BSAF 2019: Salem Film Fest, Day One

IT’S HERE! IT’S HERE! Boston Springs A Fethival 2019 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 kicks off its 12th annual program today with a slew of events as always. Several of the events are for fest passholders only, so if you have a pass you’re already aware of them, heh heh..

First up for the public at 3:30 PM Is a screening of shorts at the Salem Visitors Center – this is the first time I can remember that the Fest has offered up this programming prior to it’s official evening kick off. You can get info on the shorts here; unfortunately, if you haven’t got tickets yet, you’re out of luck – this screening is SOLD OUT.

The official Salem Film Fest Kick Off Party takes place at the Salem Arts Association at 211 Bridge Street at 5:30 PM; Meet visiting filmmakers, VIPs, friends old and new for lite nibbles supplied by Three Kitchens Catering and drinks hosted by North Shore Bartending. On display in the galleries: Young at Art and a Scholarship Exhibit featuring the works of Ellen Hardy and Paula Beaulieu. Admission is free for the public, and a cash bar will be on hand.

Now, onto the films!

The Fest’s double opening night attraction begins at 7 PM at CinemaSalem with the Massachusetts Premiere of  the film Councilwoman, from director Margo Guernsey. Here’s the synopsis from the official website:

Carmen Castillo, a Dominican immigrant who has cleaned hotel rooms in Providence for 24 years, turns local politics on its head when she wins a third term as City Councilwoman by fighting for low-income workers. She navigates her working-class life and the political world with courage and stamina as she faces two tough contenders, skeptics who question her qualifications and anti-union corporate interests.

Director Guernsey is scheduled to be in attendance for a Q&A after the film. Film info and ticket purchase links are here:

Next up at 9 PM is the East Coast premiere of Sundance Film Festival favorite Midnight Traveller, from director Hassan Fazili. Here’s the synopsis from the official website:

When the Taliban puts a bounty on Afghan director Hassan Fazili’s head, he is forced to flee his home with his filmmaker wife and two young daughters. They grasp the only means available to assert any control over their situation, capturing their dangerous and desperate multi-year search for refuge with their cell-phones, creating an intimate autobiographical vérité story of a family on the run.

Film info and ticket purchase links are here.

Both screenings tonight take place at at CinemaSalem, One East India Square, Salem. CinemaSalem is one of the most beloved film venues on Boston’s North Shore, with it’s deliciously quirky vibe and loyal clientele, and it’s been the central location for the Fest since it’s inception. Additional screenings throughout the week take place at the Peabody Essex Museum, the Salem Visitors Center, and this year, an expanding group of venues in the surrounding communities including the historic Cabot Theatre in Beverly and the Black Box Theatre in Peabody among others

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. And another little perk – there’s almost always a musical performance before and between the shows, local musicians showcasing their work for everyone, so be sure to spread them some love as well!

For complete information on the festival and its upcoming offerings, be sure to visit the official website at! We have attended this wonderful festival all but one year since 2012 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.

COURTESY ADVISORY  – if you drive and park in the Witch City Mall Garage, where CinemaSalem 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 the venue’s main 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.

We’ll have your schedule every morning during SFF’s run, and links to film and ticket information. We’ll also be covering this and the other NINE festivals and film series that happen in greater Boston between March 1 and May 1 every year coming up in late May on our two part “Boston Springs A Fethival” episodes of eCinemaOne‘s Subject:CINEMA podcast!

Don’t forget to support our coverage of this and all the other things we do – this time of year is especially hard work with all the goings on, so please take us into your heart and spread a little love by becoming a Patreon Patron of eCinemaBoston – you can do that – and support the entire PNRNetworks family – at!