City Journal: Pop! Goes the Film Fest

Out of nowhere, our indie movie festival has become one of the nation’s best.

Cinephiles all over town ought to be thankful for serendipity. In 2003, Adam Roffman and Jason Redmond met by chance at the Sundance Film Festival, and the Bostonians bonded over a common frustration: They shouldn’t have to hike to Utah to see great independent films.

So, after landing back at Logan, the guys tapped their friends for help, and four weeks later organized the Independent Film Festival of Boston ( The response? Cries of joy from the Hub’s long-underserved film community—and general indifference beyond that. But now in its fifth year, the IFFB is getting hard for the rest of us to ignore. When it returns this month (4/25–4/30), Roffman, 35, and Redmond, 32, expect more than 20,000 fans at screenings around the city. The 75-film program is scheduled to feature an offering from indie god Hal Hartley, a Vietnam thriller from Werner Herzog, and the much anticipated On Broadway,set in Boston and starring a litany of local talent. There’s plenty of daring and nary a Hollywood blockbuster. “More risk taking,” says Roffman, “less formula.”