Saturday, April 8, 2017

Slow Saturday Flashback: Vineyard Vitriol

"Filmmaker focuses on Vineyard’s big ‘starter castles’" by Mark Shanahan Globe Staff  August 26, 2016

CHILMARK — For the past 12 years, Thomas Bena has been working on “One Big Home,” a documentary about the oversize residences — or, as they’re known on the island, “starter castles” — that have risen on the landscape like gray-shingled behemoths. Bena has waged what has sometimes been a lonely and divisive campaign to curb the size of new construction and preserve the pastoral quality of the island.

Bena eventually began showing up with a camera, a la provocative filmmaker Michael Moore, at job sites and planning board meetings. Carpenters, electricians, and plumbers whose livelihoods depend on ultra-rich summer residents building lavish second homes viewed him with suspicion. It didn’t help that the first-time filmmaker, tall and bespectacled with the gentle bearing of a college professor, could seem patronizing.

Over the course of the movie, Bena’s activism mellows in part because he got married and had a baby. Another reason, however, is because he and his wife bought an old house in Chilmark and tore it down to build something bigger — just like the out-of-towners who are the focus of his frustration.

“I felt like I’d sold out,” he says. “I was tormented. I had these ideals in my head, but the reality was I wanted more.”

The film chronicles Bena’s efforts to build what he wants — a 2,900-square-foot post-and-beam house with a bathtub large enough to get his knees wet — while also lobbying to limit the size of new homes in Chilmark, a patchwork of postcard-pretty farms, rolling hills, and waterfront that is home to barely 900 year-round residents.

The feature-length film is now finished, and....



"Stoked by a drop in the Canadian dollar, tax credits, and a surge in demand for original content by companies such as Netflix and Amazon, film and television production is at a record in Canada. The boom is bringing in more than C$5.5 billion ($4.2 billion) a year across the country and employing more than 128,000 full-time workers, according to the Canadian Media Producers Association.  John Landgraf, CEO of FX Networks, has said the industry is facing ‘‘peak TV,’’ arguing networks and streaming services are producing more programming than viewers can watch."

What does it matter when most of it is sh**?