The 65th BFI London Film Festival

Film Festival Report By Andrew Arthur and Jordan Sellers, with Collum Smith

Correspondents Collum Smith, Andrew Arthur, and Jordan Sellers at the London Film Festival
Correspondents Collum Smith, Andrew Arthur, and Jordan Sellers at the London Film Festival

Introduction to BFI and LFF

Established in 1933, the British Film Institute is a charity seeking to develop the art of film in the UK, promoting the education and production of British Film and Television. Their annual film festival is the UK’s largest and most prestigious, and one that celebrates the work of filmmakers from all around the world.

Founded in 1957, this was the London Film Festival’s 65th year, and it is the focus of London’s autumn season to the delight of cinephiles and industry professionals alike.

It’s been a long time since anyone has had the chance to attend an event of this scale, and the LFF had a wonderful new venue in the Royal Festival Hall. With 2,500 seats and a stellar sound system, the festival Galas received the showcase they deserved.

Tricia Tuttle, Festival Director, introduced the star studded line-up. Highlight names this year included Benedict Cumberbatch, George Clooney, Edgar Wright, Jane Campion, Kirsten Dunst, Olivia Colman and many more.

The Films

Films are presented in strands including Galas, Love, Cult, Laugh, Thrill and Create.

There was an incredible amount to see over twelve days. Striking the right balance between the major titles and the gems waiting to be discovered is always difficult, but there’s never a shortage of great cinema.

Idris Elba, Regina King, LaKeith Stanfield, Jay-Z, Jeymes Samuel
Idris Elba, Regina King, LaKeith Stanfield, Jay-Z, Jeymes Samuel

Jeymes Samuel opened the festival with his stylish, star-studded debut THE HARDER THEY FALL, a Netflix original that exploded onto the screen with a riotous visual feast for the eyes and music that could only have come from the producer behind Baz Lurhmann’s THE GREAT GATSBY’s soundtrack.

Undoubtedly one of the most anticipated films of the festival was Pablo Larraín’s SPENCER, a haunting and spellbinding fable of three days in the life of Princess Diana. Kristen Stewart’s career defining performance showed incredible sincerity and heartache, conveying every iota of Diana’s spirit. Very much a sister film to Larraín’s JACKIE (2016), SPENCER is a strikingly lyrical work that should be a top awards contender later this year.

Other highlights included Edgar Wright’s eagerly anticipated psychological thriller, LAST NIGHT IN SOHO, a beautiful nightmare that delights in exposing viewers to the shadowy streets of 60’s Soho. With a clear reverence for this era, exploration of fascinating characters, and flourishes of Wright’s signature horror tropes, it should both appeal to a general audience and delight genre fans.

In the same vein, though fueled by a different kind of fire, was the Palme D’Or winning TITANE, a film that reinforces Julia Ducournau’s fierce sensibilities as a filmmaker after her debut in 2016 with RAW. The metallic, stomach-churning heart of this beast is a story of gender fluidity. Not for the faint of heart, TITANE was definitely one of the most talked about films at the festival this year.

A tradition of LFF is the Surprise Film, a fan-favourite event. This year’s was A24’s monochromatic drama C’MON, C’MON, directed by Mike Mills. At just twelve years old, Woody Norman gave one of the best performances of the year, going toe to toe with Joaquin Phoenix, who returns to the big screen for the first time after winning his Academy Award for JOKER in 2019. C’MON, C’MON is a stunningly tender exploration of the relationship between an uncle and his nephew. Don’t miss this one.

A gem of the festival which is sure to divide audiences is the follow up film from Host director Rob Savage. Working from a three page story treatment, Savage and his team created another ‘screen-life’ horror with DASHCAM. Shot on an iPhone and told from the perspective of a live-streaming internet personality who is sure to infuriate viewers, Savage’s latest film is wonderfully bonkers. Whilst not for everyone, it was inspiring to see this team double down on what made their first feature great and push the envelope further. DASHCAM is a furiously entertaining bloody romp. See it in cinemas with the most riotous audience you can find.

Closing out the festival this year was THE TRAGEDY OF MACBETH, a technical marvel that managed to bring something new to the table despite the list of adaptations that precede it. This was the first time Joel Coen has operated without his brother, and it’s a fascinating project to start with. Shot entirely on sound stages, the film blurs the line between theatre and cinema. Bruno Delbonnel’s cinematography is a star in its own right, and Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand’s performances as Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are every bit as wonderful as you’d expect.

The Parties

LFF featured a number of glamorous parties this year. The Opening Night Party took place in the majestic marble interiors of London’s Freemason’s Hall. American Express has been the official sponsor for the festival for over ten years and hosted several of the Galas and receptions over the course of the festival, including Netflix’s THE POWER OF THE DOG.

LAST NIGHT IN SOHO’s afterparty was held at the appropriately chosen Soho House whilst SPENCER’s Gala reception at Black’s was a notable highlight following the buzz that came from the screening, with attendees congratulating Kristen Stewart on her exceptional performance.

For those contributing to the BFI, the Patrons’ Gala afterparty was held at the lavish The Ned hotel, an elegant venue with a live band where the champagne and G&Ts flowed freely.

The Panels

Another highlight of the LFF are panels with filmmakers and other creators. This year, industry leaders came together to discuss topics ranging from XR to transitioning between writing for film, television and theatre. With the ongoing expansion of streaming services, conversations surrounding the future of the cinema as a viable medium for telling our stories was important. The number of Netflix productions being showcased at the festival was at an all time high, and demand for limited series and the ongoing competition for content was a hotly debated topic.

At a panel on virtual production, VFX Supervisor Angus Bickerton talked about the excitement surrounding this new, growing technology and spoke with TV Executive Producer Lisa Grey about the possibilities this generates for the industry and the way we tell stories.

Filmmaker Teas

Filmmaker teas gave press the opportunity to talk one-on-one with upcoming filmmakers whose work was showcased at the festival.

Rob Savage told us about the mindset he had when creating Host with his team. “Making films is like drawing comics, just more social,” Savage noted. The filmmaker made his first feature STRINGS on a budget of £3000 and recently signed a three-film deal with Blumhouse. The low budget pandemic-oriented HOST was shot entirely in the cast’s own homes during the height of lockdown. Savage says that the central question he asked himself was “What can your team do?” His response: “Make the most impressive film we can.” Savage’s latest work, DASHCAM started production only three months after the previous film’s release online.

Danny Strong discussed DOPESICK with us, a limited series releasing through Hulu over the coming weeks. The show examines America’s struggle with opioid addiction and boasts an impressive ensemble that includes Michael Keaton, Will Poulter, Peter Sarsgaard, Michael Stuhlbarg, Rosario Dawson and Kaitlyn Dever. Strong spoke about the desire to retain the truth at the heart of the story, only dramatising specific moments so as not to diminish the facts of the case. “If you’re showing someone doing something bad, it has to be true,” Strong pointed out. The show’s opening two episodes are also directed by one of Strong’s heroes and cinema legend, Barry Levinson. The two worked closely together alongside the Director of Photography and Production Designer to establish a look that would be consistent throughout the show. Danny is in the director’s chair for the final two episodes and serves as the Series Creator and Executive Producer.

ENCOUNTER director Michael Pearce talked about his new Amazon-backed science-fiction tale starring Riz Ahmed and Octavia Spencer. Pearce claimed ENCOUNTER is “more ambitious” than his previous film and is a “complex character study” inside of a genre film. On the topic of working with the now Oscar nominated Riz Ahmed, Pearce described him as being “very generous, very nurturing” and explains that “he understood the pathos of the character” and “is very well prepared”. When asked about his next project, Pearce described a “dark, brooding crime thriller” in the vein of a 90’s Fincher film and A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE.

Overall Experience

After a year of lockdowns, the feeling of being back in a large venue with enthusiastic audiences was unparalleled. The LFF goes from strength to strength, and the films this year were overwhelmingly good. Getting the chance to speak with many of world’s most passionate and promising filmmakers was really a treat, and the panels and talks were fascinating.

As BFI Chief Executive Ben Roberts put it: “We never really went away, but it still feels good to say ‘we’re back!’”

Read on

Martha’s Vineyard African-American Film Festival

Banner graphic for the Marthas Vineyard African American Film Festival
(from the Eventbrite Listing here)

“The Run&Shoot Filmworks Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival also known as”The Summer’s Finest Film Festival” is now entering its 20th year on Martha’s Vineyard. We have screened and promoted some of the most outstanding and emerging Feature, Documentary and Short films produced by and starring African Americans from across the world.”

Get tix on Eventbrite!

Read on

Woods Hole 2020 Virtual Edition July 25-August 1

29th Annual Woods Hole Film Festival Goes Virtual for the First Time

WOODS HOLE, MA—Due to Covid-19, the Woods Hole Film Festival (WHFF) made the ambitious decision to produce its 29th edition virtually from July 25-August 1, replicating the eight-day experience on the same days that the in-person event would have taken place. The virtual edition features nearly everything one would find in-person, including 42 feature length and 144 short films (divided into 21 shorts programs), live Q&A’s with filmmakers, workshops and master classes with the three Filmmakers-in-Residence, panel discussions, nightly live music, an awards ceremony, and even a Kids Day. Local restaurants are even offering special dinners.

The live Q&A’s with filmmakers, master classes, workshops, and panel discussions will be the only scheduled events with suggested “watch” times for the films that coincide with the live events. While the virtual option can’t replace the salt air and sandy beaches and the ability to regularly bump into filmmakers in person, audience members and filmmakers alike will be able to participate from anywhere in the world, there will be no need to wait in line, and in most cases, there won’t be any sold out screenings.

“We’re trying to create a virtual event that comes as close to the live setting as it can be—in feel, in style and in engagement,” said founder and executive director Judy Laster. “We still see the festival as a community event, but the definition of community will just be larger.”

The festival includes a mix of first-time and veteran filmmakers (many of whom have participated in the festival multiple times) with a focus on films and filmmakers with ties to New England and Cape Cod and the Islands—as well as films about science. There are 38 world premieres, 11 North American premieres, and 6 US premieres, with 52 films made by women and 42 made internationally—including one from Antarctica, a festival first.

Two of the six world premiere feature films also have connections to New England. In Paul Riccio’s feature directing debut Give or Take a disillusioned New Yorker (Bloodline’s Kevin Rayburn) goes home to Cape Cod after his father dies to prepare the house for sale, while sharing it with his father’s temperamental live-in boyfriend. Award-winning Boston Globe environmental reporter David Abel, whose documentary Lobster Wars screened last year, returns with Entangled, about the efforts to protect North Atlantic right whales from extinction and its impact on the US and Canadian lobster industry, and how the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has struggled to balance the two competing interests.

Other world premiere features include: Bradley Hasse’s Song for a Sloth, a drama about an emotionally distraught man trying to save the sloth sanctuary that his late father left him; Ben Rekhi’s The Reunited States, a profile of four Americans who take deeply personal journeys across the country in an effort to bridge political divisions; Karla Murthy’s Youngstown U.S.A, about a new generation of young visionaries who are looking to restore the social fabric of the once thriving Ohio steel town; and Colombian brothers David and Francisco Salazar’s Nowhere, their feature directing debut about a couple facing personal issues while trying to immigrate to the US.
Three films are notable for taking on political issues: Hillary Bachelder’s Represent, about three women in the Midwest who take on entrenched political systems in their fight to reshape local politics on their own terms; and David Garrett Byars’s Public Trust, an investigation into how public lands are facing unprecedented threats from extractive industries supported by politicians through three heated conflicts: a national monument in the Utah desert, a mine in the Boundary Waters and oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. In Adam Mervis’s feature directorial debut The Last Days of Capitalism, a drama about a wealthy man who meets a mysterious woman while holed up in a Las Vegas penthouse that is an inquiry into the true nature of power and those who seek it, as well as a look at the bounds of capitalism.

Click here for the Full Lineup

born into the gig
Born Into the Gig

Several festival alums are returning with their latest films. Two films are US premieres: Judith Helfand, whose acclaimed politics-of-disaster documentary COOKED: Survival by Zip Code screened at last year’s festival, will present Love and Stuff, her deeply personal documentary about dealing with boxes of her parents’ possessions while becoming a mother for the first time at age 50, just 7 months after helping her terminally ill mother die in hospice. WHFF co-founder (and Belmont, MA native) Kate Davis and husband David Heilbroner, who have screened many films at the festival and spend summers on Martha’s Vineyard, return with the US premiere of Born Into the Gig, their music-driven documentary feature that follows five singer-songwriters hoping to carve out their own musical identity in the shadow of their parents’ iconic greatness: Stephen Stills’s son Chris; Bob Marley’s grandson Skip; Bill Withers’s daughter Kori; James Taylor and Carly Simon’s children Ben and Sally. Other returning filmmakers include Jonathan Wysocki’s Dramarama, his feature debut about a closeted teen, who struggles to part ways with four of his high school drama friends during their final murder mystery party before college in 1994. Executive Producers Nion McEvoy and Leslie Berriman, (whose films such as California Typewriter, Chasing Coral, and Obit have played at the festival) return with The Bookmakers, James Kennard’s feature directing debut that profiles the people who are keeping books alive in the 21st century.

Being Dead
Being Dead

Two notable feature films include New England people and places. John Meyer’s drama Being Dead, stars Newton native Kathryn Erbe (Law & Order: Criminal Intent), in addition to British actor Linus Roach (Homeland) and Elizabeth Marvel (House of Cards, Homeland). Based on the award-winning novel by British author Jim Crace, it follows two zoologists as they try to rekindle their marriage by traveling back to the place where they fell in love—only to arrive at the point of their sudden deaths. Greater Boston native Charles Frank’s feature directing debut, Somewhere With No Bridges, looks at the life of a New England fishing community through the lens of a beloved, 44 year-old fisherman who went missing off the shores of Martha’s Vineyard 20 years ago.

Zoro's Solo
Zoro’s Solo

Forty-two feature films are by international filmmakers, representing all seven continents. In Kate Stryker’s documentary Baato a Himalayan family travels by foot every winter to sell their medicinal herbs at market, only to find their livelihood disrupted during the construction of a transnational highway to China through the road-less Himalayan valley. Martin Busker’s drama Zoro’s Solo tells the story of a 13-year-old refugee from Afghanistan living in an emergency shelter in Germany who, in order to save the life of his father who was left stranded in Hungary, joins a Christian boys’ choir. Kay Rubacek’s documentary Finding Courage recounts a former Chinese journalist, living in exile in the US, during her desperate efforts to reunite her broken family and find justice for the murder of her sister. In Bulgarian filmmaker Nikola Bozadzhiev’s Shibil a story about a father who uses his daughter as bait to capture an outlaw is told from the viewpoint of the incarnated soul of the main character’s horse. Making its US premiere is Sevgi Hirschhaeuser’s Toprak, about a simple family in rural Turkey dealing with poverty, family traditions and the religious heritage.

Current Sea
Current Sea

Nearly 20 feature length and short films fall under the auspices of the festival’s Bringing Science to the Screen program. Environmental thriller Current Sea follows investigative journalist Matt Blomberg and ocean activist Paul Ferber as they explore the illegal fishing trade in Cambodia and embark on a dangerous mission to intervene by creating a marine conservation area. In Mark Mannucci’s feature documentary Decoding Watson, the stature of acclaimed Nobel Prize-winning biologist James Watson, co-discoverer of the structure of DNA, is destroyed after he suggests that black people are innately less intelligent than whites. Given the chance to salvage his reputation during the making of the film, he chose to affirm his views, sparking a global response that reduced his importance as a scientific icon. Yonatan Nir and Dani Menkin’s acclaimed documentary Picture of His Life chronicles world-renowned wildlife photographer Amos Nachoum during his ultimate photographic dream: photographing a Polar Bear underwater, while swimming alongside it.

Island Queen
Island Queen

Four films coincidentally star Saturday Night Live cast members past and present, as well as other well-known actors. The previously mentioned Give or Take stars SNL’s Cheri Oteri. Matthew Bonifacio’s short drama Master Maggie, stars Lorraine Bracco as a celebrity acting coach whose schedule is interrupted by an unknown actor begging for her help for a TV audition and features appearances by current SNL cast member Kenan Thompson, as well as the late Brian Dennehy. Jenn Harris and Zachary Grady’s Massachusetts-shot short comedy Island Queen stars former SNL cast member and Lexington native Rachel Dratch and Modern Family’s Jesse Tyler Ferguson in a story about a teenage hockey player from an unnamed island who is secretly trying out for the figure skating team. Maya Albanese’s short Freeze stars SNL cast member and frequent Andy Samberg collaborator Chris Parnell, as well as Entourage’s Adrian Grenier. Based on the filmmaker’s own story, it follows a 35-year old woman who visits an offbeat fertility clinic to freeze her eggs after a series of romantic misadventures, only to discover that she is pregnant.

Two short documentaries with origins in Woods Hole are also making their world premieres. WHFF board member Hortense Gerardo’s The Opioid Epidemic: A Mother’s Reckoning, co-directed with Monica Cohen, examines the human toll of the opioid epidemic while attempting to destigmatize efforts to seek rehabilitation. Kyle Maddux-Lawrence’s Beyond the Gulf Stream follows a group of oceanographers, several of whom work at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, as they research the interaction between deep ocean waters and the coastal currents that affect our everyday lives.

Three festival alums will conduct master classes and participate in panel discussions as Filmmaker-in-Residence:

Director, writer and producer Laura Nix, whose Walk Run Cha-Cha was nominated for a 2020 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short Subject, will offer a masterclass on how to create a meaningful impact campaign, using examples from the one she developed for Inventing Tomorrow, her documentary feature about teenagers from around the globe tackling environmental issues through science (that screened at WHFF in 2018). She will also participate in panel discussions and conversations with filmmakers.

Animator Patrick Smith, whose latest animated short film Gun Shop was on the 2020 Oscars short list, will teach a master class on how to be a career animated short film filmmaker. Smith spent his formative years as a storyboard artist for Walt Disney and as animation director for MTV’s Daria and the Emmy-nominated Downtown, and has produced and directed over 15 independent award winning short films, as well as the PBS web-series Blank On Blank, the longest running and most viewed animated biographical series of all time.

Award-winning British producer, writer and director of documentary films John Edginton (Joe Cocker: Mad Dog With Soul), who also acts as a consulting producer on a wide range of documentaries at various stages of development and production, returns for his third Filmmaker-in-Residency. He will offer two master classes: When Documentary Visions Collide with Filmmaking Realities, which will address the challenges and pitfalls that can occur at every stage of the filmmaking process; and Doc Doctor Surgeries, twelve, thirty-minute private, confidential sessions individualized problem-solving sessions with filmmakers over the course of six days.

General Info

The festival is supported in part by grants from the Mass Cultural Council, Mass Festivals, Falmouth Fund of the Cape Cod Foundation in support of Bringing Science to the Screen, the Cape Cod 5 Cent Savings Bank Charitable Foundation, Martha’s Vineyard Savings Bank, the Woods Hole Foundation, and the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod.

All passes are available in advance and during the festival at VIP passes are $150 ($125 for festival members), which provide access to all the films and events on the virtual platform. Films Only passes are $120 ( $100 for festival members). Features Only and Shorts Only passes are $90 each ($80 each for festival members). Individual films, workshops, and panel tickets are available online starting July 25, and are $14 ($12 for festival members). For more information, call (508) 495-3456 or email

Read on

The Roxbury International Film Festival Commemorates Twenty Years of Independent Cinema Celebrating People of Color

June 20 – 30, 2018

Mandla (Oros Mampofu) works as a miner by
day, but is passionate about playing guitar and
dreams of making it big in the music industry.
Directed by Rea Rangaka. Photo by Patrick Toselli.

The Award-Winning LIYANA Opens #RoxFilm20 on Thursday, June 21 -Executive-produced by Thandie Newton
(HBO’s Westworld, MISSION IMPOSSIBLE II, and Crash)

A Boy. A Girl. A Dream: Love on Election Night Closes #RoxFilm20 on Sunday, June 30 at Fenway – The romantic drama premiered in the NEXT category at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival

LIYANA. directed by Aaron and Amanda Kopp. Photo courtesy of the Roxbury
International Film Festival,

The critically acclaimed film LIYANA, that’s part animated fable, part observational documentary, officially kicked off the 20th anniversary of the Roxbury International Film Festival on Thursday, June 21 at 7:00pm at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Sakheni Dlamini, the film’s producer and
a graduate of Simmons College, was in attendance for a post-screening Q&A.

Directed and produced by husband-and wife team, Aaron and Amanda Kopp, LIYANA tells the story of how five orphaned Swazi children turn their past trauma into creative fuel for an original collective
fairytale, in which they send a young girl on a dangerous quest to save the day. The film is beautifully illustrated by Nigerian born art director Shofela Coker, teacher and co-founder of Coker Co-op, a collective that creates comics, sculptures, and digital media, and was awarded the Grand Jury Award for Best Documentary at the LA Film Festival and the Jury Award for Artistic Bravery at the Durban International Film Festival in South Africa.

A photo from Chico Colvard’s BLACK
MEMORABILIA. Photo courtesy of BLACK

A BOY. A GIRL. A DREAM: LOVE ON ELECTION NIGHT closes out RoxFilm on Sunday, June 30 at 6:30 p.m. at State Street Pavilion at Fenway. The contemporary love story stars Omari Hardwick (Power on
Starz) and Meagan Good (Think Like a Man, Star, Code Black) who meet on the night of the 2016 presidential election, fall in love, and challenge one another to pursue their broken dreams. Directed by Qasim Basir, the film also stars Jay Ellis from HBO’s Insecure and was executive produced by Good and Hardwick. Tickets can be purchased at

Scene from LOVE JACKED. Photo courtesy of Inner City Films

Featured at this year’s RoxFilm is LOVE JACKED, a sophisticated small town romantic comedy centered around Maya, a headstrong 28-year-old with artistic ambitions and her father Ed, who wants a dutiful daughter to run the family store. Ed is shocked when Maya, asserting her independence, decides to travel to Africa for inspiration and returns with a fiancé who is not quite what he seems. The film stars Amber Stevens-West, Shamier Anderson, Keith David, Mike Epps, Demetrius Grosse, Lyriq Bent, Marla Gibbs, Angela Gibbs, and Nicole Lyn and is directed by Alfons Adetuyi.

Poster LIKE FINE SILK directed by
Sandra Manzanares and Ben Mankoff. Design by Cubby Golden.

The Roxbury International Film Festival (June 20-30) is a competitive festival that awards certificates in the categories of Audience Favorite, Narrative Film, Documentary Film, Narrative Short, Documentary Short, Youth, Emerging Filmmaker, with a special award named after award-winning filmmaker Henry Hampton.

Zoe Renee as Summer in Nilia Mu’min’s ZINN. Photo by Bruce Cole.

On Wednesday, June 20, RoxFilm and the Museum of Fine Arts presented a free “sunset cinema” screening of BLACK PANTHER in celebration of Juneteenth. The screening was held at 8:30 p.m., on the Huntington Avenue lawn (weather permitting), with live music, lawn games, and art-making activities beginning at 7:00 p.m.

For aspiring filmmakers and producers, the festival is hosting the free event, “From Martin to MIT: A Conversation with Topper Carew” on Sunday, June 24 (Location/Time: TBA).

The intimate film gathering Dinner and a Movie returned on Monday, June 25 at the Haley House Bakery Café with Reelblack founder Mike D. discussing his new project Black Film Now, as well as the importance of supporting African American films and their directors.

In celebration of its 30th anniversary, RoxFilm and Young Black Professionals bring a throwback screening of COMING TO AMERICA to Hibernian Hall on Tuesday, June 26 at 7:30 p.m.

Sponsored by Onyx Spectrum Technology, Massport, Boston Red Sox, SAG/AFTRA, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Leah S. Randolph of HALO Productions, Black Star Enterprises, and more. The Festival will also feature Q&A with filmmakers, events and filmmaker hangouts.

Under the direction of Lisa Simmons, the Roxbury International Film Festival (RoxFilm) supports media makers of color and others who have an interest in creating and developing new and diverse images of people of color in film, video and performing arts. The festival collaborates with many arts institutions and organizations whose mission it is to promote and support independent artists and contribute to the creative economy of the Commonwealth.

Tickets are on sale at

Visit: to purchase festival passes and for more information.

Read on

Our 2018 Summer Festival Edition

The rapture of the crowds who will be streaming into film festivals all over New England is captured in this superb photo of a sea of faces loving what they are seeing. Our cover shot is of a Nantucket Film Festival event at the ever famous ‘Sconset Casino on the westerly side of the Nantucket Island.

Our cover is meant to inspire and to remind you that you need to plan well as this is a big year for fi lm festivals in New England. New England has a summer of them, many of them previewed in this edition. I hope you enjoy our previews and hot picks. Each festival has a unique personality and special character. For a diff erent perspective, try out volunteering to work at a festival. Every festival needs genuinely interested volunteers.

Festivals work year around looking for the fi lms that will be just right for their character, finding those films that you may otherwise not have a chance to see. Often a festival will give you an opportunity to see films before they are released and that can be exciting. Many of New England’s film festivals have special guests you will want to meet and mingle with. Read about them here.
All our festivals are a good place to do just that.

So it’s time, badges are being picked up. Lights will be dimmed as cinematic stories of every genre unspool to delight all of us.

Our cover photo is courtesy of the Nantucket Film Festival. Our Cover Design is by IMAGINE Design Editor Monique Walton.

Read on

AIFF Call For Entries

When: October 26-29, 2017
Where: Capitol Theatre | 204 Mass Ave | Arlington MA

Indie filmmakers link:

High School Student filmmakers link:

Many exciting happenings…

Conversations with AIFF Series (2) May 31st at ACMi | 85 Park Ave | Arlington Hights | 02476

Poster Contest Competition & Awards: Old Schwamb Mill Museum

7th Annual Poster Contest | Press Announcement and Reception | Friday, April 28th, 7:00 PM
Old Schwamb Mill Museum
14 Mill Lane, Arlington MA

Exhibition of Posters – Live Music – Storytelling – Poetry Reading
Hors d’oeuvres & Beverages Served
Come and celebrated the 7th Edition of the AIFF Poster Contest

Read on

Cape Cod Festival of Arab & Middle Eastern Cinema Announces Full Schedule of Films for 2017

Cape Cod, MA — The Cape Cod Festival of Arab & Middle Eastern Cinema has released today its full four-day schedule of screenings and events to take place May 4 – 7, 2017. Tickets are now on sale and full information is available online at

The full schedule is listed below. Interviews, high-resolution images, and trailer links are available upon request.

The Cape Cod Festival of Arab & Middle Eastern Cinema was founded in 2012 by Rebecca M. Alvin, an independent filmmaker, teacher and writer who lives in Brewster, Mass. The biennial festival celebrates the cinema of the Arab World and the Middle East, focusing on works made by filmmakers of Arab and/or Middle Eastern descent living around the world, with the goal of sharing films most Americans are unable to access and fostering cross cultural understanding by accentuating the ability of the cinema to generate empathy and dialogue. The festival receives support from the Chatham Cultural Council, the Provincetown Cultural Council, and the Wellfleet Cultural Council.

Rebecca Alvin is an independent filmmaker and Associate Teaching Professor at The New School in New York City. She is also a writer and editor of Provincetown Magazine. The festival is one of several film programs she has offered to the Cape community under the umbrella of the Cape Cod Film Society program, which she founded in 2002. The Festival is produced with support from the Chatham Cultural Council, Provincetown Cultural Council, and Wellfleet Cultural Council. Additional sponsors and support, as well as volunteers, are still being sought for this year’s events.

For more information visit and to be included on the mailing list, please send email to


Thursday, May 4, 6 p.m.
Opening Night Film & Reception at the Chatham Orpheum Theater: Halal Love (and Sex) by Assad Fouladkar
Halal Love
The 2017 Cape Cod Festival of Arab & Middle Eastern Cinema kicks off wth Assad Fouladkar’s Halal Love (and Sex), a Lebanese comedy about regular everyday people working with their Muslim faith and their romantic entanglements, trying not to sacrifice either. The film will screen after a pre-screening reception featuring Middle Eastern hors d’oeuvres and cash bar.

Preceded by the U.S. short film E.A.S. by Kays Al-Atrakchi

Friday, May 5, 7 p.m.

Spotlight on Syria: Houses Without Doors by Avo Kaprealian at Wellfleet Preservation Hall
Houses Without Doors
This Syrian documentary portrays the changes in the life of an Armenian family on Aleppo’s frontline in Al Midan, an area that brought shelter to the persecuted Armenians 100 years ago and today to many displaced Syrians. From the balcony of his home, the director films with a small camera the changes in his neighborhood and his own family, interweaving his images with extracts from classical films to illustrate the parallels between the Armenian genocide and Syrians’ reality today.

Preceded by the Saudi/U.S. short film Daesh Girl by Abdul Almutairi

Saturday, May 6, 4 p.m.
Tribute to Iranian Filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami: Screening of Taste of Cherry with Introduction by Professor Jamsheed Akrami of William Paterson University at Wellfleet Preservation Hall
Taste of Cherry
Professor Jamsheed Akrami will introduce the late Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami’s “Taste of Cherry” and discuss the film afterward. Winner of the Palme d’Or at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival, Iranian auteur Abbas Kiarostami’s Taste of Cherry is an emotionally complex meditation on life and death. Middle-aged Mr. Badii (Homayoun Ershadi) drives through the hilly outskirts of Tehran—searching for someone to rescue or bury him. It will be shown preceded by a new Iranian short film dedicated to Kiarostami and followed by discussion with Professor Akrami.

Preceded by the Iranian short film dedicated to Kiarostami: Only Five Minutes by Mohammad Mohammadian

Saturday, May 6, 7 p.m.

Regional Premiere: Tickling Giants by Sara Taksler at Wellfleet Preservation Hall

In the midst of the Egyptian Arab Spring, Bassem Youssef makes a decision that’s every mother’s worst nightmare… He leaves his job as a heart surgeon to become a full—time comedian. Dubbed, “The Egyptian Jon Stewart”, Bassem creates the satirical show, Al Bernameg. The weekly program quickly becomes the most viewed television program in the Middle East, with 30 million viewers per episode. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart averaged two million viewers. In a country where free speech is not settled law, Bassem’s show becomes as controversial as it popular. He and his staff must endure physical threats, protests, and legal action, all because of jokes. Directed by a member of The Daily Show production team.

Preceded by the Iranian short film Light Sight by Seyed M. Tabatabaei

Sunday, May 7, 7 p.m.
Closing Night Selection: Yallah! Underground by Farid Eslam at WOMR Studios in Provincetown

The Festival closes with a screening of Farid Eslam’s “Yallah! Underground,” a documentary about Arab underground artists and musicians in four countries (Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, and Israel), including Zeid Hamdan, Shadi Zaqtan, and Maii Waleed Yassin, with an eye toward music and art as political and social comment in an area of the world that has recently been experiencing a major cultural and generational shift. The screening is co-sponsored by WOMR-FM (92.1FM) Outermost Community Radio.

Preceded by the Palestinian short film I Am Palestine by Kai Staats and Farid Kirreh

The Cape Cod Festival of Arab & Middle Eastern Cinema was produced by Rebecca Alvin’s Cape Cod Film Society, a project of the Provincetown Community Compact, a not for profit 501(c)3 organization. This program received support from the Chatham Local Cultural Council, Provincetown Local Cultural Council, and Wellfleet Local Cultural Council.

Read on


WHAT | 21st Annual Nantucket Film Festival

WHEN | June 22 – 27, 2016

MISSION | To promote the cultural awareness and appreciation of the art of screenwriting in the world of cinema.


ABOUT THE NANTUCKET FILM FESTIVAL | The Nantucket Film Festival was founded by brother and sister team Jill and Jonathan Burkhart in 1996 to promote the cultural awareness and appreciation of the fine art of screenwriting in the world of cinema. These days, NFF has become one of the premier destination film festivals in the world. Visitors come from all over to experience the preview screenings, unique signature programs, and stand out hospitality on a magical island rich with history, a friendly atmosphere, and beautiful sandy beaches. In addition to screening over 100 films across six days, NFF presents the Screenwriters Tribute, the All-Star Comedy Roundtable hosted by Ben Stiller, In Their Shoes… hosted by Chris Matthews, Late Night Storytelling, and our daily Morning Coffee With… series.

ACK FF [2016]

Read on