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is to produce community events, educational programs, and films that spark discussion, debate, and action.

produces, shoots, and edits documentaries and promotional videos.

teaches filmmaking to students of all ages to build community of storytellers and truth seekers.



  • We are dedicated to connecting our community and tackling the issues of our time.

  • We think it is vitally important for children to understand visual media, and learn how to make it. Each of our filmmaking workshops, family films, and in-school classes, are entirely free of charge!

  • We create space for several sides of an issue to be heard, and therefore, will not exclude topics or speakers solely on the basis of "controversial content". Programming of such content does not constitute an endorsement by the MVFF.

  • We will not stand for discriminatory behavior which disrupts the spaces we work so hard to create.

  • We are committed to environmental sustainability, all of our events are low-waste, plastic-free, and we compost.

  • We want you to eat clean food, so our "concessions" are really farm-to-table meals using responsibly-sourced meats and local produce.


All are welcome here. Join us.


In the middle of winter 2001, Thomas Bena and a group of friends were desperate for good movies. They had rented nearly every VHS tape and DVD at the local video store, and the two Island movie theaters were only showing mediocre blockbusters. Although Thomas had never even been to a film festival, he asked his friends to help him create an alternative movie experience—one that would feature fantastic films, exotic food, art, and music.

He rented the Grange Hall in West Tisbury and found several independent filmmakers who were willing to let him present their work. With one small article in The Martha's Vineyard Times and a heap of phone calls, four out of the five programs played to a full house. The projection booth doubled as a kitchen where curries were prepared just a few feet from the technical equipment. A series of interviews with Islanders played on television screens strategically placed in the bathrooms. Strangers talked, friends were made, people had a great time.

The MVFF was born.