Martha’s Vineyard International Film Festival turns 10

Amy Winehouse is the subject of the documentary "Amy."

Films from around the world will play nightly at the Martha’s Vineyard Film Center when the 10th Martha’s Vineyard International Film Festival begins on Tuesday, Sept. 8. Up to three films a day will run through Sunday, Sept. 13. A documentary, “The Salt of the Earth,” will open the festival, and describes the peripatetic life of photographer Sebastiao Salgado, as told by his son Juliano and filmed by German director Wim Wenders.

British singer and songwriter Amy Winehouse, who died in 2011 of alcohol poisoning, is the subject of “Amy,” a documentary that tracks her life and career. It plays on Wednesday, Sept. 9, and is followed by an afterparty at Edgartown’s Port Hunter Restaurant. Running from 9:30 p.m. to midnight, the party will feature music by the Mike Benjamin Band.

The festival’s formal opening takes place with a reception on Thursday, Sept. 10, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm on the grounds of the Tisbury Marketplace. Following the reception, “Meet the Patels” will screen at the Film Center. This romantic comedy won the Audience Award at last year’s Los Angeles Film Festival. It uses animation as well as live action to narrate the humorous struggles of Ravi Patel, a 30-year-old Indian-American actor, to find the perfect Indian wife. He dumps his non-Indian (American) girlfriend of two years to attend a marriage convention for Indians, travel across the U.S., visit India and read countless marriage propositions. Indian marriage culture could be said to have invented speed dating long before it became popular in the U.S.

"Meet the Patels" follows the struggles of an Indian-American bachelor to find the perfect wife. — Photo courtesy
“Meet the Patels” follows the struggles of an Indian-American bachelor to find the perfect wife. — Photo courtesy

Ravi’s parents are more than a little eager to match their son with an Indian woman, and the back-and-forth between the senior Patels and Ravi’s also unmarried sister Geeta, the film’s co-director, provides a wealth of information on Indian marital customs. For instance, the importance of family dictates that Ravi must find a bride who belongs to the Patel clan, which is scattered across India and has many subsets of varying suitability. Ravi’s mother has earned the reputation of being a matchmaker, but even she can’t seem to succeed in finding the right person for her son. In good romantic-comedy tradition, all turns out surprisingly well in the end.


“The Salt of the Earth” Tuesday, Sept. 8, 7 pm; “Amy” Wednesday, Sept. 9, 7 pm; “Meet the Patels,” Thursday, Sept. 10, 8 pm. All films part of the Martha’s Vineyard International Film Festival, Tisbury Marketplace, Vineyard Haven. For festival tickets and information, see


This article by Brooks Robards originally appeared on