BSAF 2018: Salem Film Fest, Day Four

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!


RAMEN HEADS – 11:30 AM,  Morse Auditorium @ Peabody Essex Museum

A deliciously detailed journey into the world of Japan’s top ramen masters and their obsessed fans. Travel behind the scenes with Chef Osamu Tomita, Japan’s 4-time reigning ramen champion, and his obsessive approach to creating the perfect soup and noodles. Five other ramen shop owners, each with a unique philosophy and flavor, exemplify the rich culture surrounding Japan’s national treasure.

CIELO – 11:45 AM, CinemaSalem

A cinematic reverie on the beauty of the night sky, as experienced in the Atacama Desert, Chile – one of the best places on our planet to explore and contemplate its splendour. Planet Hunters in the Atacama’s astronomical observatories and the desert dwellers who work the land and sea, share their visions of the stars and planets, their mythic stories and existential queries with remarkable openness and a contagious sense of wonder. Q&A with film subject following the screening.

SHORTS BLOCK 4 – 12 PM, Salem Visitors Center

A variety of shorts, with some filmmakers on hand for a Q&A after selected titles.

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.

A SUITABLE GIRL – 2 PM, Morse Auditorium @ Peabody Essex Museum

Three young women in India struggle to maintain their identities and follow their dreams amid pressure to enter into arranged marriages. Educated, financially stable and raised with a mix of traditional and contemporary values, they have access to the world in ways their mothers did not, yet career aspirations become secondary when the women face the prospect of leaving their homes and families to become part of another. A SUITABLE GIRL examines these women’s complex relationship with marriage, family and society. Q&A WITH FILMMAKER FOLLOWS SCREENING

ARMED WITH FAITH – 2:15 PM, CinemaSalem

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Bomb Disposal Unit patrols the front lines of the war against Al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Pakistan. The lawless province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa – a gateway for terrorists – is a porous border area critical to global security. Witness firsthand the dangerous struggle undertaken by this unit to protect their country against the Taliban threat in the land they both call home. Q&A WITH FILMMAKER FOLLOWS SCREENING

BLACK MEMORABILIA – 2:30 PM, Salem Visitors Center

At the intersections of commerce, racial identity, and historical narrative, BLACK MEMORABILIA follows the propagation of demeaning representations of African Americans.  Moving beyond perverse attractions to collectibles and antiques that serve as reminders of America’s troubled racial history, the film combats stereotypes and presents a poetic portrait of the people who consume, manufacture and assume the identities of these objects. Q&A WITH FILMMAKER FOLLOWS SCREENING

MOLE MAN – 4:40 PM, CinemaSalem

For most his life, a 66-year-old autistic man under the care of his parents, has been building a 50-room maze-like structure in his backyard. With his nonagenarian mother increasingly fragile, his fate is uncertain. As his friends and family try to help, he believes an abandoned treasure in the woods might be the key to saving the only home he has known. Q&A WITH FILMMAKER FOLLOWS SCREENING

THE JUDGE – 4:50 PM, Morse Auditorium @ Peabody Essex Museum

The religious Shari’a courts of Islam ban women from adjudicating domestic and family matters. Kholoud Al-Faqih, a criminal lawyer who has drawn the support of a progressive Sheik, challenges over 1,000 years of tradition with her appointment as the first woman judge to sit on a West Bank Palestinian Shari’a court. The film follows Kholoud inside and outside the courtroom as she redefines how Shari’a law treats women despite attempts to marginalize and demote her.


Climate activist Ken Ward breaks the law to fulfill his personal obligation to future generations. We follow Ken through a series of civil disobediences, culminating with a shut-down of the U.S. tar sands oil pipelines. Facing 20 years in prison for his actions, the RELUCTANT RADICAL reveals both the costs and the fulfillment that comes from following a moral calling. Q&A WITH FILMMAKERS FOLLOWS 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.

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!

Reluctantly, we are heading out after four great days in Salem and three great days at the Fest, but we’ll continue to cover daily schedules through the final day on Thursday. We’ve had an absolute blast this year, despite somewhat questionable weather, and actually made it to EVERY film we had on our list to see, which we’ve never managed to do before. Yay!

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 throughout the month of May, and also in our huge BSAF SuperGuide PDF online magazine, also coming in mid=May!