The Boston Film Festival returns for it's twentieth year on September 10th, and details have started to trickle out through their website. The bulk of the lineup has been listed (although no full schedule yet), and Annette Bening has just been announced as this year's Film Excellence Award recipient, following up recent winners like Ridley Scott, William H. Macy, and Steve Martin. She'll be accepting on September 13th, just before a screening of her latest film, "Being Julia".
A rundown of films announced so far ...
"The Woodsman" (USA), directed by Nicole Kassell, starring Kevin Bacon, Kyra Sedgwick and Benjamin Bratt.
"Being Julia" (USA), directed by Academy Award winner Istvan Szabo (Mephisto) and starring Annette Bening and Jeremy Irons.
"Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession" (USA), a documentary directed by Xan Cassavetes about one of the first pay cable stations in the US, and its programming chief, Jerry Harvey. With Robert Altman, Jacqueline Bisset, Jim Jarmusch, Alan Rudolph, Penelope Spheeris, and Quentin Tarantino.
"Overnight" (USA), a documentary directed by Mark Brian Smith, telling of the rise and fall of Troy Duffy, the bartender-cum-filmmaker who was swept up by Miramax's Harvey Weinstein to turn his script for The Boondock Saints into a feature film.
"Dear Frankie" (U.K.), directed by Shona Auerbach, starring Emily Mortimer and Gerard Butler. (trailer)
"Silver City" (USA), directed by John Sayles and starring Richard Dreyfuss, Chris Cooper, and Daryl Hannah.
"Bright Young Things" (U.K.), directed by Stephen Fry, an adaptation of Evelyn Waugh's novel "Vile Bodies".
"September Tapes" (USA), directed by Christian Johnston, the 2004 Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize winner. A bit of docu-fiction (a la Blair Witch) about an American journalist's search for the truth about the hunt for Bin Laden. (info/trailer)
"Primer" (USA), 2004 Sundance Dramatic Grand Jury Prize winner, an indie-sci-fi flick directed by Shane Carruth.
"Born Into Brothels" (USA), 2004 Sundance Documentary Audience Award winner, directed by Zana Briski and Ross Kaufman.
"Incident At Loch Ness" (USA), a Herzog documentary (or not) about the mystery of the monster, directed by Zak Penn.
"Dead and Breakfast" (USA), a gory horror film about six friends at a bed & breakfast, directed by Matthew Leutwyler.
"Easy" (USA), directed by Jane Weinstock, a romantic comedy/drama/love-triangle thang.
"Go Further" (USA), directed by Ron Mann, a documentary with Woody Harrelson and a group of his socially conscious friends on a bio-fuelled bus-ride down the Pacific Coast Highway.
"Duane Incarnate" (USA), a comedy/drama about how one woman's new boyfriend throws her friendships (and the world) out of whack. Directed by Hal Salwen.
"Germany And The Secret Genocide", directed by J. Michael Hagopian, a documentary about the planned genocide of 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman government during World War I.
"Man Dancin'" (Scotland/United Kingdom) directed by Norman Stone. A scottish gangster film about an ex-con and his return to Glasgow. (official site)
"Unknown Soldier" (USA), Los Angeles Film Festival winner, directed by Ferenc Toth. The story of a suddenly-orphaned city kid and the decisions he's forced to make.
"Piaf: Her Story... Her Songs" (USA/France), directed by George Elder. The on-screen adaptation of French jazz singer Raquel Bitton's one-woman tribute to singer Edith Piaf, through music and story.
International Titles ...
"The Barbecue People" (Israel), directed by David Ofek and Joseph Madmony. The story of a Jewish family celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Independence of Israel with a family barbecue.
"Green Butchers" (Denmark), a black comedy about two bumbling butchers and an accidental new source for meat, directed by Anders Thomas Jensen.
"Kontroll" (Hungary), directed by Nimrod Antal. A supposedly quirky comedy/adventure set in the Budapest subway system.
"Les Choristes" (France/Switzerland), directed by Christophe Barratier. The uplifting story of a new teacher arriving at a remote reform school in Auvergne, and how he uses music to connect with his heavily disciplined pupils. (official site)
"Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior" (Thailand), directed by Prachva Pinkaew. The amazing Tony Jaa uses his Muay-thai boxing to thrash anyone between him and a the stolen Ong-Bak artifact. No CGI needed. (french trailer)
"Zelary" (Czech Republic), a love story set in 1940s Czechoslovakia, directed by Ondrej Trojan.
"The Boys From County Clare" (Ireland/U.K./Germany), directed by John Irvin. "A touching, gently comical tale foregrounding the family feuds that wreak havoc behind the scenes of a battle of the bands." And yes, it's an Irish film, so Colm Meaney is in it.
"Mondovino" (USA/France), a documentary on the impact of globalization on the world's different wine regions. Directed by Jonathan Nossiter
Far more documentaries than the festival has had in the past, it seems, which reflects their growing mainstream acceptance (and, ahem, profitability).
At first glance, I'd like to catch Primer (gimme indie sci-fi), Overnight (I dug Boondock Saints), definitely Silver City (Chris Cooper in another Sayles film? Sold.), and Ong-Bak (no wires, no cgi, all thai-boxing action). I'll no doubt see more, but it'll depend on the schedule and director/cast appearances, too. Seeing the creators in attendance, hearing them introduce the film and take questions, always adds so much more to the experience.
Tickets are usually available about a week before the fest, so keep your eyes open because the star-hosted screenings usually sell-out pretty quickly.