John Cameron Mitchell on Saturday joined the boundary-breaking ranks of iconoclasts and innovators who have received the Provincetown International Film Festival’s Filmmaker on the Edge Award, reflecting on a fearless artistic path that began with him playing the Virgin Mary in a Scottish Benedictine boys boarding school at age 11.
That unlikely launch pad to a career of more than 25 years as an actor, cult indie director and queer folk hero surfaced during a characteristically unfiltered onstage interview conducted by unofficial festival godfather John Waters, who is kicking of his 55th summer in Provincetown, MA.
Mitchell was one of three key honorees at the Cape Cod event’s 21st edition. Judith Light received the Excellence in Acting Award, inspiring audiences not just with her career achievements but with a heartfelt reaffirmation of her decades-long activism for LGBTQ rights and the fight against HIV/AIDS. (Full disclosure: I moderated that conversation.) And Jillian Bell, who stars in Provincetown opening night film, Paul Downs Colaizzo’s Brittany Runs a Marathon, received the Next Wave Award.