Independent Gulls and Darned Good Movies

IMG_4785Does anyone out there recognize this little guy? I’ve been told he rides the ferry named the “Martha’s Vineyard,” perches on the deck outside the snack bar, and waits for folks to share the oyster crackers from their quahog chowder. I saw him the other day when I went over to Cape Cod and, sure enough, he consumed at least a dozen crackers right out of a woman’s hand.

Of course, he reminded me of Jonathan Livingston Seagull. Remember that book? If I’m allowed to quote amazon.com here, the story, by Richard Bach, is about “people who follow their hearts and make their own rules . . . who know there is more to this living than meets the eye.” Jonathan becomes symbolic of “the joy of finding one’s own way.”

If it’s true that this gull rides the Martha’s Vineyard, he’s headed in the right direction. This, after all, is a place where free-thinking is applauded, and following one’s heart tends to go without saying.

One terrific example of this will be later this week at the 16th Annual Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival. Started one winter by a man named Thomas Bena who, together with some friends, was “desperate” for some good movie entertainment, the festival has grown and grown. It now showcases award-winning films from places like Sundance Film Festival and Cannes Film Festival, and has a terrific board of directors that includes Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. This year’s line-up includes 30 documentaries, thought-provoking feature films, and comedies for adults and kids.

Packed into four days from March 17–20th, the festival often is a sell-out. If you’re lucky enough to land a ticket, I might be the enthusiastic volunteer who takes it at the door of the Performing Arts Center in Oak Bluffs or at the Chilmark Community Center. (Films will also be shown at the Chilmark School and the Pathways Gathering Space.)

So come on over for the festival. If Jonathan is on the boat, be sure to feed him crackers.

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