I am a town provincetown

The feature I Am a Town served as the opening night to the 25th Annual Provincetown Film Fest.

The artistic Cape Cod community has long been celebrated as LGBTQ+ Mecca, which the aforementioned 2020 film tries to capture.

But it also hints at the many mysteries of Provincetown, from caretakers of people and land to fisherman and writers.

“This is a Provincetown that’s hard to find if you’re coming for the first time,” the festival’s executive director, Anne Hubbell, said during a Q&A about the film with its director, Mischa Richter.

I Am a Town, which was first released 3 years ago, came out in the midst of the Covid lockdowns, which meant that Thursday afternoon provided the first opportunity to show it in Provincetown Town Hall, one of many locations featured in the documentary.
It previously played the festival in 2020 at the Wellfleet Drive-In Theater.

Richter’s grandfather and namesake settled in Provincetown after coming from Ukraine a century ago. The filmmaker, a well-known photographer, grew up in Provincetown.

The colorful characters include the late local fixture Freddie Rocha Jr., who gives a brief history of the town; Kiah Coble, an artist and friend to the late painter Pat de Groot; sculptor Paul Tasha, a nature lover who doesn’t care much for developers; a multigenerational Portuguese-American family who talk about fish and memories; a gay couple who find security in PTown that they don’t in New York City; a Jamaican-American woman who considers Provincetown paradise; and a singer plucking out masterpieces on ramshackle pianos.

Richter’s subjects were shot from 2016 to 2019 by the cinematographer Richard Stewart on stock from Hubbell, a filmmaker and Kodak executive.

Editor Marie-Hélène Dozo guides from one subject to the next, letting their stories heard. Most just talk freely about this and that.

The film’s loose meditative quality captures what makes the place so special, and do different the coastal towns of Florida and California.

The This Is a Town trailer includes Will Harrington singing the Iris DeMent song “Our Town”

Will Harrington is the singer whose voice carries through long stretches of the film. At one point, the film focuses on a shot of old boat as Harrington sings.

Richter explained its significance: “He grew up in Brewster. But when he was very young, he started to come to Provincetown to play music on the street. At the time of filming, he lived in a sailboat. He lived there in the harbor and then when he got cold he would sail down to Cuba or Key West or Bermuda and he would find old piano.