Friday, April 29, 2011

IFFBoston 2011: weekend plan of a plan...

My IFFB plan of attack for this evening...

GREEN @Somerville

SUBMARINE @Somerville


I originally had THE TRIP, the UK restaurant reviewer road trip comedy, as my first movie of the evening, but I'm betting that that arrives at the Kendall soon enough, so I'm gonna give the indie flick from a new director some love instead and see GREEN.

That 9:30 slot has been a tough one to call. I've been flip-flopping on it in my head repeatedly for the past week. SUBMARINE has been a festival darling and really does give off a promising twisted RUSHMORE vibe. The theater-hopping (Brattle to Somerville) x timing (17 minutes if everything runs on time, and nothing does, plus Q&A) logistics are tricky, but I'm right this minute planning on...

TROLL HUNTER! For several reasons. First, TROLLS! Second, the opportunity to see it with a good crowd in a theater. Third, the filmmakers will be present for Q&A. And fourth, TROLLS!

CATACLYSM, well, it looks deep fried and heavy on the inappropriate (I couldn't find a trailer for it online so check out the IFFB write-up). What's not to like there? =)

Here's what the festival planners are pushing today at the Somerville and Brattle theaters.

Looking ahead to the weekend (movies in parens are maybes)...


(SHORTS 5: DOCS 2 @Somerville)

SHORTS 1: NARRATIVES 1 @Somerville



BELLFLOWER @Somerville

STAKE LAND @Somerville




LITTLEROCK @Somerville

13 ASSASSINS @Brattle

If you're at all interested in checking out a film, you should give the schedule a look and not depend solely on my wonky tastes. Get your ticket/s and get in touch if you wanna meet up for a flick or compare notes between flicks. Also, feel free to talk me into something I haven't got listed above! =)

If you make it to a movie in Davis over the weekend you can mixx in visits to Somerville open studios...

And if you hit the Brattle on Sunday you can take a break between movies at the Mayfair in Harvard Square!

Keep on keepin on~

Thursday, April 28, 2011


Here's the first of three videos of Kevin and Elmo during the post-screening Q&A. In this, Kevin asks all the kids in the audience to come to the stage to meet Elmo. =)

IFFB 2011: BEING ELMO Q&A (part 1) from cabin boy on Vimeo.

After the receiving line, Elmo retreated into The Bag while the adults took questions. A while later, Elmo returned to field questions as well. The remaining two videos cover that part of the evening. Please excuse the shakey-cam and up-and-down audio (mic'd on the stage, Elmo comes thru fine, tho).

Keep on keepin on~

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

IFFBoston 2011 opening night: BEING ELMO: A PUPPETEER'S JOURNEY

IFFB | site | clip
Some quick rambling before the afterglow fades...

Just an amazing, heartwarming film about a most remarkable, kind, and talented person and the way his passion and creations have touched millions. The documentary tells the story of Kevin Clash, the man who would be Elmo. As a childhood fan of Captain Kangaroo and Sesame Street, Kevin began fabricating puppet characters of his own, then staged his own puppet shows in the back yard to entertain neighborhood kids, and, once discovered by a local children's television program, began a professional career as a teenaged puppeteer. His passion would ultimately lead him to become part of the shows he loved as a child, allowing him to learn from and work with his creative idols, including Jim Henson, Frank Oz, and Kermit Love.

His path into the working world of a puppeteer, in public and primetime television as well as film, provides a very interesting window into the craft of puppetry as well as the steadily growing and changing constellation of puppeteer stars, visionaries, and teachers.

The post-show Q&A, featuring filmmakers and *both* subjects—Kevin Clash and Elmo—was a wonderful bonus round! Kevin and Elmo entertained while fielding questions and requests—Dance! Hug! Do Barry White!—and director Constance Marks gave the room an unofficial best audience award. Y'know, I'd typically be skeptical of that sort of talk except for the massive collective gasp that arose mid-film when Clash begins to discuss his being invited to work on Jim Henson's DARK CRYSTAL. Ayep. IFFBoston: moviegoers, filmlovers, nerds, and tonight, some puppeteers. That's how we roll.

I got a little bit sad then that I couldn't work the Brattle's CRYSTAL screening in a couple weeks back. I *did* get to see the LABYRINTH half of that double feature, which Clash worked on, altho I didn't know it at the time.

I *love* that some of the footage in the documentary was lifted from an episode of BIG BLUE MARBLE. I usedta love that show, on in the wee pajama'd hours of Saturday morning... along with VEGETABLE SOUP! Also figuring prominently is GREAT SPACE COASTER, which is cool I guess, but in all honesty, I'm really more of a NEW ZOO REVUE kinda guy.

During Q&A someone asked about where the film will go from here and the director said that she couldn't say for certain but the film should be getting distribution via theaters and television as well as DVD. She also referred to the changing landscape of copyright (I think that's what she said?) as being some kind of hurdle. She hopes that they'll be able to make a big announcement in the next two weeks via their website, tho ( I hope it plays in theaters, cuz this film is a joy to experience with an audience. And you don't have to be familiar with or a fan of the man's red-haired monstrous work. It's Kevin Clash's story, not Elmo's, that's so inspiring. SEE IT! =)

A couple of snaps from the Q&A...

Director Constance Marks and puppeteer extraordinaire Kevin Clash.

Constance and Kevin are joined by the big E.

Keep on keepin on~

IFFBoston 2011: trailers!

Collecting links to online trailers I've found for IFFB films, listed alphabetically by film title, no accounting for doc vs. narrative.

vimeo | youTube

A narrative feature that follows, several years after a tragic DUI collision, the lives of the driver and the victims and families affected by the deadly outcome.




"CRIME AFTER CRIME is the exclusive documentary film on the legal battle to free Debbie Peagler, a woman imprisoned for over a quarter century due to her connection to the murder of the man who abused her. She finds her only hope for freedom when two rookie attorneys with no background in criminal law step forward to take her case."



vimeo | site

vimeo | youTube | site


trailerAddict(clip) | SIKUMI (an earlier version of this film?)


A Georgia teen stumbles onto a dead body in the woods, the discovery of which could potentially destroy his chances with a girl, his family's business, and most of his home town. Good times! Based on actual events.


A long lost brother returns home from exile without warning. Welcomed back by his family, he refuses to reveal anything of his time away, and instead disappears into their barn to produce obscene pieces of art or trolls the neighborhood in search of random pick-up challenges on which to wager and support his work. When another figure from the past appears, secrets can stay hidden no more.

A documentary telling the story of teens that have been banished or escaped their fundamentalist LDS polygamist community in Colorado City, AZ, their cultural isolation, their challenges with assimilation, and the loss and memories of the families they had to leave behind.

"A comedy following a 15-year-old boy named Oliver Tate (Craig Roberts) who has two objectives: To lose his virginity before his next birthday, and to stop his mother from leaving his father for her dance teacher."



Keep on keepin on~

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

IFFBoston 2011: GO!

Greetings, programs!

The 2011 IFFB begins tomorrow night with documentary film BEING ELMO: A PUPPETEER'S JOURNEY, playing at 7:30pm at the Somerville Theatre in Davis Square. Director and subject(s!) will be in attendance! (From the IFFB blurb: Please keep in mind that this film is a documentary. It is intended for ages 8 and up and is not appropriate for very young children. Everyone regardless of age must have a ticket or pass to attend.)

Many filmmakers will be attending and hosting post-screening Q&As. Also check the schedule for filmmakers participating in free-to-the-public filmMAKING panels, including "Following the Band: Docs that Rock." Check out the selection of fest films and schedule at the IFFB site. Get the latest on ticket availability and filmmaker appearances at the IFFB's FBleah page.

IFFB films will run for a week, on screens at the Somerville, Brattle, and Stuart Street theaters, until next Wednesday's closing night film —CONAN O'BRIEN CAN'T STOP, which documents Conan's post-NBC-debacle comedy/variety road show— playing at the Coolidge Corner Theater in O'Brien's hometown of Brookline!

This is the ninth year of the festival and if you check out the films, it does look like a year of the documentary, both short and long form. Here are a few docs on my radar from the first few days...

On Thursday night is THE BENGALI DETECTIVE, which follows a team of detectives on the job in India, uncovering all manner of sordid and shady dealings. Nothing all that unusual for your typical investigators, right? Well, this team also happens to be a competitive dance team!

On Friday and Saturday, HEAVEN + EARTH + JOE DAVIS introduces us to local/MIT luminary and eccentric "free spirit" (apparently an official appointment) Joe Davis. The film follows him around the world and along the way, "Davis digs through trash, teaches us about deep-sea fishing, accosts strangers in a made-up language, slathers a naked woman with honey and gold dust in order to test whether light waves can transmit sound, and tries to send bacteria into outer space." (from IFFB blurb).

Perhaps a little heavy for your Saturday afternoon, HOW TO DIE IN OREGON visits with several terminally ill Oregonians and their families, friends, and caregivers, residents of a state in which physician-assisted suicide has been legal since 1997. The film puts a faces and voices to this controversial process and choice, an abstract ethical and legal issue for most.

Short film "Poster Girl" screens as part of the "Docs 2" short film package on Saturday afternoon and Monday evening. "Former cheerleader and Army magazine cover subject Robynn Murray deals with the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder following her return from Iraq in this 2011 Oscar-nominated short."

Don't worry, tho, the IFFB is still dealing out some amazing feature and short narrative films, too. I'm planning to hit these in the first couple days...

Friday evening, THE TRIP, starring Brit comic thespians Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, follows these two competitive colleagues as they share meals while they travel northern England reviewing fancy restaurants. FYI, the blurb describes it as a companion piece to the 2005 comedy TRISTRAM SHANDY (which I haven't seen), by the same stars and director, Michael Winterbottom.

Also Friday night are THE TROLL HUNTER and SUBMARINE, screening head-to-head, unfortunately. I think I'm committing to SUBMARINE, tho, a quirky coming-of-age film about a slightly twisted outsider of a 15-yo boy who plans to seduce a classmate, lose his virginity before his next birthday, and save his parents' marriage. Wacky dark fun ensues, of course. I'm feeling a RUSHMORE meets SQUID AND THE WHALE here...

TROLL HUNTER, well, the title pretty much says it all. It's set up as a Norwegian BLAIR WITCH PROJECT only the film students set out on the trail of a bear poacher, and well, the title pretty much says it all. Damn, I really want to see this... In the end, I may hafta flip a coin Friday night to decide where I end up. A good blerg, but still, blerg.

There's a lot more to see beyond what I've listed above, and I'm still working on my basic plan of attack, so get in touch if you're interested in meeting up to checking out a film or three in the festival. I encourage you to go see any and all films at the fest if you've got the time. Tickets are available online and at venue box offices. I highly recommend getting them in advance, thru either channel. Rush tickets are available at every showtime as well. Rushing a screening means you get in line, probably a half hour before showtime, at the venue for a pool of tickets that are held back for last-minute sale. More on festival ticketing.

Again, check out the IFFB site for more listings and details!

Keep on keepin on~

p.s. I can personally vouch for the greatness of two fest films I've already seen at the Toronto International Film Festival...

MAKE BELIEVE, documentary about teenage magicians-in-training from around the world who meet up in competition. Plays Sunday afternoon and Monday evening. The kids are amazing. =)

STAKE LAND, a kickass post-vampocalyptic western road movie. Plays midnight Saturday. It's on my itinerary! =)

p.p.s. When you're waiting in line to get in, expect to get receive the snack-sized bags of UTZ chips you can stand! =)