VIP – Mini Film Festival to Feature Local Talent

Janet Cook-Rutnik
Janet Cook-Rutnik

Local filmmakers and video artists will be presenting short videos and documentaries at the 3rd VIP – Mini Film Festival to be held during the St. John Arts Festival in conjunction with the St. John Film Society at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 20, at the St. John School of the Arts. VIP stands for Virgin Islands Producers.

Artist / filmmakers Janet Cook-Rutnik and Sigi Torinus are screening the films, which represent very different approaches to the medium. Some tell a story, address a current hot button issue and others are purely visual pieces that reflect the artists view on diverse topics ranging from colonialism to the environment.

One of the VIPs is native son DeJongh Dee Wells, who works with a youth group in Worcester, Mass., and will be presenting a short film on gentrification — an issue that resonates here as well as abroad. Cook-Rutnik will be showing new one-minute videos that feature many local actors in scenes staged on the island. William Stelzer, well known St. John photographer and filmmaker, will be showing some of his hi tech, abstract video experiments. Also presenting videos are Sigi Torinus, who divides her time between St. John and Windsor, Canada, where she is an art professor and internationally exhibited artist; Jose Seano, an award-winning Cuban artist; and St. John filmmakers: Eric Zucker and Andrea Leland, among others.

With the exception of the “Launching of Breath,” none of the videos being shown have been screened before at the VIP Mini Film Festival, but this video will be shown in commemoration of the passing of Virgin Islands writer and sailor Peter Muilenburg, who died last August.

The public is cordially invited to attend. For more information, contact Janet Cook-Rutnik at 693-8069 or email [email protected].