Late April to early May is the time of year when I tend to fall into a brief but intense depressive state with little warning and seemingly without provocation. But if you know me, and you know how I spend my time, you know that my short annual bouts of melancholy and gloom coincide with the end of Independent Film Festival Boston, the only film festival I am routinely able to attend in my capacity as a film critic (or in any capacity besides). I wait for a whole calendar year, the festival comes, the festival goes, and when I come down from my eight day whirlwind of movie watching, I’m a little bummed.
Call me biased. I like Boston. I think Boston gets way less respect as a movie city than it deserves. Yes, everything – everything* – is happening in New York City and Los Angeles. Yes, Boston is miniature by comparison to both of these cities (and by comparison to most other major U.S. cities for that matter, but hush). But Boston also has a metric ton of great schools nestled within and without a plethora of elite tier movie houses, from the Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline, to the Brattle Theatre in Harvard Square, to the Somerville Theatre in Davis Square, plus the Harvard Film Archive, plus the Museum of Fine Arts; and it also stages tons of film festivals every single year, including but not limited to IFFBoston, Wicked Queer, the Boston International Film Festival, the Roxbury International Film Festival, the Irish Film Festival, the Boston Film Festival, and countless others.
You get the idea. When it comes to movies, Boston rocks. We know our stuff. We’re fun to watch movies with, too, assuming that you go to one of the region’s hallowed arthouse cinemas and hang out with dedicated movie dorks.
Independent Film Festival Boston represents the best of what it means to watch movies in Boston. It isn’t Sundance, no matter how many times I draw comparative lines between them. It is its own thing. It’s as crazy or as mellow as you want it to be, and regardless how you sketch out your festival experience, you’re going to have a good time. I myself went in on the former and sat through fifteen different movies from opening night to closing night. (Incidentally, this is also why I have been silent on the blog front. I’d throw in a mea culpa here but I don’t feel guilty in the slightest.) I didn’t get a lot of restful sleep (except during The Blackcoat’s Daughter, which is a snooze**), but I stayed energized by the movies. Movies kept me going. Movies kept my pulse up. And oh boy, did I see some terrific movies this year.
I’ve already written close to five thousand words on those movies for Paste Magazine, so I won’t elaborate much more here than to say that a) you should read my report for Paste, and b) if you didn’t go this year, you missed out. Sucks to be you. But! But. IFFBoston is sort of a year-round thing, in that the good folks running the festival put on screenings for public attendance all the damn time. (They’re screening Whit Stillman’s latest, Love & Friendship, tonight at the Coolidge, in fact, which, hey, if you can, why not go?) Color me biased. Seriously, go right ahead. I am totally biased. I want IFFBoston to succeed and grow every year, even if just a little bit at a time, and if I can point more patrons in the fest’s direction, then point I shall.
Thanks for the fun times, Independent Film Festival Boston! Until 2017.
*Eeeeeeverything: The industry jobs, whether you’re the one making movies, the one selling movies, or the one writing about movies in the press, are all primarily located in NYC and L.A., with Chicago and Washington D.C. coming in distant second place. (In my experience.) Movie studios are set up in NYC and L.A. Actors, directors, writers, and producers live in NYC and L.A. It’s not that these things aren’t available or possible in Boston, but, man, now that I’ve written all of this, I’m not sure why I even needed to. You probably know this already.