Discussion to follow with director Rory Kennedy

Six decades after the U.S. government created the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, this new film from MVFF favorite Rory Kennedy (Take Every Wave, Last Days in VietnamEthel) examines the remarkable role NASA has played both in the U.S. and for our planet. It celebrates the agency’s accomplishments, investigates its current initiatives, surveys its future plans. Following NASA to the moon, to Mars, the outer reaches of our solar system, and as it monitors Earth, the film poses the question: will NASA give us the answers we need?


Discussion to follow with former law professor Alan Dershowitz, author of the just-released
The Case Against Impeaching Donald Trump (of which he will sign copies), and labor lawyer
Jules Bernstein, sponsor of an online campaign entitled

In the lead-up to the 2016 presidential election, filmmaker James Stern traveled to America’s red states to gauge then-candidate Donald Trump’s appeal and find out why potential voters were untroubled by things he had said and done. What he received was a lesson in the central differences that continue to alienate Americans from one another. Stern (Every Little Step, Snowden) brings us into the heart of the cultural divide sundering our democracy.


Discussion to follow with director Robert Nixon and producer Sarah Nixon

Oscar-nominated filmmaker and Menemsha summer resident Robert Nixon brings us a documentary originally inspired by his son Jack’s idea: to bring American soldiers who had been severely wounded in Afghanistan to compete in one of America’s oldest fishing tournaments, the Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby. Narrated by comedian Lenny Clarke and featuring a host of Vineyard locals, the result is a poignant film that honors the sacrifices made by our soldiers and celebrates the Island’s rich fishing culture.  


Discussion to follow with producer Penny Edmiston

Born into a family of surfers in Kauai, Bethany Hamilton began surfing competitively at eight years old. In 2003, at age 13, she was attacked by a 15-foot tiger shark, resulting in the loss of her left arm. But not only did she survive—she was back on the circuit just a year later. Now a mother, Hamilton undertakes her greatest challenge: chasing a toddler, and the biggest wave of her career. A tale of bravery, perseverance, athleticism, and hope, this film gives new meaning to the expression “surf like a girl.”


Discussion to follow with director Dawn Porter and journalist and author Charlayne Hunter-Gault

This docuseries by MVFF board member Dawn Porter (Trapped, Gideon’s Army) uses never-before-seen archival footage to transport us to a turbulent and dynamic era, letting Robert F. Kennedy’s voice and viewpoint be the guiding force. In its first episode, “A New Generation,” RFK leads his brother’s early 1960s presidential campaign with charm and tenacity. Featuring new interviews with confidantes and staffers, the series reveals what America gained and lost in the life, vision, politics, and hope of Bobby Kennedy.


Discussion to follow with journalist and author Charlayne Hunter-Gault

Collin (Daveed Diggs) and his troublemaking childhood best friend, Miles (Rafael Casal), work as movers and are forced to watch their old neighborhood become a trendy spot in the rapidly gentrifying San Francisco Bay Area. Collin must also make it through his final three days of probation. When a life-altering event causes him to miss his mandatory curfew, the two men struggle to maintain their friendship. This wildly entertaining, provocative film about the intersection of race and class bursts with energy, style, and humor.


Discussion to follow with director Jennifer Townsend

Our first steps in another world, like you’ve never seen before. In July of 1969, three American astronauts—Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins—became the first humans to go to the moon. This immersive film consists entirely of previously unreleased 70 mm footage. From pre-launch preparations to moon landing and triumphal return to Earth, we are taken into the heart of one of humanity’s greatest feats. 


Discussion to follow with directors Jeremy Mayhew and Wes Brighton and fisheries consultant Shelley Edmundson

At Bal Ashram, a refuge in Rajasthan, India, Nobel Peace Prize winner Kailash Satyarthi and his wife Sumedha provide a home, family, and education for boys rescued from child labor. At the 2017 MVFF, the Vineyard’s own Galen Films team gave us a first look at this truly life-changing work. Join us for their completed film!


Discussion to follow with film subject Edwin Raymond

Meet the NYPD12: a group of whistleblower officers who risk everything to expose racially discriminatory policing practices and smash the blue wall of silence. Quota-driven arrests have been outlawed, but these officers have proof to the contrary.  To capture it, Emmy-nominated director Stephen Maing equips each brave officer with a hidden camera. Stunning cinematography, emotional testimony, and intimate access lay bare the institutional bias that taints officer morale and erodes public trust.


Discussion to follow with director Kimberly Reed, film subject John S. Adams,and former congressman Barney Frank

Montana has spent more than a century trying to keep its politics clean. Back in 1912, after a copper magnate tried to bribe his way into the U.S. Senate, the state prohibited corporate campaign financing. But everything changed with the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling in 2010; anonymous “dark money” flooded elections nationwide. We follow investigative journalist John Adams as he stops at nothing to get the truth out—even if it means living out of his truck—while the citizens of Big Sky Country fight against the dismantling of democracy.


This is one of the most beloved, heartwarming films in Spielberg’s long, storied career (50 films and counting), and like other classics he’s made—Jaws (July 5)—it bears repeated viewing. Especially in summer, and outside! If you’ve watched his latest, Ready Player One (or The Post last year), you can marvel at the director’s range of subject matter. Or just be moved and thrilled, yet again (or for the first time), by his favorite themes: childhood, adventure, adventure in childhood, aliens, intelligent life (on Earth and elsewhere), the kindness of strangers. Can we/you/I ever go home again? Make the call...


Discussion to follow with former Secretary of State John Kerry

Key members of President Barack Obama's administration—Secretary of State John Kerry, U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power, speechwriter Ben Rhodes, and others—gave filmmaker Greg Barker unprecedented access to their shaping of U.S. foreign policy in the president’s last year in office. Never has a documentary captured the real players so much in the moment. Every move they make stirs reactions from media, Congress, and the public. This film excels at showing us the humanity of these policy makers in times of breakthrough, setback, and tragedy.


Irene Taylor Brodsky builds on her moving first feature, Hear and Now (MVFF 2007), by delving into an intergenerational exploration of living with deafness. Brodsky’s son Jonas began losing his hearing as a baby and underwent cochlear-implant surgery as a toddler. Now 11 years old, he has adjusted to a world with sound. Brodsky’s parents also have cochlear implants, but the majority of their lives, unlike their grandson’s, has been shaped by silence.


Discussion to follow with director Dan Habib, executive producers Marianne Leone Cooper
Amy Brenneman, and film subject Chris Cooper

What does it mean to be intelligent? What is the value of an IQ test? Three young Americans with intellectual disabilities navigate high school, college, and the workplace, challenging perceptions of intelligence along the way. Academy Award-winning actor Chris Cooper narrates this film that contextualizes their lives through the emotional personal story of his son Jesse. The label of intellectual disability has long led to a life sentence of isolation and systematic segregation, but this film points to a future of possibility and inclusion.


Experience this classic film like you never have before... on the water. You can watch from the beach, or from a kayak or paddle board provided by Island Spirit Kayak. If you are a daring soul in or on the water, you’ll want to look out for the mechanical fin that may be charging by. 

The Oscar-winning epic film of man vs. shark was shot on Martha’s Vineyard in 1974. See if you can spot your favorite beaches and the local talent.


Discussion to follow with directors Ken Wentworth and Liz Witham

Built more than 200 years ago, the Gay Head Lighthouse is one of America’s most famous beacons. From whaling days to the advent of electrification, Keepers of the Light tells the story of evolving technology, heroism, shipwrecks, and the people who are called upon, in each generation, to keep the light. This new film from Island filmmakers Liz Witham and Ken Wentworth also documents a race against time—the recent effort to save the historic lighthouse from falling over the edge of the rapidly eroding Aquinnah cliffs.


For the first time, a group of legendary surfers—including Kelly Slater, Rob Machado, Kalani Robb, and Taylor Steele—have agreed to tell their story, allowing access to their inner circle. Leaving home in their early teens to live on Oahu’s North Shore, steps from Mother Nature's most dangerous waves, some didn't make it back. But together they found a way to mourn and adapt. Fueled by camaraderie and deep-seated competitiveness, they became known as the "Momentum Generation" and redefined the world's perception of surfers.


Discussion to follow with director James Demo and film subject Padraig O’Malley,
moderated by Jake Davis

International peacemaker Padraig O’Malley helps make peace for others but struggles to find it for himself. Over the course of five years, this film takes us from Boston, where the Dublin-born O’Malley is a professor, to some of the most dangerous crisis zones on Earth—including Northern Ireland, Kosovo, and Iraq—as he works out a peacemaking model based on his recovery from addiction. Now in the third act of his life, he works to find some kind of salvation—for both the world and himself.


Discussion to follow with Patrisse Cullors, co-founder of Black Lives Matter, and journalist and author Charlayne Hunter-Gault

After corrupt L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca is ousted, Patrisse Cullors and a group of community organizers work to shut down a new jail the county is trying to build. This docuseries takes us behind the scenes of their powerful grassroots activism in action, examining the issues of cash bail, unlawful arrest, over-policing of black and brown neighborhoods, and mass incarceration. As the community and student activists band together to attack legislation targeting each concern, families and loved ones fight for the freedom of the imprisoned.


One of the world’s most beloved and inventive comedians, Robin Williams had boundless energy, lightning wit, and a knack for creating unforgettable characters. Director Marina Zenovich (Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired, MVFF 2008) presents a portrait of a man who needed an audience just as much as audiences needed him. Hilarious outtakes illustrate his legendary spontaneity and seemingly effortless humor. In a poignant interview, Williams’s eldest son sheds light on his father’s ability to touch so many people and how he earned his place as a comedic legend.


Discussion to follow with director Norah Shapiro and film subject Ilhan Omar

Ilhan Omar is an immigrant and a Muslim woman. Like many in her community, she came to the U.S. from Somalia in the ‘90s and observed an increasing disconnect between American citizens and the officials who represented them. So she decided to do something about it. Hoping to become the first elected Somali-American legislator, she takes on a 43-year incumbent for a seat as Minnesota state representative. This film brings us inside her historic 2016 campaign, as she fights for the fresh change the American government needs—now more than ever.