documentaries that relate to the marine environment of Block Island. 

Q: How can one tune in and watch the films this year?

CS: People wishing to buy tickets to watch the films can go to:

To learn more on the upcoming film festival,