Local Action

In Duxbury, a reel partnership

By Linda Matchan
Globe Staff / July 5, 2009
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The Duxbury Performing Arts Center is an unusual entity - a state-of-the-art, 975-seat performance space that’s municipally owned and situated on the Duxbury Public Schools campus. Six years old, it’s hosted everything from theater, music festivals, and school concerts to a townwide spelling bee and the annual firefighters convention.

“I like to call it a hybrid, though it’s actually more of a mongrel in some ways, in terms of juggling all these schedules,’’ said Tony Kelso, Duxbury PAC general manager.

But things are relatively quiet once school is out, and Kelso thought it might be nice to host a summertime film festival (preferably first-run films). The problem was, the only screen in the building was a “school auditorium screen,’’ and he didn’t know a thing about programming films.

But Kelso had heard there was a new film programmer in town: Denise Kasell, who recently relocated to Boston from New York to become executive director of Brookline’s Coolidge Corner Theatre. So he sent her an e-mail, asking if she could help.

“I’d been here all of two months,’’ said Kasell. Her first thought was: “What is Duxbury?’’

Actually, she had a vague idea. The previous weekend, while exploring the South Shore, she’d passed through Duxbury and admired it. “I said we’d be interested in chatting with him,’’ said Kasell. “It was synchronicity.’’

The two have teamed up to present a series of summer art films, calling the program Coolidge Selects@Duxbury PAC. As the name suggests, the Coolidge picks all the films: “They’re the experts,’’ said Kelso. The center, meanwhile, is upgrading its film capabilities, renting a bigger screen and a high-grade DVD projector, and installing surround sound.

Films will be screened on Saturday nights July 11 through Aug. 22, with the exception of Aug. 1. Starting July 18, the program will include two screenings, at 7 and 9 p.m. The early screening will feature newly released and timely documentaries, plus an animated film. The later screening will include area premieres, some of which are also being presented at the Coolidge Corner.

Kicking off the series is the documentary “Throw Down Your Heart,’’ featuring banjo virtuoso Béla Fleck. The lineup also includes “Every Little Step,’’ “Afghan Star,’’ “Sita Sings the Blues,’’ and “In the Loop.’’

Popcorn will be sold. “We usually ban that kind of stuff,’’ said Kelso. “But a movie isn’t complete without popcorn.’’

For information, call 781-934-7612 or visit

Screenings of note
Jamaica Plain filmmaker Rod Webber screens the final cut of his documentary “A Man Among Giants’’ at the Somerville Theater July 9-13. The film explores the trials and tribulations of Doug “Tiny’’ Tunstall, a former pro wrestler who ran for mayor of Pawtucket, R.I., in 2006. And there have been many tribulations. Suffice it to say that - long story - he is now in a psychiatric ward, from which he will participate in a telephone interview with Webber, who will have him on speaker phone. “Obviously, depending on whether he is allowed to,’’ Webber says. It is presented by Reel Movement, which showcases films by local filmmakers.

Maine event
The 12th annual Maine International Film Festival kicks off July 10 and runs through July 19 in Waterville. (Some films will also be shown at a satellite location in Portsmouth, N.H., on July 17, 18, and 19.) The festival features 100 films made by 50 filmmakers, including several US premieres. Highlights include an appearance July 15 by producer and director Arthur Penn, best known for “Bonnie and Clyde,’’ who will receive a lifetime achievement award. There’s also a July 11 screening of the 1956 classic “Carousel,’’ which was filmed at Boothbay Harbor and Camden.

Information: 207-861-8138,

Linda Matchan can be reached at

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