Producers Seize The Limelight At Boston Film Festival
Film World Premieres And Awards Abound At Festival
Published: Thursday, September 27, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01
The 28th Boston Film Festival (BFF) celebrated both great film and the great city in which the festival was held. The re-modernized Theatre 1 in the Stuart Street Playhouse at the Revere Hotel was home to this year’s festival, located in the heart of the city at the Boston Common gardens. The festival exhibited seven world premieres and one United States premiere, showing 17 feature films and 20 short films total. “The 28th program will entertain and enlighten audiences as we present a sneak peak of the year’s most compelling films and documentaries while bringing home some native Bostonian filmmakers,” said BFF Executive Director Robin Dawson.
Noteworthy actors attending the festival included Captain America—otherwise known as Chris Evans (The Avengers, Fantastic Four)—James McCaffrey (Rescue Me), Chris Riggi (Gossip Girl), and Cary Elwes (The Princess Bride, Saw). Producer of Napoleon Dynamite Chris Wyatt arrived on Saturday to promote his newest production, The Citizen. One of the seven world premieres at the festival, the film stars Agnes Bruckner, Elwes, and Khaled Nabawy and follows the journey of an Arab immigrant arriving in New York City just one day before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in 2001. The Citizen won the BFF award for Best Ensemble Cast and Mass Impact Award, accredited to Director Sam Kadi and the film’s writers.
The first world premiere shown was Head Games, which played last Thursday in the Stuart Theatre. Based on the book of the same name by former Ivy League football player and WWE wrestler Chris Nowinski, it analyzes the effect of head injuries on athletes. The documentary follows the injuries of NFL player Isaiah Kacyvenski, who was Nowinski’s college roommate at Harvard. It is the first documentary to extensively cover the risks and harm involved in concussions—and Head Games dispels the myth that these severe injuries occur only in football. Soccer star and Olympic gold medalist Cindy Parlow is featured, as well as Boston University neurologist Robert Stern. The film covers precautionary steps to avoid concussions, follows stories of athletic tragedies caused by head injuries, and includes relevant science on brain trauma—eight different neurologists and sports medicine professionals headline the film. Scott Feinberg, writer for The Hollywood Reporter, has already predicted Head Games to be a major contender at the Academy Awards for Best Documentary. At the festival’s closing ceremonies, Head Games won that very award.
Also in the documentary category was “truly the last untold story of WWII.” Lost Reunions, a world premiere film at the festival directed by Danny Diaz, covers four continents and over 70 PT boats and the men who sailed them. An Affair of the Heart, the feature documentary of BFF, tells the story of Grammy-award winning artist and New York Times bestselling-author Rick Springfield and his relationship with a loyal fan base. Predictably, Springfield’s music won the Best Music award at the festival. Greedy Lying Bastards, the underdog of the documentary category, exposes the corruption of the fossil fuel industry. Director and political activist Craig Rosebraugh has uncovered the dirty little secrets of the big names in fossil fuel—and the deceit, false promises, and unworthy morale involved in their business dealings. True to its theme, the documentary received the award for Ecofilm at the festival.
The Best Director award went to Damian Lee, director of A Dark Truth, the up-and-coming action/thriller of the new year. The film stars Andy Garcia, who plays an ex-CIA officer turned political talk show host. He is hired by a corporate whistle blower—played by actress Eva Longoria—to expose her company’s cover-up of a massacre in a South American village. Deep political relations run throughout the plot as a corrupted government giant takes advantage of the water rights of third world countries. The movie is slated to arrive in theatres in January.
Best Film was awarded to The Sessions, starring John Hawkes and Helen Hunt, who won Best Actor and Best Actress, respectively, at the festival. The film is based on the writings of Mark O’Brien, a California poet and journalist. “A triumphant true story” (the movie’s slogan), the storyline follows a middle-aged man confined to an iron lung determined to lose his virginity—think The 40 Year Old Virgin with paralysis. The Sessions was considered a breakout film of the Sundance Film Festival last January and is expected to be released in theatres in the next year.