Arts & Culture

Art, design featured in statewide film festival

Cable Car Cinema, other venues screen films from 10 different countries, including documentaries

Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The film festival featured the animated movie “Loving Vincent,” for which 120 artists crafted 65,000 oil paintings for each shot in the movie.

The third annual Providence Art & Design Film Festival opened last Thursday, bringing films to Rhode Island that “focused on diverse disciplines within art and design,” according to the festival website. Films will be shown in Providence, Newport and Jamestown at various venues.

The 12-day film festival covers a vast array of topics, ranging from how an artist deals with her mental illness through sculpting to films that center on Chinese typography. The festival also features “Loving Vincent,” an animated film composed of 65,000 oil paintings by 120 artists making up each shot. Also featured is a documentary that follows the influence of Russian oligarchs in the art market — a scenario that might remind first-years of their First Readings text “The Tsar of Love and Techno.” 

Providence venues include Cable Car Cinema and the Rhode Island School of Design Museum Auditorium. The film  “Design That Heals,” was accompanied by a question-and-answer session with the movie’s media producer, Thatcher Bean.

“These were two of the most intense films I’ve seen in a long time,” said Fran Loosen, a movie-goer who watched “Heaven Is A Traffic Jam On The 405” and “Design That Heals.” “It’s so well-curated that you can come to anything and you’re going to be completely blown away by it.”

The festival is comprised of films from 10 countries, including short films, documentaries and longer feature films.

“Part of what I’m interested in doing is finding people that are invested in material and can speak to it from … personal experience,” said Emily Steffian, the artistic director for the film festival. “It’s got to be educational, engaging to watch and … connected to people around our community.”

Apart from Steffian’s criteria, this year’s films don’t follow a particular theme. “Last year, there were a lot of films about photography and this year it was pretty eclectic. … Many different disciplines were featured,” said Daniel Kamil, program director for the festival. “We expanded the kind of idea of what we were … considering to be art and design.”

Steffian believes Providence is a prime location to host the film festival. “I just felt … that in and of itself Providence is such an artistic community that there are people here that would come.” She cited Brown and RISD as notable creative communities.

But the film festival is even attracting people from outside of the Providence community. “People are coming from all over the place. They’re coming from Massachusetts and Connecticut,” Steffian said.

The festival’s organizers are optimistic about future editions as well. “In our third year, we’ve hit our stride,” Kamil said. “We’re going to … continue to explore this to see whether it’s worthwhile expanding it beyond the current footprint.”