The 28th Woods Hole Film Festival, running through Saturday, August 3, presents 170 independent films from around the world in the fun village of Woods Hole, and Falmouth. The festival came to our attention because of a Wellesley connection, of course. The feature-length film Path of the Daff, a documentary about the unshakeable Boston spirit after the 2013 Marathon bombing, made its world premier in the historic Woods Hole Firehouse. We were told that Wellesley had a cameo appearance in the movie. Were we interested in catching the film about hope and inspiration after the devastation of the 2013 events? asked organizers. Of course we were.
Path of the Daff in part covers the events that occurred on April 15, 2013. On that day, the Boylston Street finish line of the Boston Marathon was transformed by two bombs from a place of joy to a place of terror. Two homemade pressure cooker bombs detonated 12 seconds and 210 yards apart at 2:49pm, near the finish line of the race, killing three people and injuring several hundred others, including 16 who lost limbs.
After tragedy, there are always certain people who look around and figure out how to bring positivity. Charlestown resident and urban horticulturalist Diane Valle is one of those people. She had a vision of hope and rebirth for the Boston, and that vision included daffodils. Her goal: to line the Boston Marathon route with a sea of daffodils that would bloom for Marathon Day and symbolize that idea of hope. I spoke to her at the festival and Valle said, “This movie and the daffodils are all about hope and looking forward. I think the world is a better place with flowers in it.”
In under six months, Valle found a way to source tens of thousands of daffodil bulbs in time to get them in the ground in Fall 2013 so that they would be in bloom for the Spring 2014 Marathon. When I heard about the project, I got in touch with Valle and asked if she needed a couple of garden clubs in Wellesley to help with the efforts. That fall, between the efforts of the Town of Wellesley, the Wellesley Gardeners’ Guild, the Hills Garden Club of Wellesley, the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, and many others, thousands of bulbs were planted in Wellesley.
Valle got in touch with other garden clubs in the towns along the Marathon route to plant daffodils, and all answered the call to send a message of resilience and strength. The film focuses on the efforts in Boston, where volunteers place thousands of the cheerful yellow flowers in pots labeled “Boston Strong” all over the Copley Square area. The movie traces the path of the bulbs from Holland to Boston, and all the teamwork it takes to make the simple message of hope happen. The movie was created and financed as a labor of love by executive producer Matthew Piscitelli and his brother and director Michael Piscitelli. They own Olson’s Greenhouses in Raynam, MA, where the daffs are delivered and are processed after their trip from the Netherlands.
Matthew was on hand at the Woods Hole premier. “We do it not for any money. We don’t get money for this. Any donations go to charities such as A Leg Forever. We do it because we love Boston and the Boston Marathon.”
Shout-out to Noelle Kaelblein, whose running progress in the film, including through Wellesley (our cameo appearance!) , was charted during her first marathon ever. Her efforts raised major funds for A Leg Forever, a charity established by Elizabeth Norden in honor of her two sons JP and Paul Norden, who each lost a leg in the Boston Marathon bombings. The foundation’s mission is to pay it forward and assist other amputees in their time of need just as JP and Paul were helped with overwhelming support following the marathon bombings.
There’s still time to attend the Woods Hole Film Festival
My co-editor Bob Brown and I had a great time in the busy village well known for its ferry service to Martha’s Vineyard and as the ending point of the Shining Sea Bike Path. As a sandwich board in front of one of the restaurants says, “Woods Hole is ferry, ferry fun.” While in the village, we caught six full-length films, five shorts, and wandered in and out of shops and restaurants. It was a great way to spend a summer weekend.
We had dinner our first night at Landfall Restaurant (2 Luscombe Ave.), where we downed oysters at a waterfront table. Attached to the back of the restaurant was a small deck where boaters backed up, tied up their crafts, and piled out to relax on wooden benches with a drink or two. It was a fun summer party atmosphere from stem to stern at Landfall.
The next night we tried out Shuckers (91A Water St.) which was still going strong at 9pm when we showed up for dinner. Once again, we scored a waterfront table, this time on Eel’s Pond. A band had the crowd singing along, and everyone was loud and cheerful. The fish sandwich and the Caesar Salad with shrimp were big hits with us. Also on the menu: raw bar, crab cakes, fried whole belly clams, steamed lobster, and more.
Thanks to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute
Most of the films are shown in Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution lecture halls, and it was cool to have the opportunity to go into those buildings. Best of all we enjoyed the films in air conditioned comfort, and the lecture hall style seating meant no obstructed views and cushy seating.
We saw six movies and multiple shorts at the festival. Here are reviews of some of our favorites — Pizza, A Love Story (New Haven pizza finally gets its due); Nose to Tail (a really hard day in the life of a high-end chef); and Float (F1D flying machines, competition).
The fun is far from over. Also below, an update on encore screenings on films that sold out and info about the awards ceremony at Captain Kidd
Restaurant featuring music by singer-songwriter Sam Woolf, who finished in American Idol’s top five in 2014.