2009 Program Book Dedication
...Experiencing the art of film
For the majority of us, the act of viewing a film is and always will be an emotional experience. It feels exciting to be sitting in a darkened theater with our snack food of choice waiting for the first flicker of film to hit the screen. The anticipation swells as we wait for the action to begin and we willingly suspend our disbelief allowing the film to work its magic on us. We share this experience with the other audience members sitting around us – films that may seem insignificant on a TV screen take on a magnitude and drama on the big screen. We exhibit the full range of human emotion in the company of strangers. Experiencing a film is a unique and memorable journey.
Which leads us to this year’s film festival dedication. There have been some tremendous losses in the film community, which deserve our commemoration. There have also been some great triumphs that have captivated our attention and admiration. But RIIFF wanted its dedication to focus on an aspect of the film experience that is often overlooked – the power of film to inspire us.
Break down the characteristics of film and you’ll find that it fits the very definition of inspiration. It is a stimulus for creative thought or action. How many times have we come to the closing credits of a film and felt a burst of energy, like some unseen hand was prodding us to do something profound to make our mark on the world? Paul Newman, who passed away in September, certainly had the power to motivate us. Artistically, he took on some of the most memorable roles in film. But he leaves an equally great (some might argue greater) mark as a philanthropist. In an era when many celebrities will attach their name to anything from grills to hair extensions to make a buck, he leveraged his status to raise money and awareness for those less fortunate. His act of charity was as creative an endeavor as any role he played onscreen. And his contributions will not likely be matched any time soon.
Film has the power of moving the intellect or emotions. It can stir within us the full range of human emotion. Or, it can make us take pause and reflect on who we are and our place in the world. A film like Slumdog Millonaire certainly opened our eyes to the conditions in which the other 75% of the world live in. But it also gave us a hero to root for and a cause that we could rally behind. The quest and ordeal in pursuit of true love is one of the oldest and most venerate themes in storytelling. When portrayed on the big screen, it can take on a new magnitude and excitement.
The 13th annual Rhode Island International Film Festival invites you to join us as we spend the week in search of inspiration. You’ll see films from around the world – each of them has its own story to tell. Each of them will motivate or compel or touch you in their own special way. More importantly, each of them will be small points of inspiration in the larger, greater context of the film experience.
George T. Marshall,