FILM: “Freeheld” to Get BIFF Screening @ the Mahaiwe [Berkshire On Stage]

By Larry Murray

Hot from the world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, the Berkshire International Film Festival (BIFF) proudly presents a special pre-release screening of “Freeheld,” starring Julianne Moore, Ellen Page, Michael Shannon and Steve Carell. “Freeheld” is based on Berkshire resident and BIFF board member Cynthia Wade’s 2008 Academy Award-winning short documentary film of the same name. The documentary was screened at the 2009 BIFF.

The screening of “Freeheld” will be held at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center at 4pm on Sunday (October 4), and Cynthia Wade will be in attendance for an introduction and Q&A immediately following the film.

It is a film that has come in for some controversy, but as GALECA colleague Daniel D’Addario wrote in Time Magazine when he interviewed Ellen Page, “Documentaries are one thing; a feature film with two major actresses is quite another. As a film about the inner lives and the challenges of a lesbian couple, ‘Freeheld’ is a rarity in a Hollywood that still privileges stories about straight characters; it’s no wonder it took six years to make.

“And it’s all the more rare that it features an out lesbian movie star, one who’s willing to be outspoken on behalf of what she believes. (Her upcoming projects include the Vice series ‘Gaycation,’ for which she interrogated Presidential candidate Ted Cruz in Iowa after this interview was conducted.) Since coming out last year, Page says she’s moved beyond depression and is now ‘excited about life, and motivated and inspired.’ But asked if taking on a role that’s somewhat outside where Hollywood is willing to place 28-year-old actresses is ‘brave,’ Page bristles, calling the term ‘borderline offensive.’ After all, she notes, this movie shouldn’t even be a risk: ‘People want diversity. They want it. Whether they consciously know it or not.’”

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