WHFF Rocketboy

The Woods Hole Film Festival will feature two documentaries celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first lunar landing, including Kevin Stirling’s “Go For Landing,” about NASA’s Gene Kranz, who relives the frantic, final minutes of Apollo 11’s lunar decent and Simon Sorted’s “Rocket Boy” (above,) a first-hand account of the launch of the first lunar rocket. The festival runs July 27 through August 3 in Woods Hole and Falmouth.

The Woods Hole Film Festival is known for three flagship programs: short films, filmmakers-in-residence, and panel discussions.

This year’s festival, which runs July 27 to August 3, features 110 narrative, documentary, and animated short films. Most are organized into eleven thematic programs that regularly sell out, while others screen prior to feature-length films. The shorts programs culminate on closing night with “Shortzapalooza,” featuring ninety minutes of short short films selected by the Festival directors.

Several short films with New England connections will have their world premieres at the festival. “Aunty” by Connecticut-based David LaMattina profiles Mamusu Tarawalie, a woman who rose from the carnage of Sierra Leone’s civil war to bring education to thousands of children. “The Last Trap Family” by Hudson Lines tells the true story of a one-of-a-kind, family-run fishing operation in Rhode Island. “Off the Rails” by Mark Kiefer, shot entirely in the World Trade Center subway stop in Boston, portrays two friends, one of whom gets a little too personal immediately after the other friend’s break-up.

In “The Summer House” by Luke Willis, a man returns to his family’s secluded vacation house with his boyfriend, only to be tormented by the ghost of his homophobic father. “Look at Lucas” by Augustin McCarthy features a young son who wants to play with his mother at the beach, but finds it hard to tear himself away from his cell phone.

Other noteworthy short films with New England connections include: “The Cape” by Andrew Olson, about a young girl who finds one last connection in a magical kite shop on Cape Cod during her first summer vacation after losing her father; Travis Newstad’s “The Bartender,” inspired by the sexual misconduct headlines of the past year and filmed in Boston with a completely New England cast and crew; “Because You’re Here” by Mike Syers, about a retired school teacher who spends his summers as Provincetown’s town crier; and Festival alums and Falmouth residents Justin and Kristin Schaak’s “Fairy Tail,” a live action film with puppets in which a hopeless romantic discovers an unlikely intruder and finds love at first fight.

Recurring festival participant and acclaimed animator Bill Plympton returns with two animated creations, co-directed by David C. Roberts and Billy Shebar: “Trump Bites: Trump & Putin, A Love Story,” about President Trump’s not-so-secret admiration for President Vladimir Putin of Russia, and “Trump Bites: Trump's Worst Nightmare,” about how Trump loves washing his hands—of germs, responsibility, and his critics.

Short films that are part of the “Bringing Science to the Screen” program include “One in a Million” by Jeremiah Zagar and Ross Kaufman, which tells the tale of a young boy who mysteriously lost his ability to walk, see, and hear by the time he was 10, until scientists searched his DNA for clues; Meghan Artes’s “Oh Baby,” a vibrant and fantastic imagining of how life begins, in which miracle, science and luck all play a part; and two documentaries celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first lunar landing, including Kevin Stirling’s “Go for Landing,” about NASA’s Gene Kranz, who relives the frantic, final minutes of Apollo 11’s lunar decent when the mission was in danger and nearly aborted, and Simon Sorted’s “Rocket Boy,” a first-hand account of the launch of the first lunar rocket.

Panel discussions include: “Expanding and Extending the Life and Impact of a Film,” the third in a series about science and storytelling presented by the Woods Hole Film Festival Film and Science Initiative, and moderated by Falmouth resident Beth Murphy of The Groundtruth Project; “Evolution of a Story,” co-presented by Women in Film and Video New England (WIFVNE) and moderated by WIFV/NE President Alecia Orsini, a discussion with filmmakers Sally Roy, Monica Long Ross, Sara DuBose, Kat Touschner, and Erika Nichols on August 1; and a discussion of film criticism hosted by Cape Cod Times film critic Tim Miller with Boston Globe film critic Ty Burr, Boston Society of Film Critics President Tom Meek, Patriot Ledger film critic Dana Barbuto, and freelance critic Allyson Johnson (The Young Folks) on August 3.

This year’s filmmakers-in-residence include music documentary filmmaker John Edginton, who will lead a workshop called “Documentary Problem Solving” and a documentary filmmaker roundtable; visual effects wizard Adam Howard who will lead a master class called “VFX: Behind The Scenes,” and former Late Show with David Letterman comedy writer-turned-filmmaker Steve Young, who will lead “Reel Funny: Comedy in Independent Film.”

Tickets are $14 ($12 for festival members) and are available online at www.woodsholefilmfestival.org, or in person at the box office at 72 Water Street. Kids Day tickets are $5 for children 12 and under (must be accompanied by adult), $14 for adults, and $10 for students and military. Passes and ticket packages are also available.

Visit the festival website for details, dates and times of film showings.

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