Independent Film Festival Boston 2013: Documentary Overview

boston iffb logo2013After a particularly challenging week, some normalcy returns to the Hub city with the start of the Independent Film Festival Boston tomorrow, Wednesday, April 24. Running through next Tuesday, April 30, this year marks the eleventh edition of what has been called the city’s premier film event, and the largest film festival in the whole of New England.

genius of marianOf the nearly seventy features screening this year, it’s notable that substantially more than half are docs. Program Director Adam Roffman and his team’s selections reflect some standouts from recent high-profile fests in addition to other films that are making their debut here. Among the titles that I’ve seen out of Tribeca or SXSW but haven’t yet written about, and which are certainly worth a look: Banker White and Anna Fitch’s intimate and subdued look at Alzheimer’s, THE GENIUS OF MARIAN (pictured); Nicholas Wrathall’s condensation of a most provocative life, GORE VIDAL: THE UNITED STATES OF AMNESIA; Sean Dunne’s meditative exploration of addiction in a small town, OXYANA; and Christopher Smith and Merete Mueller’s personal experience of a different way of approaching space and living, TINY: A STORY ABOUT LIVING SMALL.

still_rewindLike the latter title, both Josh Johnson’s ode to VHS, REWIND THIS! (pictured); and Sini Anderson’s profile of Kathleen Hanna, THE PUNK SINGER, debuted at SXSW, but I sadly missed them both.

still_remoteIFFB is also screening a couple of titles that I was curious about out of Full Frame: Jane Gillooly’s reconstruction of a 1960s affair, SUITCASE OF LOVE AND SHAME; and Farihah Zaman and Jeff Reichert’s look at US healthcare through a pop up clinic, REMOTE AREA MEDICAL (pictured). I’m looking forward to catching up on the latter at Hot Docs next week, where I’ll also have a chance to see another Boston selection, Maja Borg’s journey into futurist Jacque Fresco’s world, FUTURE MY LOVE.

still_beautifulgameAmong the selections that have not crossed my path at other fests are Victor Buhler’s look at the importance of soccer in Africa, THE BEAUTIFUL GAME (pictured); and JT Haines, Tommy Haines, and Andrew Sherburne’s examination of the impact of the gold industry on Mayan villages, GOLD FEVER.

still_bestkeptFinally, among the world premieres at Boston this year are Samantha Buck’s profile of a teacher and her soon-to-be-graduating autistic high school students, BEST KEPT SECRET (pictured); and Nathaniel Hansen’s portrait of several seniors, THE ELDERS.


Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Overviews, Recommendations

2 responses to “Independent Film Festival Boston 2013: Documentary Overview

  1. Life goes one despite hardship, eh?
    I found it very interesting when you wrote: “Of the nearly seventy features screening this year, it’s notable that substantially more than half are docs.”
    I was hoping you might respond as to whether that a trend that you’ve noticed in film festivals in the States, vs. abroad, or just at this venue?

    • While I’m not able to keep up with the lineup stats of every fest, I’d guess that more typically, domestic or international, the breakdown seems to be 75% fiction, 25% nonfiction. For some fests, it inches closer to 50/50. To have more docs than fiction in a general (vs doc-specific) event seems unusual, but a welcome indication of the strength of docs and of the interest of programmers and their audience.

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