The Independent Film Festival of Boston Announces Its Schedule

Julie Delpy and Chris RockChris Rock and Julie Deply in 2 Days in New York. (Image courtesy of the Independent Film Festival.)

Over the past decade, the Independent Film Festival of Boston has not-so-quietly crept up to being our city’s top celluloid extravaganza. Sure, there’s the international film festival, the underground film festival, the Jewish and Palestinian film festivals, and of course the Boston Film Festival. All are worthy and wonderful, adding spice to our low-key film scene. But Hollywood is a fickle beast, which makes IFFBoston wise for never seeking out the big stars, instead reeling in the midrange and those with hipster cachet, slowly building a rep for cinema cool. And yesterday, when IFFBoston announced the schedule for its 10th season, the lineup of 130 screenings doesn’t disappoint. And that’s not just the films, but those in attendance as well.

As usual, my burg of Somerville is the hub, not only with screenings at the Somerville Theatre but parties at Davis Square locales. Other venues include the Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline and the Brattle in Harvard Square. It runs from April 25 to May 2.

Let’s take a look, shall we?

First off, arthouse fans will be pleased to find their darling daring directors such as Guy Maddin (most famous for The Saddest Music in the World) introducing his new film, Keyhole, or Todd Solondz (most famous for Happiness) riding in on his Dark Horse. Meanwhile actors like Bobcat Goldthwait and Julie Delpy have become directors themselves, and they’ll be here in town to introduce God Bless America and 2 Days in New York, respectively. Stars in these films alone include Chris Rock, Selma Blair, Mia Farrow, Aasif Mandvi, and the mighty Christopher Walken.

Even more, This American Life fans will lap up Sleepwalk with Me, directed by regular Life contributor Mike Birbiglia and co-written by him and Life honcho Ira Glass. It opens the festival, and I presume it’s based on at least the titular story of Birbiglia’s recent book of nonfiction essays (and let’s hope to presume that it’ll escape the recent Life controversy over that debunked Apple/China sweatshop debacle). Denis Leary makes his usual trip home, this time not to promote the needs of Worcester and Boston firefighters, but to promote a film he helped produce, called BURN, documenting Detroit, a city that has probably seen more arson than any in America.

Leary’s project is just one of a bunch of promising documentaries that’ll be there. There’s a film about the knuckleball, naturally starring our retired pal Tim Wakefield, and various music-related films about such folk like songwriter Paul Williams (Paul Williams Still Alive), Paul Simon (Under African Skies), Andrew Bird (Andrew Bird: Fever Year), and Ginger Baker (Beware of Mr. Baker). I for one am most excited for All Ages: The Boston Hardcore Film, which ought to tap into some seriously gnarly local lore.

Lastly, I should mention that one of the awards, now in its third year, will be the Karen Schmeer Award for Excellence in Documentary Editing. Schmeer was a legend in this field, best known for her work with Cambridge’s Errol Morris. She died in a hit-and-run accident back in 2010, and this award is an appropriate homage to her, and appropriately presented by editing-suite manufacturer Avid.