8th Arlington International Film Festival

Already, New England fall winds are giving way to the encroaching iciness of winter, but the 8th annual Arlington International Film Festival—starting November 1st with screenings at Arlington, Massachusetts’, historic Capitol Theatre—is like a communal hearth for cinephiles, warming the minds and imaginations of greater Boston and foreign filmgoers alike.

As in years past, the 2018 AIFF brings filmmakers and enthusiasts together from around the world to immerse themselves in four days of independent film, from shorts to animation, to narrative and documentary features, all curated to “entertain, educate, empower, and create a cross-cultural bridge with Boston communities.” Films from as far-reaching as Austria, Portugal, Iran, Lithuania, and South Korea are making their American premieres, a diversity reflected by the Fest’s mission in “developing, promoting, and increasing multicultural awareness and understanding in our town.” And beyond.

But there’s even more on AIFF’s mind in 2018: they’ve programmed a series that focuses on student filmmakers, both domestic and abroad, and, this year, assembled “An Homage to Women Filmmakers,” a slate featuring the documentaries Madhattan, by Australian filmmaker Carolyn Constantine, and Boston filmmaker Julie Mallozzi’s Circle Up, among others. Social and thematic issues regarding communication, transformation, and acceptance consistently percolate to the foreground of this year’s line-up: witness the Festival’s previously-announced best documentary feature, Skid Row Marathon, the story of a Los Angeles judge who starts a running club with the homeless and addicted as a respite from the hopelessness of the city’s most impoverished enclave, and the best narrative short, Are You Volleyball?, which breaks down the literal and metaphoric barbed-wire fence between Arabic-speaking detainees and the soldiers stationed to watch over them.

Also included is the Boston-area premiere of the documentary The Most Dangerous Year by Vlada Knowlton. Year follows the 2016 mission that families of young transgender kids in Washington state embarked on with civil rights activists to protect their children’s well-being and place in the world in the face of discrimination and legislative opposition to basic freedoms.

“Festivals like the Arlington International have a way of merging the local cultures and businesses,” opines Kate Weismann, Arlington resident and bartender at Spoke Wine Bar in nearby Davis Square. “It brings people to these cool, little arts communities, not only here, but in Somerville and Cambridge, too. It’s an exciting time for movie fans when all of these spots take turns hosting events like this.”

Join master of ceremony, storyteller Theresa Okokon, as she kicks off opening night on November 1st, and catch AIFF’s screenings through November 4th, all at the Capitol Theatre. They’re saving a place by the fire.