Arts News

Acclaimed Director Ken Loach will be the special festival honoree at MNFF6: Online Aug. 27-Sept. 3, this year’s Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival.

Contributions should be sent to jim.lowe@rutlandherald.com or jim.lowe@timesargus.com at least two weeks in advance.

Ken Loach at MNFF6MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival announced that legendary British filmmaker Ken Loach has been named its 2020 Honoree for Sustained Excellence in Narrative Feature Filmmaking, celebrating Loach’s courage in making films that go beyond the surface to capture complex and unguarded moments of lived experience and social engagement.

As part of its presentation of films at MNFF6: Online, the festival will screen two of Loach’s films, his most recent picture, “Sorry We Missed You” (2019), that tells the story of a British gig economy delivery driver who faces impossible complications to his work, and “The Wind that Shakes the Barley” (2006) that stunningly depicts two brothers in conflict during the political struggles in Ireland in the 1920s. That film set and continues to hold the record as the highest grossing Irish-made independent film upon its release. Loach will also be the guest of Jay Craven, MNFF artistic director, in an extensive recorded Q&A at the Festival.

MNFF6: Online will be held Aug. 27-Sept. 3 on mobile phones, laptops, iPads and big screen televisions connected to Apple TV and Roku boxes. Descriptions of all the films will be released on the festival’s website.

Loach has amassed 55 directing credits over the course of his stellar career, among them “I, Daniel Blake,” “Land and Freedom,” “Kes,” “Raining Stones, Bread and Roses,” “Carla’s Song,” “Sweet Sixteen” and “My Name is Joe.” He is known for a social realist style that explores the personal impact of working class characters caught in complex dynamics with authorities at work or in government. In addition, Loach has seen an astonishing 13 of his films play at the Cannes International Festival of Film (a record number), where he has won 16 awards including the prestigious Palm d’Or twice.

“He is widely recognized as one of the world’s great directors,” Craven said, “and is especially deft at rendering complex and compassionate portrayals of ordinary people facing stiff odds in everyday life and work. His newest film, ‘Sorry We Missed You,’ is especially resonant, during the current pandemic, for its examination of the impossible pressures of “essential workers” up against deadlines and clock watchers.”

Festival passes will go on sale Aug. 1 and individual tickets Aug. 10; go online to middfilmfest.org

LCCMF postponesCOLCHESTER — Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival Announced that it will postpone the “Epiphanies” 2020 Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival planned for August. Practical and ethical considerations make it necessary. The dates for the 2021 festival are Aug, 21- 29.

The board of LCCMF has decided to pay its musicians half of their contracted performance fees. Circumstances permitting, they will all return in August 2021.

For the latest, go online to www.lccmf.org

BarnArts monologuesBARNARD — BarnArts Center for the Arts is presenting a monologue fundraiser “Words in the Field” outdoors 4 to 7 p.m. Sunday, July 26 at Fable Farm at 1525 Royalton Turnpike.

Ten BarnArts actors will be performing 13 monologues on a grassy knob with views of distant hills. They will perform excerpts from Meredith Wilson’s “The Music Man,” Eugene O’Neill’s “Long Day’s Journey into Night,” as well as Shakespeare monologues from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “As You Like It,” “The Tempest” and “Romeo and Juliet.”

The performance platform and audience options will be well spaced for safety and the two-plus acres of gentle hills and apple orchards give much space for attendees to spread out. Masks will be required in the performance space, as well as food and drink lines. The dinner, featuring local vegetables, breads and cheeses, will be available between shows, 5 to 7 p.m.

Tickets are sliding-scale ($25-100) and include a light dinner; call 802-234-1645, email info@barnarts.org, or go online to www.barnarts.org

CCP on the roadPLAINFIELD — The Craftsbury Chamber Players will present a (socially-distanced) concert in Plainfield at 7 p.m. Saturday, July 25, at the Plainfield Recreation Field. (Rain date 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 28.)

Violinist Mary Rowell, cellist Frances Rowell and pianist Mary Jane Austin will perform a program of (mostly) Music from the Americas, including works by Victor Herbert, Amy Beach, Edward McDowell and Astor Piazzolla. The Craftsbury Chamber Players are launching “There Will Be Music,” an outdoor socially distanced series performed from their newly created mobile sound stage.

Bring your own chair and mask; for information, call 454-7119, or go online to craftsburychamberplayers.org

Taconic tonightMANCHESTER — Week three of Taconic Music’s summer concert series, “Celebrating Beethoven,” features violinist Zachary DePue and violist Amadi Azikiwe at 7 p.m. Saturday, July 25 at Burr and Burton Academy’s Riley Center for the Arts. Seating is limited, and all concerts will be live-streamed on the Taconic Music Facebook page and YouTube channel. Masks and social distancing are required.

The two musicians join Taconic Artistic Directors Joana Genova, violin, and Ariel Rudiakov, viola, and cellist Nathaniel Parke, in a performance of Beethoven’s String Quintet in C Major, Op. 29, “The Storm” and Mendelssohn’s String Quintet No.2 in B-flat Major, Op. 87.

Admission is free, but reservations are required; go online to taconicmusic.org

Moose CrossingPOULTNEY — The Front Porch Summer Music Series” at Stone Valley Arts at Fox Hill began June 5. Local musicians have donated their talents and time to play from the front porch of Stone Valley Arts.

Moose Crossing will perform 6 to 7 p.m. Zak Hampton on tenor saxophone brings together a talented group of musical friends from across the region to bring youthful takes on classics from Duke Ellington and Frank Sinatra, to Miles Davis and John Coltrane.

Audiences are welcome to come, sit on the front lawn and enjoy the music every other Friday evening. Facemasks are recommended and social distancing will be encouraged.

Admission is free; go online to www.stonevalleyarts.org Stone Valley Arts is located at 145 E. Main St.

Henry Sheldon onlineMIDDLEBURY — The Henry Sheldon Museum presents the virtual exhibit “A Neighbor Project: The Downtown Middlebury Portrait” by local artist Rebecca Kinkead. The exhibit includes over a hundred 7-inch by 5-inch oil portraits of local community members created during 20-minute portrait sessions throughout the town.

The project grew out of Kinkead’s “A Neighbor Project,” which began, in her words, as “a cry for help.” In 2019, she found herself living alone for the first time in her life at age 51 and looked to her community for reassurance. She put out a simple invitation: come and sit on my porch and I’ll paint your portrait. When she began, Kinkead had never painted portraits before — her work consisted mostly of large-scale palette knife works of animals. Several hundred portraits later, Kinkead entered a new chapter, moving her miniature easel from her porch into the downtown, where she conducted portrait sittings in a variety of local businesses throughout the spring of 2020 to create The Downtown Middlebury Portrait.

At 6 p.m. Thursday, July 30, the Sheldon will offer a live online workshop with Kinkead, who will guide participants in creating their own portraits in collage. Another collage workshop for kids is planned for August. (The fee is $10 per person; email henrysheldonmuseum@gmail.com)

For more information and reopening updates, go online to www.henrysheldonmuseum.org

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