BSAF 2018: Salem Film Fest, Day Three

IT’S HERE! IT’S HERE! As we told you a couple weeks back, spring is the busiest season for film festivals in Metro Boston. But this year is especially crazy, because FIVE of the festivals are running all or part of their programming on the SAME WEEKEND! So you have a ton of choices to make.

So…lets get started kiddies! Boston Springs A Fethival 2018 is officially underway, and we’ll have info for all the various festivals and their schedules every day, so be sure to keep your browser turned to for all the latest info!

The wonderful all-documentary Salem Film Fest continues its 11th annual program with another heavy schedule today – a TON of films and shorts programs are available today…here we go!

THE DOC-A-CHUSETTS PITCH – 10 AM, Morse Auditorum @ Peabody Essex Museum (Free Admission)

Massachusetts has a long and storied tradition of documentary filmmaking. Are you curious about what documentaries are currently in production in the Bay State? Join us for a spirited discussion with local filmmakers as they pitch their upcoming documentary films to a panel of industry and media members in a competition before a live audience, in which you have a vote!


Entering its tenth year, this event is an innovative and fun celebration of young Massachusetts High School student filmmakers. Catch a glimpse of the future of documentary filmmaking by watching the work of the best young high school documentarians in Massachusetts. These five-minute mini-works are presented in a fun Top 10 format, and illustrate the wide spectrum of the documentary genre.

SHORTS BLOCK 3 – 12 PM, Salem Visitors Center

A selection of short films, with several filmmakers in attendance

TASMANIA, THE US-MEXICO BORDER, AND MASSACHUSETTS: Global Connections to the Local Overdose Crisis – 12 PM, Old Town Hall (Free Admission)

Naloxone, an overdose reversal medication, is manufactured from poppies grown in Tasmania, Australia. Most heroin and fentanyl shipments flow through legal ports of entry along the US-Mexico border. This three screen video installation visualizes how global drug flows are transforming our everyday lives during the opioid overdose crisis in Massachusetts.

GREENLAND MELTING: A Walk-Around Virtual Reality Film – 12 PM, Old Town Hall (Free Admission)

GREENLAND MELTING provides a rare, up-close view of icy arctic scenery that’s disappearing faster than predicted. The team gained unique access to NASA scientists as they conducted groundbreaking research into a transforming landscape with ramifications for the entire world. Using cutting-edge technology to create a state- of-the-art immersive piece, GREENLAND MELTING allows viewers to experience being in Greenland – standing in the water in front of a glacier, flying at low altitudes over some of the world’s most stunning scenery, and diving beneath the ocean’s surface to see what NASA’s studies are revealing.

American Experience presents INTO THE AMAZON – 12:15 PM, Morse Auditorum @ Peabody Essex Museum

The remarkable story of the journey taken by President Theodore Roosevelt and Brazilian explorer Cândido Mariano to chart an unexplored tributary of the Amazon in 1913. Before it was all over, one member of the expedition had drowned, another had committed murder, and Roosevelt would badly injure his leg and beg to be left behind to die.  Q&A with filmmaker after the screening.


After hurricanes and oil spills Louisianans face a new threat – hordes of 20-pound swamp rats. With their orange teeth and voracious appetite, they are eating up wetlands that protect coastal communities from hurricanes. A pack of lively bounty hunters are not the type to give up without a fight. It is man vs. rodent in this amusing tale with environmental undertones. May the best mammal win. Q&A with the filmmaker following the screening

FATHER’S KINGDOM – 2:20 PM, Salem Visitors Center

In the early 1900s, an African-American man named Reverend M.J. Divine began a religious movement that would reach over a million followers at its peak, crossing racial divisions and advocating for gender and economic equality. Despite his influence and achievements, Father Divine is little remembered today, dismissed by detractors as a con man and a fraud. The reason: Father Divine claimed to be God. Q&A with the filmmaker following the screening.

MERMAIDS – 2:40 PM, CinemaSalem

In the early 1900s, an African-American man named Reverend M.J. Divine began a religious movement that would reach over a million followers at its peak, crossing racial divisions and advocating for gender and economic equality. Despite his influence and achievements, Father Divine is little remembered today, dismissed by detractors as a con man and a fraud. The reason: Father Divine claimed to be God. Q&A with the filmmaker following the screening.

WAITING FOR THE SUN – 3:10 PM, Morse Auditorium @ Peabody Essex Museum

In China, more people are on death row than in the rest of the world combined. With its culture that stigmatizes prisoners and their relatives, convicts’ children are often abandoned by their families. At the Sun Village orphanage, these children find compassion and hope as they forge ahead, rebuilding their lives.

MINDING THE GAP (Encore Screening) – 4:30 PM, Rose Performance Hall @ Endicott College, Beverly

First-time filmmaker Bing Liu’s coming-of-age saga of three skateboarding friends in their Rust Belt hometown hit hard by decades of recession. While navigating a complex relationship between his camera and his friends, Bing explores the gap between fathers and sons, discipline and domestic abuse, and ultimately that precarious chasm between childhood and becoming an adult. Director in attendance for a Q&A following the screening. If you missed this opening night, do NOT let this opportunity slip by you – SEE THIS FILM!!!


The 2014 mayor’s race in Richmond, CA (home to the state’s second largest refinery) is the setting for this revealing and often humorous story of black versus white and pro-development forces versus eco-friendly Progressives. A mix of corporate influence, race, gentrification and homophobia is told through the lives of some unforgettable, bigger-than-life small-town characters

PUBLIC Q&A: Understanding Public Health Approaches to Drug Use – 5 PM, Old Town Hall (Free Admission)

Filmmaker Elayne Cronin will lead a discussion about the opioid crisis, including a Q&A with subjects of her video exhibit TASMANIA, THE US-MEXICO BORDER, AND MASSACHUSETTS: GLOBAL CONNECTIONS TO THE LOCAL OVERDOSE CRISIS.

THE EXPERIMENTAL CITY – 5:35 PM, Morse Auditorium @ Peabody Essex Museum

A prophetic scientist and his team, startled by the 1960’s growing environmental crisis, plan a futuristic domed city that will eliminate toxic waste and blaze a trail towards a pollution-free 21st century. But when they propose a rural northern Minnesota site, abutters, politicians and skeptical scientists unite to challenge the project.


The Sleaford Mods have been called “the voice of Britain” by fans, “Britain’s angriest band” by the Guardian and “The world’s greatest rock ‘n’ roll band” by Iggy Pop. A front man/former chicken factory worker and his beat making band mate have won over fans with their brutally honest lyrics and DIY ethos – trying to take on the music business on their own terms.

BEAUTY & RUIN – 8:10 PM, Morse Auditorium @ Peabody Essex Museum (SOLD OUT)

As Detroit faces bankruptcy, all assets are on the table, including the Detroit Institute of Art’s priceless collection. A struggle unfolds between the retired city workers, who want the art sold to fund their pensions and health care, and the museum, which wants to preserve the city’s cultural treasure for future generations.  Q&A with the filmmaker following the screening.


Did you get all that? LOL!  Wow, a busy day today! Click on the link for each title for ticketing info. Some tickets can be purchased at the fest box office kiosk at the Museum Place/Witch City Mall in downtown Salem (home of CInemaSalem).

Films showing at SFF always begin with a three or four minute short from the “Salem Sketches” series, celebrating the history of the city and its many inhabitants, many of whom own unique businesses that help to make Salem the wonderful tourist destination it has become. They are a delightful slice of life. Many screenings also feature musical performances between shows.

There is also another afterparty, the Saturday Night Soiree, being held at Sea Level Oyster Bar at Pickering Wharf; Join fellow fest goers, filmmakers, and SFF organizers for drinks and food at one of Salem’s hippest restaurants, overlooking Derby Wharf. Grammy Award Winner Claudio Ragazzi and his Quartet will perform – bringing their unique brand of Latin jazz to Salem, which mixes the harmonies of Jazz with the rhythms of South America.  Free Admission, and a cash bar.

This is the first year that the fest is expanding beyond its usual screening homes at CinemaSalem, the Morse Auditorium at Peabody Essex Museum, and the Salem Visitors Center; several screenings are now being offered at Beverly’s historic Cabot Performance Arts Center, which is now also owned by the owners of CinemaSalem, and also at Rose Performance Hall at Endicott College, also in Beverly, Both are just a quick 5-10 minute drive up the road!

For complete information on the festival and it’s upcoming offerings, be sure to visit the official website at! We have attended this wonderful festival every year since 2012 except for last year, and we have NEVER been disappointed. You will find that SFF is truly a unique experience and is a great fest to cut your festival teeth on if you’ve never been to one before.

One other thing – if you drive and park in the Museum Place Garage, where the cinema is located, and are attending a late screening, you will not be able to access the garage through the mall after it closes. You will need to go out CinemaSalem’s street entrance, turn right and walk 1/2 block to the garage exit, then walk to your vehicle from there. It’s a bit of pain, but not that difficult.

SFF continues through Thursday, March 29, so be sure to stay informed by keeping your browser on eCinemaBoston for complete schedule and ticket info! And don’t forget, Salem Film Fest will be part of our sister podcast Subject:CINEMA‘s massive BSAF coverage througout the month of May, and also in our huge BSAF SuperGuide PDF online magazine, also coming in mid=May!