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! =)

No comments: