25th Annual Boston Film Festival gets underway this Friday

I apologize for being late getting this up, but we were never notified that it was happening. Had we been notified, we would have surely started coverage several weeks ago. It's a shame, because now filmmakers who want coverage from BP and Indie Film Spotlight will have to scramble to get their screeners and info to us before the festival starts…


25th Boston Film Festival Program includes 8 World Premieres
26 Feature Films and 22 Short Films

Opening Night Premiere is “Motherhood” starring Uma Thurman

Boston, MA, SEPTEMBER 7, 2009 — Several world premieres highlight “The 25th Boston Film Festival” September 18-24 at the Kendall Square Theaters. “Motherhood,” starring Uma Thurman, will open the silver anniversary of the festival’s schedule of films. As previously announced, Thurman will travel to Boston to receive the Film Excellence Award.

Tickets for the festival’s screenings are available at the theaters’ box office or by calling (617) 499-1996 or at www.landmarktheaters.com beginning September 8. This year’s sponsors are: NBC Universal, Disney ABC, Bravo, Bloomingdale’s, and Landmark Theatres.

Actors confirmed to attend the festival at press time include Raymond J. Barry, Tom Berenger, Erin Cardillo, Olympia Dukakis, Denton Blane Everett, John Heard, Burgess Jenkins, Jorge Jimenez, Brian LaFontaine, Chad Lindberg, Alyssa Lobit , Glen Morshower, Jeffrey Nordling, Johnny Pacar, Andrea Powell, Aidan Quinn, Campbell Scott, Jamey Sheridan, Uma Thurman, and John Whitworth. Additional announcements about celebrities in attendance will be made upon completion of their travel arrangements.

Executive Director Robin Dawson said, “This is a landmark year for our City’s film community with the celebration of the festival’s 25th year of bringing Hollywood to Boston. Presenting a program of films that entertains and illuminates important social issues is the passion of the festival’s screening committee.”

A variety of Boston’s premiere restaurants will host filmmakers at evening receptions during the seven day festival. “As the origin of many illustrious storytellers, the region provides an idyllic setting to experience a festival of motion pictures,” added Dawson. “It is a special joy to honor native Boston actress Uma Thurman for her exceptional work as well as to welcome home many Massachusetts-born directors, producers, actors this year. We’re also excited to introduce the new medical and environmental programs that will educate audiences on important subjects.”
The 2009 Boston Film Festival Film Excellence Award will be presented to Oscar and Golden Globe-nominated Actress Uma Thurman on Opening Night following the East Coast premiere of her film “Motherhood” on Friday September 18, 2009 at the Landmark Kendall Square Theatre. The Boston-born actress, Thurman has an extensive repertoire of critically acclaimed as well as commercially successful movies including the cult hits, “Kill Bill Vol. I and II,” “Batman & Robin,’ in addition to “Prime,” and “The Producers.”

A poignant comedy set in Manhattan, “Motherhood” takes place over the course of a single day as Eliza (Thurman) looks after her two young children while struggling to hang on to her identity as an aspiring writer. The film also stars Minnie Driver and Anthony Edwards. The director/screenwriter is Katherine Dieckmann and the producers are Rachel Cohen, Jana Edelbaum, Pamela Koffler, Christine Vachon, and John Wells. The movie is set for release in theatres next month.

Four world premiere films will be presented on Saturday. The indie film “Insignificant Others” (director John Schwert) stars Burgess Jenkins (“Remember the Titans,”) “Andrea Powell, and Brian LaFontaine in a multi-narrative drama that navigates through the different lives of one city’s residents, each of whom is connected to the same local homicide investigation. Audience members will also enjoy the world premiere short film “Turning it Over,” directed by Josh Marchette, that details the life of Jason who can’t seem to get his life together — a dead end job and past life mistakes are enough to make him want to go back to his old drinking ways.

Making its world premiere is the feature film “The Truth,” starring John Heard, Brendan Sexton III, Erin Cardillo and Daniel Baldwin, and directed by Ryan Barton-Grimley. The thriller is about a couple that is taken hostage in their home by an intruder, but what begins as a simple home invasion robbery begins to turn into something much more complicated.

Local director Stacey Witt and Phaneendra Medida debut their world premiere documentary “What Are Your Dreams,” where individuals are interviewed on the streets of Boston to talk about their goals and aspirations.

Two East Coast feature film premieres will be screened on Sunday night. “Love Hurts” stars Richard E. Grant, Carrie Ann Moss, Johnny Pacar, Camryn Manheim, Janeane Garofalo and Jeffrey Nordling. The comedy (directed by Barra Grant and produced by Brian Reilly), is about Ben, a successful doctor but an obtuse husband, who is left by his wife. Befuddled by life and romance and obsessed with winning her back, Ben is tutored by his popular 17 year-old son. The film “Handsome Harry,” starring Jamey Sheridan, Aidan Quinn, Steve Buscemi, Campbell Scott, was directed by Boston native Bette Gordon. The feature is a powerful drama about an ex-navy man carrying out the last wish of a dying shipmate who renews contact with old friends to break the code of silence around a mysterious, long-buried crime.

There are two new series are being introduced in this year’s Boston Film Festival. The Medical Spotlight series presents three films; “Hope Deferred” (director James Siegel and producer Nikki Sacco) is a documentary about stem cell research; “A Vision of Wholeness” (director Ben Duffy and producer Steven Puzarne) is a 30-minute documentary film that looks at a new, revolutionary way of working with children diagnosed with autism; and “Mito Kids: Documenting Life” is the story of four teenage sisters who have grown up with disabilities that stem from mitochondrial disease, a chronic, genetic disorder. In the latter film, the personal story aims to increase understanding of the disease and its connection to epilepsy, diabetes, ALS, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and Heart Disease. The documentary’s director Marc Dole is also the father of the young women featured in the film.

An Environment Spotlight Series will take place on Wednesday and features the east coast premiere of director Robert Stone’s “Earth Days.” The highly anticipated documentary is the story of our growing awareness and understanding of the environmental crisis during the 1960’s and 70’s. The film will be released in theatres later this fall. The world premiere of the documentary “Destination: Rossport, Ireland” (director/producer is Jim Kerns) takes a look at the dispute being played out in Northwest Ireland as Shell Oil attempts to build a pipeline through a small community. Other films in the series include; “A Chemical Reaction,” director Brett Plymale tells the story of Dr. June Irwin’s relentless persistence to warn fellow citizens that the chemicals they were putting on their lawns posed severe health risks and “Marbles with Thoreau” is a short film about two children who stumble upon a cabin in the woods of Walden Pond and discover it was once occupied by Henry David Thoreau.

The world premiere of “The Things We Carry,” starring John Whitworth and Alyssa Lobit (who is also the screenwriter), is set in the San Fernando Valley against the backdrop of seedy motels and forgotten flowers. The story follows two estranged sisters who reconnect following the death of their drug addicted mother and come to peace with their different approaches to life.

The east coast premiere of the controversial documentary “My Big Break” stars Wes Bentley, Chad Lindberg, Brad Rowe and Greg Fawcett. Director Ton
y Zierra follows five roommates as they try to make it in Hollywood.

The drama “Desdemona: A Love Story,” stars Glenn Morshower, Jorge Jimenez and Denton Blane Everett. Director Phillip Guzman’s gritty tale concerns a Mexican immigrant who reflects on his actions involving kidnapping a past love. Also screening at the festival is the action film “Charlie Valentine” starring Raymond J. Barry, Michael Weatherly and Tom Berenger. The movie, from screenwriter director Jesse Johnson and producer Ray Cavalieri, is about a professional criminal, on the run, who tries to reconcile with his estranged son after 30 years.

The documentary program includes “Racing Dreams,” in which Academy Award® nominated director Marshall Curry (“Street Fight”) takes us into the lives of Annabeth (11 years old), Josh (12) and Brandon (13) as they compete for the World Karting Association’s National Championship. In the feature “Good Fortune,” director Landon Van Soest explores how massive international efforts to alleviate poverty in Africa may be undermining the very communities they aim to benefit. “American Colonies: Collapse of the Bees” (director Jason Kushner) breaks down the role of bees/pollinators in our environment and economy and explains the mysterious problem of Colony Collapse Disorder that is posing a possible extinction of the bee population.

“Scarred Justice” (producer/director Bestor Cram) is the story of South Carolina’s ‘Orangeburg Massacre,’ an incident often termed ‘the Kent State of the South.’ The film presents a chilling story about abuse of power during a period of tumultuous social upheaval, and the veil of secrecy that shrouds the event to this day. “At the Edge of the World” is director Dan Stone’s documentary about The 3rd Antarctic Campaign and the risks taken to stop a Japanese whaling fleet that were astonishingly reckless and admirable. “Fight or Flight” resulted after director Peter McCarthy was randomly attacked on a night out in Galway City (Ireland), leaving him badly scarred. Seeing an article on Mauy Thai boxing, he decided to travel to Thailand and learn how to defend himself. “Fight or Flight’ documents Peter’s journey over several years in Thailand as he goes from novice to fighting in semi-professional bouts. “Long Distance” (director Moritz Siebert) follows Abiyot as he runs for money every weekend at a different race. He left Ethiopia to try and re-launch his running career in the U.S. The film is about aspiration, endurance and the pursuit of the American Dream.

Several short film programs will be presented throughout the festival. The topics are diverse, and star some notable actresses including Olympia Dukakis (“Hove — The Wind”), Pauley Perrette and Golden Globe Winner Susan Blakely (“To Comfort You”), and director/actress Brooke Adams (“Pet Peeves,” produced by Tony Shalhoub and Donna Robinson).

Awards will be presented at the end of the festival for Best Film, Best Documentary, Best Short, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Cinematography, the Mass Impact Award and the EcoFilm Award. The Closing Night film and special events will also be announced next week.
The seven-day Boston Film Festival has become one of the city’s most popular annual events. The event’s silver anniversary promises to be especially jubilant at nightly parties hosted by renowned chefs and restaurateurs that will be attended by celebrities, filmmakers, athletes and city VIPS. A complete schedule of films and events will be posted at bostonfilmfestival.org beginning September 8.

The Boston Film Festival has an extensive history of premiering notable films including: “Flash of Genius,” “Lars and The Real Girl,” “American Beauty,” “Requiem For A Dream,” “The Piano,” “Deliver Us From Evil,” “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang,” and “North Country.”

Many accomplished filmmakers and actors have been honored at the BFF such as; Producer Jerry Weintraub (“Oceans Thirteen,”)-Lifetime Achievement Award presented by George Clooney; Film Excellence Award recipients; Val Kilmer, Annette Benning, Kevin Spacey, and Sir Ridley Scott. Last year Robert Parker received a Literary Excellence Award at the premiere of “Appaloosa,” the film based on his novel

For more information on the 25th Boston Film Festival, call 617-523-8388.
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