Poem In Action

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Ferrini's Vision

Henry Ferrini's filming in his award-winning biographical portrait of his uncle, Vincent Ferrini,

Poem in Action ,

is a must see!

For More Information Contact:
Henry Ferrini
Ferrini Productions
5 Wall Street
Gloucester, MA 01930





Catch our next screening:
Tuesday MAY 5, 1998, at 1:45pm
North Shore Community College
Lynn, Massachusetts Room LE303  
Free Admission

Past Press Release

Salem State College
352 Lafayette Street Salem, MA 01970

Salem Premiere of Witch City The Department of History at Salem State College is pleased to sponsor the Salem premiere of Witch City, on Saturday evening, March 1. Since last fall the documentary film about Salem and her modern-day relationship to the historic Salem Witch trials has been seen at selected sites including the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and the Nantucket Film Festival. Despite these venues, it has yet to be seen in Salem. The film has won praise for its artistic accomplishment but has also generated considerable controversy over its unvarnished look at Salem, a place where history, commerce and religion are blended together. It is directed by Salem native Joe Cultrera.

Witch City was filmed principally in 1992 during the events surrounding the Witch Trial Tercentennial. It includes interviews with Wiccans, Christians, local business people, and even Arthur Miller, the author of The Crucible. Witch City was made by Cultrera, Henry Ferrini, Phil Lamy, Bob Quinn and John Stanton. It was produced by Picture Business Productions of New York City and Ferrini Productions of Gloucester. Operating with only $2,000 worth of grants, the film took over five years to complete.

The local premiere will take place at Hamilton Hall (9 Chestnut Street, Salem) with showings at 7:00 and 9:15 P.M. A panel discussion will follow immediately after the 7:00 P.M. screening. This discussion will provide a forum for Salem residents to express their views on the film and have a dialogue about how witchcraft, religion, and history are portrayed in Salem today. The panel will include community representatives, filmmakers, and historians of Salem witchcraft.

The Department of History at Salem Sate College is committed to bringing historical understanding to the events of 1692, and is currently running both a graduate and undergraduate course on the history of witchcraft. Admission for the film is $5.00, with all Salem State college students admitted free with college identification. Reservations can be made by calling the Department of History at 508-741-6286. For further information contact: Donna Vinson, Department of History at Salem State College at 508-741-6389

To the Editor of the Salem Evening News:
I am responding to a letter to the Editor that has now been published three times. Written by a Pennsylvania tourist, it takes issue with the depiction of Salem in my documentary, "Witch City." The writer had not seen this film, but only read an article about it in this same paper. He suggests that, contrary to its representation in "Witch City," the depiction of history in today's Salem is tasteful and that I should expend my energy in more positive efforts. As a Salem native, I feel that "Witch City" is a very positive effort. The filmmaking team spent many years and much of our own money in creating this document. We would not have done this if we did not have a love for Salem, matched only by our disappointment in what it has become. Criticism that is meant to incite positive change is one of the most important parts of our society. I'd hate to think that it has become necessary to agree with everything and everyone just for the sake of a fake smile. Salem is not Disneyland. Although some of the current depictions of 1692 seem to be more appropriate for that Orlando amusement park, Salem is a place that has a real history worthy of serious contemplation. It is therefore disturbing to see Halloween tourists trampling the Charter Street burial ground and loudspeakers disturbing the tranquillity of the Witch Trials Memorial. But that's just my opinion.

Freedom of choice allows us all to interpret the witch trials as we may -- be it for the purpose of education, spirituality, profit or fun. Many people in Salem now make their daily bread off their interpretations and that is their absolute right. If the author of the letter had bothered to view "Witch City" he would have seen that the film does not so much criticize as it does focus - its lens that is - on people and incidents from a five year period in the life of downtown Salem. My narration is only the voice of someone who grew up in Salem and has seen things change. The subjects of the film give their interpretation of what they are doing and what others around them are, or should be doing. The documentary unfolds as incidents in Salem unfolded, with a mixture of righteousness, anger, fanaticism, and humor. It is for the audience to consider all this and come to their own educated conclusion.

At a recent series of screenings at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, we were applauded by members on various sides of the film's issues. "Witch City" is meant to incite discussion and in March, when the film premieres in Salem, I hope that a lively discussion will follow. You'll all be able to see and criticize for yourself.

Joe Cultrera N.Y., NY

Visit the WitchCity Web Pages and for more information or to purchase a copy of WITCH CITY, e-mail: Picture Business

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