Bristol film series to celebrate women directors

BRISTOL — In the middle of her acceptance speech at the 90th Academy Awards ceremony last March, a giddy, breathless Frances McDormand put her Best Actress Oscar on the floor and asked all the female award nominees to stand with her. Led by actress Meryl Streep, they did, and Hollywood’s Dolby Theater erupted with applause.
The moment was less striking as a gesture of solidarity, however, than as a visual of how literally few and far between those women were — lone figures standing amid vast seas of the seated.
“Look around, ladies and gentlemen, because we all have stories to tell and projects we need financed,” McDormand told her audience.
This state of affairs, if not the moment itself, figured prominently in the development of the theme for this year’s Movies in the Red Barn at the Inn at Baldwin Creek & Mary’s Restaurant in Bristol: women-directed films.
“Women have been telling important stories in film since the dawn of cinema, from Mary Pickford and Mae West to Nora Ephron and Sofia Coppola,” said series cofounder Jay Dubberly, a Vergennes writer and artist who has taught college-level film and screenwriting courses. “The goal of this year’s series is to show that there are already terrific female filmmakers in the world, and that there is demand for more.”
The series will screen a different film each Friday between July 27 and Aug. 17. Showtime 7:30 p.m. Movies are free to the public, but reservations are encouraged. Dinner reservations for 6:15 at Mary’s Restaurantat are also available. Call 453-2432 for more info.
Previous Red Barn series focused on noir classics, foodie films, and the movies of Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe.
“Glowworm” will be among the three short films by New Hampshire filmmaker Laina Barakat that will be screened in the Red Barn on Aug. 10.
Courtesy photo
Addison County has no shortage of summer film series, Dubberly acknowledged, but this one is different.
“We try to offer lesser-known films for cinephiles and amateur filmgoers alike. Plus, with us you can dine inside before the film and finish your dessert and bottle of wine during the film. Everyone needs a glass of wine, a slice of chocolate cake, and a good bout of laughter sometimes,” he said.
The 200-year-old building also makes for a unique cinematic experience:
“It’s romantically lit and allows for the merging of both the outdoors and indoors,” Dubberly said. “During our Noir Classics series we watched Humphrey Bogart by candlelight. When Audrey Hepburn stumbles around blind in ‘Wait Until Dark,’ we were able to show the film as originally intended — with no extra lighting during the climactic third act.”
There’s no air-conditioning, he cautioned, but there is free water and bug spray.
Dubberly, Baldwin Creek coowner Linda Harmon and Harmon’s daughter Laura Mack, who owns lu•lu ice cream in Vergennes, picked this year’s titles.
The series will present films directed by Debra Granik, Greta Gerwig and Nicole Holofcener. Distribution laws prevent the Independent from specifying which titles, but those can be found at www.facebook.com/baldwincreekvt.
A special event on Aug. 10 will feature Laina Barakat’s short films “Glowworm,” “The B Movie” and “Things We Say,” followed by a Q&A with the director herself. The New Hampshire filmmaker, whose first feature-length film, “Light Attaching to a Girl,” is in post-production, will discuss her work, her artistic journey and women in film.
“I’m excited to be part of this series,” Barakat told the Independent. “On the one hand, as directors and producers, women don’t want to be categorized as ‘female filmmakers.’ We are just filmmakers. On the other hand, our voices are not often heard, and having a forum like this where we can share our art is validating.”
Dubberly and Harmon conceived of Movies in the Red Barn in the wake of Shakespeare in the Barn, an annual summer theater event at the same site produced for nearly two decades by local actor and artist Deb Gwinn, who is now artistic director of the Vermont Coffee Company Playhouse. The end of Gwinn’s series, in 2014, coincided with Dubberly’s first summer working as a server at Mary’s Restaurant (he now tends bar there).
“We were brainstorming about how to fill the space and I said we should do movies,” Dubberly said. “It all started with donated or borrowed equipment but has grown to include a nice 109-inch screen, an Epson projector, Blu-ray and great sound.”
Presenting an all-women-directed series was a “no-brainer,” he said.
“Like many others, I worked multiple jobs when I first moved to Vermont. All of my bosses were women over the age of 50. Linda is a force in the community, and my mother, Diane, a New England Businesswoman of the Year winner, is from here. I’ve always associated strong women with the Green Mountains.”
Movies in the Red Barn
• Where: The Inn at Baldwin Creek & Mary’s Restaurant, Route 17 North, Bristol
• Dates: July 27 and August 3, 10 and 17
• Time: 7:30 p.m. (6:15 if dining beforehand)
• Tickets: Free, but reservations are strongly encouraged
• For more details or to make a reservation call 453-2432
• Visit www.facebook.com/baldwincreekvt for film titles and info

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