A new film about Ted Kennedy and the death of Mary Jo Kopechne on Martha’s Vineyard is set to open this month’s big film festival on Martha’s Vineyard. The film has been described as a frank presentation of the story.

We ran a post about the film recently. See the trailer and read a review here.

This poster for the film leaves little to the imagination:

Sara Brown reports at the Vineyard Gazette:

Chappaquiddick Movie Will Open Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival

Chappaquiddick, the upcoming movie that revisits Sen. Edward M. Kennedy’s infamous 1969 car crash on the Island, will open the 2018 Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival on March 15.

A discussion with the film’s director, John Curran, and actor Jason Clarke, who stars as Mr. Kennedy, will follow the opening night screening.

“We’re really excited,” MVFF artistic director Brian Ditchfield told the Gazette Tuesday. “It’s rare that you find a great dramatic film that also has local resonance, and so we thought it was the perfect film to open the festival.”

He added that the film festival was excited to bring Mr. Curran and Mr. Clarke to the Island. Mr. Clarke, an Australian actor who also starred in Zero Dark Thirty, among other films, “was fabulous in [Chappaquiddick],” Mr. Ditchfield said…

The new film looks at the car crash and the aftermath that unfolded, largely on the Vineyard, which included a media firestorm and the Kennedy family dealing with what they saw as a public relations nightmare for Mr. Kennedy.

In another article at the Vineyard Gazette, Ms. Brown describes an experience shared by the filmmaker and the actor who portrays Ted Kennedy:

Chappaquiddick Film Takes New Look at Well-Known Story

A few years ago director John Curran and actor Jason Clarke made a late night trip to the Dike Bridge on Chappaquiddick. The bridge has been rebuilt, but the dirt road, Poucha Pond, and rural landscape haven’t changed much in 49 years since Sen. Ted Kennedy drove his car off the bridge in a late night accident that killed a young woman, Mary Jo Kopechne.

“We went out one night late to the bridge and looked around, 10:30, 11 o’clock, and just stood on it,” Mr. Curran said in a phone interview this week. “The thing that struck both of us was how incredibly dark it is. There’s no ambient light out there, and you really could imagine late at night, a car going into a pond and being disoriented. What really struck us was how disorienting and scary that must have been.”

“And you know, feeling the sort of ghosts of the story out there.”

The description of the film on the Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival website is very telling:

We believe we know what happened that night. We’ve read the newspaper articles, watched the t.v. reports, or, as most Island stories travel, heard it through the grapevine. Jason Clarke (Mudbound, Zero Dark Thirty) masterfully takes on the role of Senator Ted Kennedy in the days surrounding the infamous car crash in the summer of 1969.

The festival runs from March 15 to 17, if you’re inclined to visit.


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