This year’s Boston International Film Festival (BIFF), running through Saturday, is bringing movie fans, filmmakers from around the world and even some stars to the AMC Loews Theatres on Boston Common. (Photo courtesy of Rinat Harel)
|BIFF Programming Director Jean Desire (left) and festival founder and director Patrick Jerome (right), shown here in this photo from last year’s festival, are two of the players responsible for bringing a wide variety of compelling films and personalities to Boston. (Photo courtesy of the Boston International Film Festival)
|Film star Jack Black (left) and actor/comedian Laura Kightlinger (center) joined festival founder and director Patrick Jerome (right) at last year’s Boston Independent Film Festival (BIFF). (Photo courtesy of BIFF)
|A packed house at the AMC Loews Theatres on Boston Common during the 2007 BIFF. This year’s festival kicked off last Friday night and runs through Saturday. (Photo courtesy of Ruby Arguilla Tull photo)|
The Boston International Film Festival (BIFF) is just that — an eclectic collection of films covering a worldwide range of ideas and emotions, played out in settings as disparate as an AIDS-ravaged South African township, a grocery store where the fate of the world hangs in the balance and modern-day Los Angeles, where even the most intimate personal decisions can have a global scope.
Now in its sixth year, the annual festival celebrates independent filmmakers from all over the world, gives local cinema aficionados the opportunities to watch movies created by artists from different cultures, and offers directors and screenwriters the chance to not only see how audiences receive their films, but in some cases also interact with viewers through post-screening Q&A sessions.
This year’s program kicked off last Friday night and continues through Saturday night, with all screenings held at the AMC Lowes Theatres on Boston Common. More than 100 films, including documentaries, shorts and full-length features, will be highlighted during BIFF’s nine-day Common run, each providing its own meditation on the human condition.
Patrick Jerome, the festival’s founder and director, says the yearly gathering showcases the wide variety within Boston’s population, while uniting the city’s many groups under one roof.
“Boston is one of the cities that have the most diverse population,” Jerome says. “But the [level of] separation is high. To bring all the communities together is a must.”
A director himself, Jerome is screening one of his own films in this year’s festival. Entitled “Walls Have Ears,” the movie explores complex family dynamics after a family’s patriarch wins the state lottery.
Launching this year’s schedule was “The Road to Ingwavuma,” which offers a behind the scenes look at the group Actors for a New South Africa (ANSA), an organization that raises money for grassroots efforts to eradicate the lingering effects of apartheid, including poverty and lack of health care.
Deborah Santana, wife of musician Carlos Santana and an ANSA board member, is the executive producer of this film. During the film, she rattles off some sobering statistics about the region, including the fact that “people in their 20s are said to be dying at a rate faster than [those in] their 60s.”
The 35-minute film, directed by Barbara Rick, evolved from a long writing relationship and friendship she shared with Santana. Prior to becoming a filmmaker, Rick had been in the broadcast business in New York, working for the news arms of both CBS and ABC. She says filmmaking is much more fulfilling, and says this particular project has given her the chance to educate, enlighten and make a difference in the world.(p2)