The 28th Boston Film Festival is kicking off this week and will debut seven film world premieres at the newly renovated and modernized Theatre 1 inside the Stuart Street Playhouse at the Revere Hotel Boston Common September 20-24.
Opening night of the festival features the film Head Games, an educational and explosive film delving into the controversy surrounding head injuries among athletes and the tragic ends that often result. Director Steve James of Hoop Dreams fame chronicles Harvard University football player and former WWE wrestler Chris Nowinski’s quest to uncover the truth about the consequences of sports related head injuries. Following the premiere, a panel discussion will include appearances by: James, Nowinski, Dr. Ann McKee, NFL star of the Seattle Seahawks and St. Louis Rams Isaiah Kacyvenski, New York Times writer Schwarz, Penn State athletic trainer Eric Laudano, and Dr. Robert Stern. There will also be a question and answer session with the director and actors following each of the film screenings.
The closing night program will feature world premieres by two local filmmakers. Myles Jewel is the director of Stranglehold: In the Shadow of the Boston Strangler, which features Chris Evans as the narrator. The documentary takes place in the 60s when Jewell’s grandfather, Phil DiNatale, worked as an investigator on the case of the Boston Strangler. Despite DiNatale’s tireless investigative efforts, the case was never officially solved after getting caught in a political firestorm. Fifty years later, Jewell’s film reveals never-before-seen details about the investigation he discovers when he explores his grandfather’s archives. Court Crandall, another Massachusetts filmmaker, debuts his documentary film as the final film of closing night. Free Throw tackles the challenging issue of the cost of a college education, by following eight students at Compton High School near Los Angeles as they participate in a shooting contest for a $40,000 scholarship.
Along with the excitement of the premieres of these evocative films, many important players in the movie industry will be in attendance. A number of familiar faces will be attending the festival including: Boston-born actor Chris Evans, Cary Elwes, James McCaffrey, Chris Riggi, John Faughnan, and Agnes Bruckner.
Tickets for the various screenings went on sale via TicketLeap on the Boston Film Festival website on Sept. 6, and will also be sold at the theater door, when available. Film buffs interested in all access VIP passes should contact the Boston Film Festival at 617-523-8388 for more information on how to purchase one.
And so, another year has passed in Hollywood East, and with it, a ton of projects, developments, and other news items that captured our interest throughout 2011. Let’s take a look back at what made headlines in Hollywood East over the past year.
A bevy of big budget productions pranced their way through the Bay State, bringing with it a steady stream of big name stars. I Don’t Know How She Does It brought Sarah Jessica Parker, Christina Hendricks, and “Cheers” alum, Kelsey Grammar. Ted brought Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, and Seth MacFarlane. Here Comes the Boom brought Kevin James, Salma Hayek, and Henry Winkler. I Hate You Dad brought Adam Sandler, Adam Samberg, and Leighton Meester. And finally, R.I.P.D. brought Ryan Reynolds, Kevin Bacon, and Kurt Russell.
We were excited to see all the films that debuted this year that filmed in Boston in whole or in part in the past year or two. Films like The Zookeeper, Moneyball, I Don’t Know How She Does It, and What’s Your Number showed movie-goers across the country why the Bay State makes such a beautiful backdrop for major motion pictures.
There were also updates on the state of the MA film tax credits, with some changes taking place. The Office of Travel and Tourism took over the responsibilities previously looked after by the Massachusetts Film Office, with Lisa Strout taking over for Nick Paleologos.
In more disappointing news, it seems the Plymouth Rock Studios project has been put on permanent hold.
Culled from our own backyard, we spoke to local stars of film, TV, and music. Brighton-based band Gentlemen Hall made us lend an ear and a cheer as we watched these talented youngsters make their live national television debut on the Billboard Music Awards.
We were lucky enough to get invited to a sneak peak of the Footloose remake, and got to talk to home-grown star, Kenny Wormald on how he brought a little bit of Boston to the new version of this 80s cult classic.
Reality TV continues to make headlines year after year. In 2011, we watched with excitement the adventures the infamous “Deathwish Movers” went through each week, and cheered on local stars on “Top Chef: Desserts”, “Chopped”, and the “Expedition Impossible” who did New England proud. The genre even inspired the hilarious web-series, “Real Housewives of South Boston”, which we sincerely hope to see more of in 2012!
The culinary world even captured our attention, with it’s Hollywood East Connections. Our favorite homeboy, Mark Wahlberg, surprised us all by venturing into the culinary world, opening the aptly named Wahlburgers in Hingham. “Hell’s Kitchen” star, Jason Santos, opened Blue Inc., and “Top Chef; All Stars” contestant, Tiffany Faison, opened the ever so cutely named BBQ spot, Sweet Cheeks.
These are just a few of the fabulous and fascinating stories that kept us connected in Hollywood East this year. Here’s hoping 2012 brings with it more excitement in TV, movies, and music across the New England states!
Fall is fast arriving, and with its annual arrival also brings one of the most exciting film festivals in Beantown, the Boston Film Festival. Now in its 27th year, this year’s line-up promises a great selection of movies and special appearances, as 6 world premieres will be taking place at the festival.
Mike O’Malley, a Boston native who is currently in town filming R.I.P.D. with Ryan Reynolds will be attending the festival on opening night for the premiere of a film he wrote called Certainty, which is directed by Peter Askin and starring Giancarlo Esposito, Tom Lipinski, Bobby Moynihan and Kristen Connolly, who also will all be attending. Triple threat director/actor/writer Eric Schaeffer’s After Fall, Winter will also have its debut on opening night.
Another Boston native, Maria Menounos, will introduce audiences to a preview of a new film she produced entitled Serial Buddies. Academy Award winning Director Alex Gibney will be screening Catching Hell about sports scapegoats, featuring BoSox favorite, Bill Buckner.
Among the special events throughout the festival, Boston Filmmakers Night will include the premiere of Give Me A Shot of Anything: House Calls To the Homeless, which follows the story of Boston street doctor Jim O’Connell.
Wednesday night’s College Night will feature a special screening of Fort McCoy based on a true story starring Eric Stoltz, Andy Hirsch, and former “The Practice” star, Camryn Manheim. Director Kate Connor will conduct a Q&A with Hirsch following the screening. That same evening, the world premiere of Trouble with the Truth, starring Lea Thompson and John Shea, will be followed by Q&A with the stars.
On Saturday, a panel discussion will take place with actor/writer/director Sam Jaeger, Keith Dorrington, Oscar nominated writer/producer of The Fighter; and Eric Schaeffer. Brittany Snow and Christian Serratos, will be at the screening of 96 Minutes on Saturday, along with Sam Jaeger’s movie Take Me Home.
The festival kicks off on Friday, September 16, and lasts through the 22nd. Screenings will take place at the The Stuart Street Playhouse, and a full schedule of events can be found on their website.
With the kickoff of Sundance, there begins another year of film festivals. While festival season doesn’t really pick up until late spring, there are plenty of entry deadlines that will approach before you know it. For your own sanity and wallet, it’s always better to submit earlier than later, so here are some competitions with upcoming deadlines to look out for.
First up: The Boston Cinema Census, an annual showcase at the famous Brattle Theatre of the most interesting and innovative works produced by local emerging filmmakers. To qualify, films must have been shot wholly or partially in New England, or have New England residents on its crew. Corporate, industrial films or PSAs do not qualify. The winner gets their film shown at the Brattle Theatre, so although there is no monetary compensation, unlike the other competitions listed, there is no entry fee. The deadline to submit through Withoutabox is February 15, 2011, so hurry!
Although the early deadline for the Rhode Island International Film Festival has passed, the regular deadline is still far ahead. RIIFF, which we have had the pleasure of attending, is one of the few film festivals in the world where winning short films can qualify for the Academy Award. If you think your short has what it takes to qualify for an Oscar or just needs to be seen in New England, make sure to submit by May 15 through Withoutabox to get the cheaper pricing options for submission.
For all of you screenwriters, The Maine Studio’s second annual Scriptsation call for entries began on January 16 and will take digital copies of your teleplay, feature or short film script. The winner of Best Overall Script will receive $500 and a consultation for production by The Maine Studios. Make sure to submit through their site by May 31 for the entry fee of $30.
The annual Boston Film Festival, known for attracting star filmmakers, has also started accepting entries for their fall festival. Submissions can be done through Withoutabox by June 11 or an application is available on their website.
Alternatively, for those interested in having some prestige to posting your film online rather than being shown in a theater or facing the financial burdens of entry fees, The Quarterlife Quarterly, a new online publication, is now taking submissions. The Quarterlife Quarterly will also accept fiction and nonfiction writing, music, photo essays and other projects of artistic merit, so if you have other side projects besides your films, it provides a perfect opportunity to showcase your other talents. Submissions are due by February 22 and can be sent to [email protected]
One more suggestion to those who make shorts on a more international scale, the 8th “Concours de Courts” is accepting short films under 22 minutes. Other entry requirements for this fun French film festival dedicated to shorts are that films must either be silent or have french subtitles (it being a French festival and all…). It does not cost anything to enter on their site, as long as short films are postmarked by Valentine’s Day, February 14th; so you still have time to hit that Google Translate button and take advantage of having an international audience see your creation!
Don’t forget that there are plenty of other festivals and competitions out there that are seeking submissions. If you would like a complete list of all 54 festivals within New England, make sure to check out our Film Festivals page and keep an eye out on each festival’s homepage for submission deadlines.
The 26th Annual Boston Film Festival is going on from September 17th-23rd at the Stuart Street Playhouse. The main categories shown this week are Features, Documentaries, Shorts and Animation. Two films had their world premiere last night: To Be Friends, produced by Jim and Aaron Eckhart, and locally-filmed Locked In, starring Ben Barns and directed by Suri Krishnamma. Closing night will feature a sneak peak at Iron Cross, starring the late Roy Schneider, which follows a retired New York police officer and Holocaust survivor.
The Stuart Street Playhouse is a new addition to the culturally rich theater district of Boston. As Boston’s newest indie theater, the playhouse seats 425 and features a 30-foot Super-Glo screen. Visit here for a complete list of the 24 films playing this week.
Several actors are slated to be in attendance, including Aaron Eckhart, Todd Stashwick, Joelle Carter, Sara Roemer, Leslie Bibb, Ed Burns, Kyle Gallner, Wade Williams, Stephanie Lemelin and Sam Rockwell. Ryan Merriman, who has had a recurring role on the ABC hit “Pretty Little Liars”, is also said to be attending.
Best Film, Best Documentary, Best Short, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Young Actor, Best Young Actress are just a few of the award that will be given at the end of the festival. Tickets are still available online, each film is $10 and ticket packages are also available.
On Friday, September 17th, the 26th Boston Film Festival will kick off at the Stuart Street Playhouse, with 6 world premieres and 24 other films for movie fans and the press to enjoy.
On opening night, two world premieres will be happening. The film To Be Friends starring Todd Stashwick and Joelle Carter will be showing. Writer/director Jim Eckhart, and his brother, Aaron Eckhart, the executive producer of the picture will both be in attendance. The locally-shot psychological thriller Locked In, will also be shown. The
movie stars Ben Barnes, Sara Roemer, and Watertown’s Eliza Dushku. Roemer and Dushku will also be in attendance that evening for the screening.
During the opening weekend of the festival, there will be a 35th anniversary screening of Steven Spielberg’s legendary film Jaws, which was shot on Martha’s Vineyard.
That Saturday and Sunday will also feature a shorts program of a variety of short form films. Other genres of film that will be featured include a documentaries and animated features.
Other famous faces that have promised to be in attendance include Ed Burns, Sam Rockwell, and Wade Williams. The Boston Film festival provides audiences with the opportunity to participate in question and answer sessions with actors and directors following the screening of their films.
During the closing night film and special events, Ernie and The Automatics will perform along with a special appearance by James Montgomery.
Tickets for all movie screenings are available for purchase at the theater’s box office or online via TicketLeap on the Boston Film Festival web site. The festival will run until the 23rd.
The 25th annual Boston Film Festival wrapped up at the Kendall Square Theaters on September 24th after one of its most successful cinematic celebrations to date. The festival kicked off on September 18th by honoring Boston born and Amherst raised Uma Thurman with their film excellence award at their opening night celebration. The evening’s exclusive awards presentation at the ultra-chic Stella Restaurant in SoWa, was preceded by the east coast premiere of Thurman’s new film, Motherhood, which costars Minnie Driver and Anthony Edwards (“ER”). The film follows the story of a Manhattan mother attempting to pull off a successful birthday party for her 6-year-old.
Other awards given out that evening included Best Film, Best Director, and a “Mass Impact Award”, which recognizes a filmmaker whose project benefits humanity by shedding light on a critical social issue. Among the other films being debuted at this year’s festival are a variety of shorts and documentaries, including the New England premiere of Between Floors, the east coast premiere of American Colonies: Collapse of the Bees, and the world premiere of To Comfort You. In total, 8 world premieres, 26 feature films, and 22 short films were featured. In addition to Thurman, a number of other high profile actors were scheduled to make appearances, including Olympia Dukakis (who was born in Lowell, MA), Aidan Quinn, Andrea Powell, and Campbell Scott.
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