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Short Takes on Film: LunaFest; John Sayles at WRIF

State of the Arts


Here’s a girls’ night out idea that beats catching the latest romantic comedy: Each year, Luna — yes, maker of the energy bar — presents a traveling festival of short films by and about women. At each stop, 15 percent of the proceeds go to the Breast Cancer Fund, 85 percent to a local nonprofit.

In Burlington this Friday, the lucky presenter of the showcase is Vermont Works for Women, whose mission involves training girls and women for trades. After a reception with finger food, music and raffles, attendees will see nine shorts from around the world, exploring femininity from various angles. On the grim side, there’s former supermodel Christy Turlington Burns’ documentary exposé “Every Mother Counts: Obstetric Fistula.” Other film subjects — some truth, some fiction — include an aging life model, a transgendered kid, a women’s rugby team, “Missed Connections” on Craigslist, and Iranian women navigating their culture’s gender roles.

VWW is also screening excerpts from a Vermont film, Mother Nature’s Child, which documents efforts around the country to get kids away from screens and back in the great outdoors. You can meet director Camilla Rockwell at the reception.


If you came of age in the 1960s, you may remember Return of the Secaucus 7 (1979), a drama about a weekend reunion of former firebrands that prefigured The Big Chill. Its director, John Sayles, would go on to make many more progressively inflected films; his latest is Amigo, a historical drama about American imperialism in the Philippines.

On Friday, April 27, Sayles and his producer-partner, Maggie Renzi, will present Amigo in person at White River Indie Films, an annual fest that lasts just one weekend. On Saturday, at Main Street Museum, the director — also a prolific screenwriter — will read from his latest novel, A Moment in the Sun.

How did a small fest bag such a big guest? Sayles is “an old friend of one of our board members,” WRIF board member John Griesemer told Seven Days back in January. Also on the schedule are films with local links, including Dan Butler’s “Pearl”; Hanover native John Daschbach’s Brief Reunion, filmed in Lyme, N.H.; and a preview of Nora Jacobson’s collaborative documentary Freedom & Unity: The Vermont Movie.

WRIF has a new main venue this year — the Tupelo Music Hall — and a new season. Scheduled for June in previous years, so as not to conflict with performances of Northern Stage at the Briggs Opera House, the fest can now take advantage of mud season — in Griesemer’s words, “much better movie-going weather.”


What exactly is a Machotaildrop? In the surreal Canadian comedy of that name from Corey Adams and Alex Craig, it’s a monster conglomerate attempting to buy the soul of a talented teenage skater boy. Burlington City Arts presents a screening of the hard-to-find film this Friday at Merrill’s Roxy Cinemas to benefit redevelopment of the Burlington Skatepark.

Eric Ford of BCA calls Machotaildrop a “brilliantly weird” film that he’s been “working for two years to bring ... to a theater.” Afterward, bring your board to Maglianero for deejayed indoor skating — helmets required!


LunaFest: Friday, April 13, reception at 6:30 p.m., films at 8 p.m. at the Film House, Main Street Landing Performing Arts Center, Burlington. $30 for reception and screening; $15-25 for screening only.

White River Indie Films: Friday, April 27, through Sunday, April 29, at the Tupelo Music Hall and Main Street Museum in White River Junction. Gala benefit Amigo screening with John Sayles and Maggie Renzi, Friday, April 27, 6 p.m. $45. For other events, schedule and prices, see

‘Machotaildrop’: Friday, April 13, 7 p.m. at Merrill’s Roxy Cinemas, Burlington. Screening followed by after-skate session at 9 p.m. at Maglianero, Burlington. $10.

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