From Friday, April 29th through Sunday, May 2nd, the Independent Film Society of Boston (IFSB) will bring to town the second annual Independent Film Festival of Boston. The IFSB has also arranged for question-and-answer sessions with linguist turned activist Noam Chomsky, king of kitsch John Waters, and producer Ted Hope.
The term “independent film” is a somewhat nebulous one, encompassing a range of genres. The organizers of the festival have turned this to their advantage and placed an emphasis on finding and showing films that reflect an eclectic mindset rather than a firm ideology. The idea expressed by the IFSB is to stretch beyond a niche audience and appeal to a wider group that would like to see samples of what’s happening outside of the Hollywood system.
The festival is divided into narrative films, documentaries, and short films. With roughly fifty entries, the festival opens at the Somerville Theatre with Rick, a corporate satire starring Bill Pullman and based on Verdi’s opera Rigoletto. The Saddest Music in the World follows a Winnipeg beer baroness in the Great Depression who organizes a contest to find the titular tune. The Story of the Weeping Camel turns its focus on an albino camel abandoned by its mother and nursed back to health by shepherds. Two documentaries focus on rock bands, Metallica: Some Kind of Monster giving a steady view of that metal act, and DIG! delving into the friendship and rivalry between the frontmen of the indie bands the Brian Jonestown Massacre and the Dandy Warhols. The film festival even has enough room for a film that pokes fun at film festivals. Bob Odenkirk, co-creator of Mr. Show, presents the entry The Frank International Film Festival, a short mockumentary that shadows the director as he takes his actual debut Melvin Goes to Dinner around the festival circuit.
The festival has impressed three local cinemas into service—the Brattle Theatre, the Coolidge Corner Movie Theatre, and the Somerville Theatre. It’s not all just film, either, as previously mentioned. After the May 1st screening of The Corporation, a documentary that traces and examines the 20th Century psychological phenomenon of the corporation as a business model, Noam Chomsky, who appears in the film, will offer his insights. On the same night John Waters will present his one-man show King of the Midnight Movies, and will afterwards hold court with the audience, too. And Ted Hope, producer of numerous films, will discuss his career on May 2nd at Jimmy Tingle’s Off-Broadway Theater in Somerville. The festival organizers have also set up various workshops and after-screening party sites to keep the festival festive.