The Williamstown Film Festival is now in its 17th year, but this year’s festival will reflect some major changes. The festival is complete with new faces, a new name, and new programming focus.

The festival runs from October 15-18. Now called: WFF presents: Wind-Up Fest. It is a nonfiction festival with documentary film as its core. Other forms of nonfiction will be in conversation with documentaries, including long-form journalism, radio podcasts, photography, and social practice art.

The festival’s new artistic director Paul Sturtz, new managing director Sandra Thomas (the former executive director of Images Cinema) and board Member Joe Finnegan join us.

  Spencertown Academy Arts Center’s Festival of Books, the annual extravaganza of all things literary, takes place over Labor Day weekend, September 4 through 7, 2015. The Festival features a giant used book sale, two days of readings and book signings by nationally known and local authors, and a children’s program.

One of this year's participating authors is Alex Kershaw. His new book (also featured on WAMC's The Book Show this week) Avenue of Spies: A True Story of Terror, Espionage, and One American Family’s Heroic Resistance in Nazi-Occupied Paris - recounts the story of one family’s heroic efforts to defeat the evil in their midst.

He will participate in the discussion "Heroes and Spies, Real and Imagined" at the Festival of Books on Saturday afternoon at 1:30.

    The film, Unbroken, directed by Angelina Jolie opened last week. It is based on the best-selling book by Laura Hillenbrand. We spoke with her about the book and its subject, World War II hero, Louis Zamperini, when the book came out in 2010.

  In the tradition of Oliver Sacks's The Island of the Colorblind, Rosemary Mahoney tells the story of Braille Without Borders, the first school for the blind in Tibet, and of a remarkable blind woman who founded the school. Fascinated and impressed by what she learned from the blind children of Tibet, Mahoney was moved to investigate further the cultural history of blindness.

By living among the blind, Rosemary Mahoney enables us to see them in fascinating close up, revealing their particular "quality of ease that seems to broadcast a fundamental connection to the world." Her book is For the Benefit of Those Who See: Dispatches from the World of the Blind.


  Jacqueline Kellachan from The Golden Notebook in Woodstock, NY joins us with this week's Book Picks list.

Norman Mailer: A Double Life by J. Michael Lennon
Book of Ages: The Life and Opinion of Jane Franklin by Jill Lepore
David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and The Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell
Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by K.G. Cambell
True Blue Scouts of Sugarman Swamp by Kathi Apelt
Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook by Dina Faconi, illustrated by Wendy Hollander
Goodbye to All That Writers on Loving and Leaving New York edited by Sari Botton
The Orphanmaster by Jeanne Zimmerman
Down in The Chapel: Religous Life in an American Prison by Joshua Dubler
Led Zepplin: The Oral History of The World's Greatest Rock Band by Barney Hoskyns

On November 5, 1942, a US cargo plane slammed into the Greenland Ice Cap. Four days later, the B-17 assigned to the search-and-rescue mission became lost in a blinding storm and also crashed. Miraculously, all nine men on board survived, and the US military launched a daring rescue operation. But the rescue mission wasn’t as easy or successful as the military had hoped.

Cat owners know you don’t own the animal, but the animal owns you. People know that cats are independent, aloof, and certainly don’t care whether or not you’re freezing while holding the door open waiting for them to come back inside. But on the other hand, it’s why we love cats, personify them, and use them as means to define our relationships. Okay, maybe not all of us do the last thing, but Peter Trachtenberg has. In his memoir Another Insane Devotion we see how he tackles his love of cats and persons.

BOOKS (selected by Joe Donahue)


1. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
2. This is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz
3. The Round House by Louise Erdrich
4. Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon
5. The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers


Disasters take many forms, and we never know when they will strike. To help us be prepared for any situation, Rich Johnson and Outdoor Life have createdTheUltimate Survival Manual that will get us out alive.

Mediating Mental Health looks across fictional and factual genres in film, television and radio examining media constructions of mental health identity. It also questions the opinions of journalists, mental healthcare professionals and people with conditions with regard to mediated mental health meanings.