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“Smile Pretty” Third Annual FilmNITE

Veteran documentary film maker Carol Cassidy ushers in the third annual FilmNITE series with Smile Pretty. This film looks beyond the crowns and gowns at American beauty pageants to see how girls learn to be women in the U.S.A. Originally screened in 2000, Miss Chitlin, Miss Frog Jump, and Miss Teen USA tell stories with renewed relevance in a country run by The “Grab ‘Em” President, who bought and sold beauty pageants of his own.  Shot by an all-women crew, this is a film for anyone who has ever been, or cared about, a young American girl.

“Carol Cassidy's engrossing and disturbing documentary looks through narrowed eyes at the contests that enshrine and perpetuate most of the culture's feminine stereotypes.

What makes this stand out from some other beauty pageant examinations, though, is its quality of empathy. Cassidy works very hard to understand her subjects, presenting them without mockery. Yet her camera and interviews also reveal how clearly these girls seem to be living out maternal fantasies.”  Steve Johnson, Tribune Television Critic.

This is Cassidy’s third time presenting her work at FilmNITE.  She previously screened the award-winning Wildwood, NJ and Death Does the Jitterbug to appreciative audiences.

Co-sponsored by Highlands Borough Arts Council (HBAC) and Bahrs Landing Restaurant, FilmNITE takes place alternating Friday evenings from February 10 through April 1.  FilmNITE is an interactive experience where filmmakers and photographers present their work and then discuss their work with audience participants in a cozy, casual screening room environment.  While FilmNITE features local film artists, the featured film makers and their work are world renowned. 

The screening starts at 7:30 pm, but come early to dine upstairs, or grab a bite and a drink downstairs in the screening room before the program begins.




About the Artist
Highlands’s resident Carol Cassidy is an independent multimedia producer specializing in international human rights issues, especially those of concern to women and girls. She has worked in crisis situations in places including Uganda, Burma, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Gaza, Bolivia and Peru. Cassidy also works as a video biographer, helping people to capture and share life stories. She currently teaches multimedia production at NYU and Rutgers. 
About the Venue3
FilmNITE is hosted by and co-sponsored by Bahrs Landing Restaurant, one of the country’s oldest family run restaurants in continuous operation.  Jay Cosgrove, the 4th generation great grandson of the original founders shares why he and his father Ray chose to host and sponsor FilmNITE.  “We have served the Highlands bayshore community for nearly 100 years.  Participation in HBAC and FilmNITE allows us to celebrate, showcase, and share the tremendous talent and creativity that is resident in our community.  Please join us for this year’s FilmNITE series.”

In addition to Bahrs Landing,  Highlands Borough Arts Council wishes to thank the following sponsors: In the Garden, Rick’s Eco-Green & Clean, Gateway Press, and Lab Scientific.