Saturday, February 20th, 2016

Our favorite (and most exhausting) week of the year is approaching, Salem Film Fest week, 2016, spanning Thursday-to-Thursday, March 3-10. Instead of our normal 4-7 movies, we will be supervising the screening of 91 films this one week, and monitoring screenings in three venues.

So that totally explains the “exhausting” part; why is this our “favorite” week? It’s a week that demonstrates the power of a downtown movie theater to contribute to the cultural life of a city. It’s a week that draws 5500-7000 people through our doors. It’s a festival that nurtures some of the best and most articulate discussion you’ll hear all year, in any setting on the North Shore. And it’s a roster of films that truly does bring stories of the human family into our hearts in an unforgettable and (sometimes) life-transforming way.

It’s an opportunity to meet filmmakers who have devoted years to creating their stories, and an opportunity to witness an audience giving the films the rapt attention and intellectual curiosity they deserve, — and then participating in a memorable Q&A. It’s also an opportunity to (sometimes) meet the central characters in the films such as, this year, Selvi from Driving with Selvi, India’s first female taxi driver, whose backstory is even more courageous.

I expect that Selvi will be someone we will never forget, someone we specifically think about when we hear about growing human rights for women in India over the next few years.

Check out the website ( and map out your festival strategy. Most likely, this is a week at CinemaSalem that will change and permanently enhance your life.

And, in the meantime, rest up!