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What's New(s)-updated 4/24/2010

—June 2010. Polis is This and Lowell Blues screening, National Gallery of Art, 6th Street and Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC. 20565 Tel: 202.842.6272
—October 9th, 2010. Charles Olson Centenary Festival, Gloucester, MA. Polis is This.
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  • Witch City
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Witch City: Salem Witches, Evangelical Preachers, Greed...And Business As Usual

Witch City"Fascinating. Very entertaining."
—Michael Apted, Director: Coal Miner's Daughter, Gorillas in the Mist, 35-UP

"Very funny and very smart. Should play in Salem every day and every night forever."
—Bo Smith, Film Curator: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA

"...personal and provoking"
—Anne Driscoll: Boston Globe

"A brutally honest look at what 'Salem Town' has become, 300+ years after the Witch Trials...
—Peg Aloi: Witches Voice

"sad, funny and revealing look at how Americans honor their history."
—Video Librarian

"It's a disgusting piece of work. A low-budget piece of trash."
—Bif Michaud, Owner-Salem Witch Museum

Salem Massachusetts is a place that exists as both a city and a metaphor. The witch trial hysteria that consumed it in 1692, sent 20 men and women to their deaths. It also sent the phrase witch hunt into the American lexicon. Nathaniel Hawthorne's take on Puritanism, and Arthur Miller's take on McCarthyism both use Salem as a metaphor for intolerance and persecution. In Witch City the filmmakers find that commercialism and greed are the new metaphors.

As Salem prepares to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the witchcraft trials, Witch City director Joe Cultrera returns to the working-class, ethnic neighborhood of Salem that he knew in his boyhood. Things have changed in the City of Peace. The witch-on-broomstick has become the stop-by-for-a-spell industry that draws tourists from around the world. The tragedy of 1692 has become Salem's meal ticket.

Perhaps even more alienating to a returning native is the emergence of Salem as a battle site in the culture war between the New Age Wiccans and religious fundamentalists. Like the t-shirt salesmen and wax museum owners, these groups have not necessarily shown themselves to be above making a few bucks in the name of religion. Against this backdrop of money and metaphor, Witch City tells a cautionary tale of what happens when history is distorted by both merchants and would-be prophets.

Produced by:

Witch City is available for purchase from Picture Business Productions.



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