The 24th annual Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival was in full flow last weekend, with new documentary and narrative films showing day and night in West Tisbury, Vineyard Haven and Oak Bluffs.

Home base for the festival is Grange Hall in West Tisbury, where couches, armchairs and communal dining tables invited audience members to linger between screenings in the auditorium upstairs.

Minister and activist Lennox Yearwood, Jr. and film director dream hampton discuss the documentary Underwater Projects. — Ray Ewing

“I practically bring my toothbrush,” said Monina von Opel of Chilmark, a festival regular along with her husband Edward Miller, during a break between movies Wednesday afternoon.

There’s also a gift shop selling festival gear, along with a concessions counter for popcorn, candy and drinks. Hungrier movie buffs can dine from a lunch and dinner menu prepared by Island chef Nina Levin, who’s bringing her new pastry truck as well.

Pianist David Stanwood performed during dinner Friday and will return on Sunday, with the regional high school jazz trio playing Saturday evening.

Nina Levin keeps the food coming. — Ray Ewing

Vineyard Haven filmmaker dream hampton’s eye-widening environmental documentary Underwater Projects opened the festival on Wednesday afternoon, with a blast of environmental activism from one of the most threatened coastal communities in America: Norfolk, Va. The city is home to the world’s largest naval base, and is sinking as sea levels rise, posing catastrophic risks that also threaten nearby communities of color.

“The U.S. Navy does not say where they keep their nukes, but they 110 per cent have nukes in Norfolk at that naval base, right? This is also the housing projects. A historically black housing project begins where the seawall ends,” the director told the audience during an onstage conversation that followed Wednesday’s screening.

New Orleans minister and activist Lennox Yearwood, Jr., who appears in the film and also took part in the post-screening talk, said Norfolk is even more threatened than his home town, where hurricanes Katrina and Rita wrought historic destruction nearly two decades ago.

Underwater Projects mixes documentary footage and recent interviews with lively, fact-based animation narrated by comedian Wanda Sykes. The film offers a fresh and arresting perspective on the climate challenge, one that’s fueled by hip-hop urgency, gospel eloquence and a community’s refusal to give in.

Samantha Look, Emily Reddington, Emma Green-Beach, Ollie Becker, and Brian Ditchfield.

Wednesday’s opening-night film, Ollie Becker’s Great Ponds: Finding a Better Balance, was beyond sold out, with even some of the documentary’s human subjects standing in the back to see themselves on-screen.

The film is the second in a projected three-part series of documentaries on the Island’s great ponds, produced by film festival parent nonprofit Circuit Arts, for which Mr. Becker works as a filmmaker. Great Ponds: Finding a Better Balance follows the environmental scientists, aquaculturists and wardens working to restore crucial wildlife habitats that have been damaged by nitrogen runoff from a growing number of homes in pond watersheds.

Speaking before Wednesday’s screening, Mr. Becker said he was motivated to create the films after taking a series of pond-side walks with film festival founder Thomas Bena.

“We both had these shared memories of 20-plus years ago, seeing the water look a lot cleaner, a lot clearer ... and it turned out everybody else did,” Mr. Becker said.

Film lovers head to the Grange Hall in West Tisbury — Ray Ewing

Largely shot on, in and around the coastal ponds, from Edgartown to Aquinnah, the film highlights the work being done to improve and preserve the waterways. It also makes plain that ongoing destruction to pond ecosystems, from eelgrass death to algae blooms, is the result of human activity in the watersheds. Aerial shots of coves choked with oxygen-depleting blooms, and the lush green lawns of homes nearby, silently drive home the point.

After the screening, Mr. Becker returned to the stage for a conversation, joined by Great Ponds Foundation director Emily Reddington, Vineyard Conservation Society director Samantha Look and Martha’s Vineyard Shellfish Group executive director Emma Green-Beach, all of whom are interviewed in the documentary.

A similar panel discussion will take place after the second screening of the film, which takes place Saturday at 3:15 p.m. at the Capawock Theatre in Vineyard Haven.

The festival is also showing movies at the Strand in Oak Bluffs. The complete schedule and ticket information are posted at