One of the best and most respected film festivals in New England, the Independent Film Festival of Boston (IFF Boston) recently announced its slate of upcoming films that will be shown between April 27-May 4, 2011. The festival will take place at theaters in and around the Boston area.
This year documentaries play a prominent role in the festival. Not only does the festival open for the first time with a documentary, it also closes with one. Being Elmo, which follows Kevin Clash‘s story of how he ended up working for his idol JIm Henson and the voice behind Sesame Street‘s Elmo, will kick off the festival at the Somerville Theatre, with the director, Constance Marks, Kevin Clash and Elmo being in attendance, while Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop, a documentary chronicling the talk show host’s year after being fired from “The Tonight Show” will close the week at the Coolidge Corner Theatre in O’Brien’s hometown of Brookline, MA.
Other prominent docs showing at throughout the festival are Man on Wire director James Marsh‘s new film Project Nim, the world premiere of Peter Sasowsky‘s Heaven + Earth + Joe Davis about MIT’s resident “free spirit” and the Sundance favorite Page One: A Year Inside the New York Times. Viewers can also catch Boston filmmaker Rudy Hypolite‘s film about Roxbury’s Madison High School basketball team and their coach in Push Madison vs. Madison and several musical documentaries including Who took the Bomp?: Le Tigre on Tour, Color Me Obsessed: a Film about the Replacements and Don Arogtt‘s Last Days Here.
Other films worth checking out at the festival are Michael Winterbottom‘s British comedy The Trip, starring Steve Coogan, Miranda July‘s latest feature, The Future, the co-world premiere of John Henry Summerour‘s southern gothic drama, Sahkanaga, and Larysa Kondracki‘s true-life drama The Whistleblower starring Rachel Weisz, Vanessa Redgrave, Monica Bellucci and David Strathairn.
Along with all of these films and more, there will be several free and open to the public panel discussions at the Somerville Theater and the Massachusetts College of Art. These include “Following the Band: Docs that Rock,” “Navigating the Film Festival Circuit” and “When Does a Story Becme a Film?: From Idea to Documentary.”
Although it may seem as though most New England film events happen in Massachusetts and Connecticut, this upcoming festival takes place in Maine and is one of the best for documentaries. The Camden International FIlm Festival (CIFF), running from September 30-October 3, specializes in international documentary films and takes place in Camden, Rockland and Rockport, Maine.
Started in 2005, CIFF was started with the intention of filling the void of a New England film festival dedicated solely to documentary filmmaking. Now in its sixth year, the festival hosts several New England, East Coast and National Premieres of many major international documentaries.
Documentaries to watch include the US premiere of David Wants to Fly, about what happens when a filmmaker gets to meet his idol, David Lynch, Family Affair which chronicles a man who revisits his family who’s lives were shattered when the man accidentally shoots his sister in the leg and the work in progress feature Heaven and Earth and Joe Davis about a peg-legged motorcycle mechanic who uses his imagination to explore science. For those who have yet to see it, New England festival favorite Do It Again, about a Boston Globe’s music critic’s quest to reunite the Kinks, will also be screening.
Along with the screening of the almost fifty features and shorts, CIFF also hosts discussions with directors and producers, the Points North Documentary Film Forum, musical concerts, interactive and video art installations, parties and panels.
Mainiacs should rejoice in CIFF’s “Made in Maine Showcase” featuring what else but docs all about Maine! Standouts include Bearwalker of the North Woods about a scientist studying the North American Black Bear and Millinocket, Rockland and Portland: A Snapshot of Life in Three Distinct Maine Communities, where the evolution of those Maine communities are explored.
One of the best features of CIFF is the Points North Documentary Film Forum. It gives New England documentary filmmakers the opportunity to meet key industry representatives through panels and intimate pitching sessions. Some of this year’s panels include “The View From the Top,” where festival programmers, funders and executives talk about their experience in documentary filmmaking and the future of the medium, “ITVS Breakout Session,” which gives producers advice on how to make their projects more competitive when applying to Independent Television Service, the single biggest funder of independent documentaries on television and a “Filmaker Pitching Session,” where six filmmakers get the chance to pitch their idea and receive critical feedback on their projects in development.
Some of the panelists for the Points North Film Forum include Richard Saiz, Senior Programming Manager for ITVS, Ryan Harrington, Director of Documentary Programs at the Tribeca Film Instute, Sam Anthony a producer at BBC and Andrea Meditch, the producer of Man on Wire, Encounters at the End of the World, and In the Shadow of the Moon.
Those interested in attending the festival can buy individual tickets for $8.50 at the screening venues before showtime. For the Points North Forum, which runs during the festival, tickets for each day of the forum are $15.
Don’t miss the last day of the festival and for more info on upcoming festivals, be sure to check out our film festivals page.
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