Local Talent Shines at the 2015 Independent Film Festival Boston
Out of roughly 1,200 submissions, the Independent Film Festival Boston, running April 22 through 29, has plucked out 53 feature-length films and 44 shorts for this year’s event.
“It’s an amazing feeling when you really do find something that you want to share with the world,” says program director Nancy Campbell, who’s been involved with the fest for 12 of its 13 years. And while the IFFB’s films hail from all over, many of its strongest offerings have local roots. Here are seven Boston-bred films worth checking out this year.
The IFFB opens with The End of the Tour, a film that David Foster Wallace’s literary estate in no way endorses. Based on David Lipsky’s Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself, The End of the Tour recreates the five-day stretch Lipsky (played by Jesse Eisenberg) spent with DFW (played by Jason Segel) during his Infinite Jest tour. You can’t talk about Infinite Jest without talking about Boston, of course—that maddening, sprawling postmodern opus is partly set here, its landmarks informed by DFW’s short-lived stint at Harvard.
April 22, 7:30 p.m., Somerville Theatre, 55 Davis Square, Somerville, 617-625-5700, feitheatres.com/somerville-theatre.
Native Bostonian and and Godfather of Mumblecore Andrew Bujalski follows up 2013’s Computer Chess, a paean to nerddom in the more-analog world of the ’80s, with something completely different: In Results, a newly divorced and newly rich Danny (Kevin Corrigan) stumbles into the squat-and-plank-filled world of fitness guru Trevor (Guy Pearce) and his in-your-face trainer Kat (Cobie Smulders). Will it be a love triangle? Not exactly. No, don’t even try to guess—Bujalski’s the master of the Rubik’s Cube plot.
April 23, 7 p.m., Brattle Theatre, 40 Brattle St., Cambridge, 617-876-6838, brattlefilm.org.
Misogyny in gaming culture may have been recently thrust into mainstream prominence during the Dickwolves debacle or the no-one-gets-out-of-here-alive cataclysm of GamerGate. But the problem’s not new, and it’s not solved, and—as filmmaker Shannon Sun-Higginson shows in her new doc, GTFO—“it’s kind of astonishing and angrifying,” says Campbell. While the subject is global, Boston has an undeniably strong gaming base—after all, we’re the East Coast stronghold of gaming megafest PAX—and in GTFO, several local pundits weigh in.
April 25, 3 p.m., Somerville Theatre, 55 Davis Square, Somerville, 617-625-5700, feitheatres.com/somerville-theatre.
Steven Wright, Denis Leary, and Bobcat Goldthwait—these comedy headliners all got their start at the Ding Ho, thanks to comedian and talent booker Barry Crimmins. In his first feature-length documentary, Goldthwait turns the spotlight on Crimmins himself: “It’s a really loving tribute to his friend, and it’s so well-done—it takes on a depth that you might not be expecting,” says Campbell. As the saying goes, “Comedy is tragedy plus time,” and it’s very true here: Goldthwait shows how Crimmins, a childhood abuse survivor, has worked through his dark past to become the activist and political provocateur he is today. One of the centerpiece films of the IFFB, Campbell notes, “It’s a huge highlight for us, and we’re really proud to have it.” Both Goldthwait and Crimmins will appear in person for this screening.
April 25, 7 p.m., Somerville Theatre, 55 Davis Square, Somerville, 617-625-5700, feitheatres.com/somerville-theatre.
The Dorchester-born, Brookline-raised Maysles Brothers—lauded for pioneering a distinctive vérité documentary style seen in such influential works as Gimme Shelter and Grey Gardens—could very well be considered the patron saints of the IFFB. So it’s only fitting that this year’s fest is screening the final films of Albert Maysles, who died this March at age 88. In addition to In Transit—a snapshot of the different characters who ride the Empire Builder, the busiest long-distance train route in America—the IFFB is also debuting Iris, which profiles the 93-year-old fashion icon Iris Apfel. In the film, Apfel recalls once being told by famed department store founder Frieda Loehmann, “You’re not pretty, and you’ll never be pretty, but it doesn’t matter. You have something much better. You have style.”
April 25, 7:15 p.m., Somerville Theatre, 55 Davis Square, Somerville, 617-625-5700, feitheatres.com/somerville-theatre.
According to the Newtonian laws of fame, for every meteoric rise, there is a precipitous plummet. And so it went for ’90s alternative band Morphine, whose star imploded when frontman Mark Sandman died of a heart attack onstage during a show. The beloved Boston band’s legacy “resonates to this day with us in terms of their originality and innovation,” says Campbell. For this screening, the director and Morphine’s remaining members will appear in person. And Journey of Dreams will be in good company here, as music looms large in the doc-heavy lineup of this year’s IFFB: We’ve got films about the Residents (Theory of Obscurity), Elliott Smith (Heaven Adores You), and “the world’s first Japanese country music superstar” Tomi Fujiyama (Made in Japan). And then there’s I Am What I Play, which takes us back to a lost world of terrestrial radio and profiles legendary Boston DJ Charles Laquidera.
April 25, 7:15 p.m., Brattle Theatre, 40 Brattle St., Cambridge, 617-876-6838, brattlefilm.org.
“This is the story of my senior year in high school, and how it destroyed my life,” Greg Gaines (Thomas Mann) announces in the trailer for Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. In Harvard grad Jesse Andrews’s adaptation of his novel of the same name, awkward teen Greg and his childhood friend Earl (RJ Cyler) stalk the periphery of their school’s factional cliques as outsiders, preferring to make their own no-budget sweded films: They remake Midnight Cowboy as 2:48 p.m. Cowboy, Clockwork Orange as Sockwork Orange, and you’re just going to have to see what they do with Apocalypse Now. But Greg’s deepening, doomed friendship with his terminally ill friend, Rachel (Olivia Cooke), threatens his protective exoskeleton of unreality. After racking up all kinds of kudos at Sundance and garnering comparisons to Rushmore, Me and Earl should thrill fans of sweet-tart teen weepies.
April 29, 7:30 p.m., Coolidge Corner Theatre, 290 Harvard St., Brookline, 617-734-2501, coolidge.org.