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.”
The film The Company Men, which stars popular names Ben Affleck, Tommy Lee Jones, Kevin Costner, and Mario Bello, will also feature an appearance by a resident of Massachusetts: Canton actress Cindy Lentol. Company Men, which was shot in Boston last summer and debuted at the Sundance Film Festival screenings at the Coolidge Corner Theater in January, hits theaters today. The movie tells of three businessmen who are dealing with the effects of corporate downsizing. Lentol plays Dana, a woman who hosts a dinner party where Jones’s character is one of her guests.
Lentol has lived in Canton, Mass. for 11 years since moving from Los Angeles, and has had no problem boosting her career as actress and model from New England. Though her name might not be as commonplace as some Hollywood stars, Lentol has been seen — and heard — over the last 20 years in various films and television shows. She appears in an October episode of the ABC medical drama “Body of Proof,” which was filmed in Rhode Island, and has been featured in films such as the 2001 film Prozac Nation and, more recently, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past starring Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Garner.
Lentol has also appeared in commercials for companies such as Ocean Spray, Dunkin Donuts, Subway, and Papa Gino’s. Recently she filmed an Applebee’s commercial in Connecticut with ESPN personality Chris Berman, which will air in November, as well as a commercial for Hunt’s Photo and Video, subject to air soon on WCVB-Channel 5. Her resume also includes voice-over work and modeling for print advertisements or billboards.
While she is still looking to land a role in a large project, Lentol feels she is in a good place — a good sign for all you Hollywood East readers looking to dive into an acting career!
View the trailer of the film Company Men below:
John Well’s directorial debut, The Company Men, which filmed in Boston last summer and debuted at the Sundance Film Festival screenings at the Coolidge Corner Theater in January, was recently purchased by the Weinstein Company and has set its sights on wide distribution this fall. The film, which co-stars Massachusetts natives Ben Affleck and Chris Cooper, follows the tale of a group of highly paid executives whose lives get turned upside down after massive company layoffs.
The film received decent, though not glorious reviews at Sundance, and its been rumored that the Weinstein Company has been involved with Wells in terms of re-editing the film so it will be more suitable for a wider audience in preparation of hitting movie screens nationwide. The movie should ring true to audiences still experiencing mass joblessness as the economy continues to struggle to recover from a recession.
From Living in Cinema:
According to the statement, the deal involves “a mid seven figure P&A commitment as well as a substantial theatrical release.” Considering the timing and the commitment and considering that it’s the The Weinstein Company, you can assume they’ll be making an Oscar push for this one.
Wells, who also wrote and produced the film, is rumored to have partially financed the project. The film also stars heavy-hitters Ben Affleck, Tommy Lee Jones, Kevin Costner, and Maria Bello. The film is now set to hit theaters across the country on October 22.
If you can’t decide what movie to catch this weekend, why not choose to support some local filmmakers? Playing this week only at the Brattle Theater, Daddy Longlegs, is a film crewed by mostly Boston University graduates.
Screened at both the Cannes Film Festival and Sundance Film Festival, Daddy Longlegs is about a busy, sidetracked and constantly late dad, played by Ronnie Bronstein, who every year spends a couple of weeks with his two young sons. After months of being sad and alone, he cherishes these moments with his kids, not capable of being a stern parent but only a lovable buddy, inventing myths and somehow living them, all while working overtime in the big city. In these two weeks, a trip upstate, visitors from strange lands, a mother, a girlfriend, “magic” blankets, and a complete lawlessness seem to take over their lives.
With a fluid style, directors Josh and Benny Safdie capture the magic of parenthood, invoking memories of their inventive dad from their own childhood. They describe Daddy Longlegs as a swan song to excuses, irresponsibility, fatherhood and self-created experience.
Although hailing from New York City, Josh and Benny Safdie have a history of shooting in and around the New England area. Their previously acclaimed feature film The Pleasure of Being Robbed was filmed near Fenway Park and in Connecticut.
The filmmakers will be in person Thursday night showing their first feature film, The Pleasure of Being Robbed along with a selection of their short films at the Brattle Theatre. Tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance on the Brattle Theater website.
Check out the Brattle Theater website for Daddy Longlegs tickets and screening information. For more information on Josh and Benny Safdie and their upcoming projects, check out their film collective, Red Bucket Films.
Thursday night’s sudden snow squall was nothing compared to the flurry of activity at the Coolidge Corner Theater in Brookline, as the Sundance Film Festival USA’s world premiere of The Company Men took place, starring Ben Affleck, Tommy Lee Jones, and Kevin Costner. Writer, producer, and now first-time director John Wells was in attendance, and sat down with Hollywood East Connection before introducing the locally shot film to a packed theater.
Wells, whose previous projects include writing and producing long-lasting, hit television shows like “ER”, “The West Wing”, and “Third Watch”, stacked his deck well with his directorial debut. Aside from the A-list cast, the humble 6-time primetime Emmy winner spent years researching and writing The Company Men, despite the fact that its relevancy is practically ripped from today’s newspaper headlines. Though the cast features 3 Oscar winners (Affleck, Costner, and Chris Cooper), Wells maintains he did not write the roles for these specific actors, though they were all his first choices.
“Luckily, they were all anxious to do something about what’s going on. For artists, its gratifying to do something that you can see as relevant.” he told the audience in a question and answer session that followed the film.
Though he originally began writing the film during the .com bust several years ago, and even shopped it around production studios, it was deemed not relevant enough at the time, and it got kicked around in the years that followed, before Wells incorporated new material derived from interviews he conducted since the economy crashed a year and a half ago.
“I wanted to bring a dignity to it without being sensationalist or disrespectful to the experience” he said. “I talked to many people who were having a rough time but maintained that it was a tragedy with a small ‘t’.”
Still, the havoc that the economic crises has wreaked on the people who lost their jobs as a result left an impression on Wells.
“There was this leper colony sort of mentality amongst the people that were laid off. A sense of shame, but an individual shame, because they felt like they had lost their chance at the ‘American Dream’” Wells said.
When asked why he chose Boston as the city where he filmed his movie, Wells confessed he originally wrote the script to be set in Philadelphia, only to find that the “City of Brotherly Love” could not provide all of the settings necessary for scenes featuring abandoned manufacturing buildings.
Wells said of Boston “The city is beautiful, and everyone we encountered here was very cooperative. The tax incentives were helpful, as we were looking at cities where they were offered in order to make our budget. We also found great cast and crew from the area. There’s also a lot of great restaurants here–I ate a lot!”
In fact, The Company Men special effects team featured the talents of Jay Stone, and first-time local actor Anthony O’Leary, who we’ll be featuring here in an exclusive interview. For more from the multi-talented director John Wells, look for our upcoming video interview this week, only on Hollywood East Connection!
With the New Year ahead of us, many will be looking for those fresh films that might be a little under the radar for most moviegoers. Shot in the Boston area this past spring, The Company Men has already created quite a buzz within the New England film industry, and continues to bring attention to the region with its upcoming premiere at the Coolidge Corner Theater in Brookline, MA.
Directed by John Wells, The Company Men is about the effects of a major company’s corporate downsizing on three men and those in their lives over the course of a year. The movie stars current Massachusetts resident Chris Cooper, Harvard grad Tommy Lee Jones, Kevin Costner, Maria Bello, Rosemarie DeWitt, and Cambridge’s own Ben Affleck.
After screening at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah, The Company Men was chosen to be one of eight movies to officially premiere around the country as a part of Sundance Film Festival USA. With the other feature films appearing that same night in places such as Brooklyn, San Francisco, and Chicago, Bostonians should be thrilled that their city will play host to its own red carpet.
The Company Men is set to have its world premiere January 28th at 7 p.m. at the Coolidge Corner Theater. Tickets for the event are available for purchase online and at the theater’s box office on January 4th. This is surely an event that New England film enthusiasts won’t want to miss.
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