OPENING GALA: JFK – THE LAST SPEECH EUROPEAN PREMIERE
Friday 14 June – 19.45
The Granville Theatre, Victoria Parade, Ramsgate CT11 8DG
Drinks and cutting of the now famous Anchor Cake – Ticket includes one FREE drink
JFK The Last Speech explores the dramatic relationship between two seminal Americans—President John F. Kennedy and the poet Robert Frost—which reached its tragic climax in a surprising encounter with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev at the height of the Cold War.
Born out of these events is Kennedy’s remarkable speech about poetry and power, which alters the life course of a group of Amherst college classmates who witness this compelling address and continue to exemplify in their contemporary lives a portrait of the challenges facing America.
Director Biography: Bestor Cram
Bestor Cram has over thirty-five years of experience as a director, producer and cinematographer. In 1982, he founded Northern Light Productions, where he is the Creative Director. Bestor has built Northern Light into one of the premiere documentary production companies in New England, dedicating himself to films that strive to achieve a greater truth. His cinematography credits include the 1995 Documentary Academy Award winner, Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision and the acclaimed feature documentaries, After Innocence, and Wrestling with Angels: Playwright Tony Kushner; the Emmy-nominated Discovery Channel special, Mysteries of the Sea: Freak Waves; the HBO special, Mumia Abu-Jamal: A Case For Reasonable Doubt?; the PBS/BBC series, China in the Red; and the PBS American Experience on Eleanor Roosevelt. Bestor’s Unfinished Symphony premiered at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival. Bestor has written, directed, produced, shot and executive produced over 30 films, including Scarred Justice: The Orangeburg Massacre; Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison; Circus Without Borders; Beyond the Wall; and ANITA: Speak Truth to Power.
JFK: The Last Speech has been a project of passion, in memory of a man who served our nation with noble distinction. President Kennedy’s address speaks to our need to be engaged citizens who find wisdom in the arts:
“The artist, however faithful to his personal vision of reality, becomes the last champion of the individual mind and sensibility against an intrusive society and an officious state … In pursuing his perceptions of reality, he must often sail against the currents of his time.”
We learn from the past; it offers inspiration and guidance for how to navigate the ethical dilemmas we encounter on a daily basis. “When power corrupts, poetry cleanses,” Kennedy said. And like many documentaries, this story has multiple endings…
The other ending has to be with Robert Frost, whom JFK was eulogizing at Amherst: “We must never forget that art is not a form of propaganda; it is a form of truth,” said the President. I love to believe that cinema is part of understanding what the truth is. The act of going to the cinema is part of our own search for truth. It is also an affirmation of friendship, for we are able to see life in a movie and share that with those we hold dear. For many of us, it is Frost who was able to underscore our humanity simply and eloquently as an extension of who we are to one another.
Director: Bestor Cram
Writer: Matthew Maclean
Producer: Portland Helmich
Cast: John F Kennedy, Robert Frost, Ellen Fitzpatrick, Douglas Brinkley, Jay Parini
Executive Producer: Neil Bicknell
Associate Producers: Robert Benedetti, Roger Mills, Stephen Smith II, Richard Sparks, Charles Stover III
Editor: Glenn Fukushima