The Boston Globe

Boston Film Festival marks 30th year with 'Wild' start

By Loren King
Globe Correspondent / September 20, 2015

The stalwart Boston Film Festival celebrates its 30th year with a five-day event that mixes a star-powered East Coast premiere, a host of indie features, relevant documentaries, and appearances by filmmakers with strong local ties. Thirty-two features and shorts will screen in Theatre 1 at the Revere Hotel in Boston's Theater District.

The festival opens on Sept. 24 with an advance screening of "Wild," director Jean-Marc Vallee's poignant rendering of Cheryl Strayed's best-selling memoir about her thousand-mile trek along the Pacific Crest Trail, alone. The much-anticipated film stars Reese Witherspoon as Strayed and Laura Dern as her luminous mother whose death sends Strayed into a tailspin, but also ultimately fuels her journey toward redemption.

In the centerpiece spotlight is "Playing for the Mob" (Sept. 27). Narrated by Ray Liotta, it's a quintessential Boston documentary about sports, money, corruption, and wise guys. Co-directors Joe Lavine and Cayman Grant, who'll be attending the screening, chronicle the story of how gangster Henry Hill (played by Liotta in the 1990 Martin Scorsese classic "Goodfellas") orchestrated the fixing of Boston College basketball games in 1978 and '79, and how the scheme tied in with the infamous Lufthansa heist at John F. Kennedy International Airport that brought down elusive mobster Jimmy Burke. Burke was the inspiration for Jimmy "The Gent" Conway, played by Robert De Niro in "Goodfellas." The BC scandal is handled with clarity, allowing former players Jimmy Sweeney and Ernie Cobb to tell their sides of the story. A panel discussion will follow with the filmmakers, Sweeney, and Ed McDonald, who prosecuted the point-shaving case.

"Playing for the Mob" will screen with another Boston-rich movie, the short film "Our Tough Guy." Director Molly Schiot, who will attend, revisits a 1977 Boston Bruins game when John Wensink challenged the entire Minnesota team to fight, without success. Interviews with Wensink and his teammates Terry O'Reilly and Rick Middleton shed light on the mindset of NHL "enforcers."

"White Rabbit" (Sept. 25) features a powerful leading performance from Sam Trammel as Harlon, a young man in a rural town whose abusive father pressures him as a boy to hunt and kill. Those early experiences affect Harlon's mental and emotional health as he grows up and is bullied by his teenage peers. Trammel, producer Robert Yocum, and writer Anthony DiPietro will attend the screening.

The festival includes several films with local ties. Boston native Melissa Donovan spent 15 years working in the local film community before moving to New York. She'll return for the world premiere of "Zemene" (Sept. 28) about a 10-year-old Ethiopian girl faced with the life-threatening condition of kyphosis, a severe curvature of the spine. With no health care in her village, Zemene travels with her uncle to the city of Gondar, where they are told that there is no medical treatment that can save her. By chance they meet Dr. Rick Hodes, an internist whose dedication offers hope to not just Zemene but to an entire community.

"Seeing Zemene's courage in facing the many challenges in her life made me want to help her tell her story," says Donovan in an e-mail interview. "I couldn't imagine what else I could do that would be as meaningful as helping this brave, young girl share her story. The beautiful countryside and people of Ethiopia made a wonderful backdrop to explore Zemene's transformation through her relationship with Dr. Rick Hodes and the care and medical help he offers." Zemene, her Uncle Menor, and Dr. Hodes will travel from Ethiopia to Boston to participate with Donovan in a post-screening discussion.

Other films with area connections include "The Winding Stream," about June Carter and Johnny Cash, from director Beth Harrington, a Boston native who'll be in attendance; "Breaking Free: The Shale Rock Revolution," from director Robin Bossert, a Boston University alum who will also be on hand; and "26.2 Miles Closer to Home," a short documentary about the Boston Marathon bombing by director Lisa Copland of Uxbridge.

Several films focus on the environment. "Love Thy Nature" (Sept. 28), directed by Sylvie Rokab and narrated by Liam Neeson, is a visually stunning documentary that takes viewers on a cinematic journey into the beauty and intimacy of the human species' relationship with the natural world. Rokab and producer Elaine Souda, both environmental activists, will be at the screening.

"Slingshot" (Sept. 28) chronicles Segway inventor Dean Kamen's 15-year quest to use his medical devices to aid the world's safe-water crisis. Director Paul Lazarus, who will be at the screening, portrays New Hampshire resident Kamen (DEKA, his research and development company, is based in Manchester) as a passionate iconoclast and innovator determined to create a solution for the planet's biggest challenge, since 50 percent of all human illness is the result of waterborne pathogens.

Loren King can be reached at

Original article available at (subscription required).

The Hollywood Reporter

FEINBERG FORECAST: Scott Feinberg's Initial Assessment of the Oscars Landscape

By Scott Feinberg
September 17, 2012

"Head Games" a Major Threat for Best Documentary Oscar

Original article available at

The Boston Globe

Boston Film Festival slate goes wide and deep
Strong mix of big-name moviews, intriguing indies

By Mark Loren King
Globe Correspondent / September 15, 2012

The 28th annual Boston Film Festival, which opens Thursday and runs through Sept. 28, boasts a lineup that includes "The Sessions" (next Sunday) starring John Hawkes and Helen Hunt and already generating Oscar buzz. Another big title is the topical political thriller "A Dark Truth" (Friday) featuring Oscar winner Forest Whitaker, Andy Garcia, and Eva Longoria. It's about a multinational engineering corporation that with the aid of corrupt governments controls the water rights of developing countries.

As with any festival that tries to balance Hollywood and indie, it's often the less star-studded fare that's most enticing. "We're happy to be able to offer our audience the opportunity to see big pre-releases, but we lean to new filmmakers who need this kind of forum to get attention," says BFF executive director Robin Dawson. One of her favorites is the documentary "Free Throw" (Sept. 24).

"Free Throw" director Court Crandall couldn't be more pleased to make the trip to Boston from his Los Angeles home. A Winchester native and University of New Hampshire graduate, he'll be introducing "Free Throw" before a hometown crowd and taking questions afterward.

"Free Throw" looks at seven inner-city high school students from Southern California whose GPAs qualify them to compete in a basketball shooting contest to win $40,000 in college tuition. Crandall launched the charitable effort through his own advertising agency and a fund-raising campaign via social media. The documentary delves into the lives of these students, each one determined to counter the perception of their city, Compton, as a community wracked by drugs, gangs, and violence.

Crandall, who wrote scripts for "Old School" (2003) and the Maine-set "A Lobster Tale" (2006), makes his directing debut with "Free Throw." The project, he says, grew out of a desire to show a different Compton to the world.

Crandall's son Chase, 17, is a star basketball player who "grew up playing with boys from Compton. I knew there was a preconceived notion of what these kids are like and I wanted to do something to help the image of the city," he says. His scholarship competition caught the attention of the national media. "The first place I screened 'Free Throw' was in the Compton High School gym," Crandall says. "I wanted to get donors to come to the city, see it, and remember it. After the screening, I went outside and saw three news vans. It was the first time in Compton's history that they were there to cover something positive."

Local filmmaker Myles Jewell will be at the BFF with "Stranglehold: In the Shadow of the Boston Strangler" (Sept. 24), along with his friend from Sudbury, actor Chris Evans, who narrates the film. The documentary takes a fresh look at the 50-year-old serial-murder case — which was never officially solved — as Jewell delves into the meticulous records of his grandfather Phil DiNatale, who worked as an investigator on the notorious killings.

The festival opens with "Head Games" (Thursday), Steve James's topical documentary about Harvard University football player and WWE wrestler Chris Nowinski's efforts to expose the consequences of sports-related head injuries. James ("Hoop Dreams") and Nowinski will headline a post-screening panel discussion that includes New York Times reporter Alan Schwarz, former NFL player Isaiah Kacyvenski, Penn State athletic trainer Eric Laudano, and physicians Robert Stern and Ann McKee.

"Head Games" is one of several films that tackle controversial subjects. "Greedy Lying Bastards" — "My favorite title ever," Dawson says — is directed by Craig Rosebraugh and produced by Daryl Hannah. Rosebraugh will introduce the documentary (next Sunday), an indictment of the fossil-fuel industry's efforts to thwart measures on climate change, minimize regulation, and undermine the political process in the here and abroad.

Actors John Faughnan, James McCaffrey, and Chris Riggi will be on hand when director Alex Oldini's "To Redemption" makes its world premiere Friday. Costarring Katherine Narducci, the film is about a tight-knit family whose faiths and beliefs are tested when secrets are revealed. Also scheduled to attend the BFF are actors Agnes Bruckner, Carey Elwes, and Khaled Nabawy for the world premiere of Sam Kadi's "The Citizen" (Saturday), the story of an Arab immigrant who wins the US green card lottery and arrives in New York a day before the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

All screenings take place at the newly remodeled Theater One at the former Stuart Street Playhouse, with festival parties held at the adjacent Revere Hotel.

For a complete schedule of films and events, go to

Loren King can be reached at

Original article available at (subscription required).

The Boston Globe

Boston Film Festival draws Chris Evans and Carey Elwes

By Mark Shanahan & Meredith Goldstein
Globe Staff / September 11, 2012

"The Princess Bride" star Carey Elwes, "Rescue Me" actor James McCaffrey, and Sudbury's own Chris Evans, sometimes known as Captain America, are among the big names who'll appear at the 28th Boston Film Festival, which will be held at Theatre 1 at the Revere Hotel Boston Common from Sept. 20 to 24. Elwes will promote his drama "The Citizen," McCaffrey will screen "To Redemption," and Evans will talk about "Stranglehold: In the Shadow of the Boston Strangler," which he voices for director Myles Jewell . (Evans was just at the Toronto International Film Festival promoting one of his other new releases, "The Iceman," with Winona Ryder .) There's a full schedule for the Boston Film Festival online.

Original article available at

The Boston Herald

We Hear: Oprah Winfrey, Mike O'Malley, Tom Brady and More

By Inside Track
September 23, 2011

[...] That "Glee" dad Mike O'Malley returned to the Hub last night to attend a second screening of his flick "Certainty" on the closing night of the Boston Film Festival. But on this trip, the New Hampshire homey expects to stay a while. This weekend, he'll be "with like-minded people" cheering on the Red Sox in a local bar "drinking as responsibly as the occasion calls for." And Monday, he begins a two-day stint on the set of "R.I.P.D." Mike won the flickfest's screenwriting award last night and the film also won for Best Ensemble Cast. [...]

Original article available at

The Boston Globe

Lea Thompson and John Shea Walk the Red Carpet

By Mark Shanahan & Meredith Goldstein
Globe Staff / September 22, 2011

"Back to the Future" star Lea Thompson and New Hampshire and Massachusetts's own John Shea walked the red carpet before last night's Boston Film Festival screening of their movie, "The Trouble With the Truth."

Original article available at

The Boston Herald

Film explores 'Truth' Behind Love and Loss

By Inside Track
September 22, 2011

The Trouble With the Truth is that it can hurt, but it also can answer a lot of unresolved questions. And that's the theme of the indie flick starring Lea Thompson and John Shea that was shown last night — its world premiere! — at the Boston Film Festival.

In Jim Hemphill's "The Trouble with the Truth," Lea and John star as a divorced couple who meet up on the eve of their daughter's wedding and take the plunge into what went wrong with their relationship. Can you say, "minefield"?

"People continue to love each other no matter what," said Thompson, who has been married to "My Best Friend's Girl" director Howard Deutch for 22 years. "My first boyfriend was an American Indian who had this fabulous philosophy that you are the sum total of all the people you have ever loved. You carry them in your soul, in your bones, the jokes you tell and the way you look at the world."

The film also stars Danielle Harris as the couple's daughter, but she doesn't get lots of camera time. "Truth" is more a conversation between Lea and John.

"It's sort of like 'My Dinner with John Shea,'?" joked Thompson, explaining the two-camera, one long scene indie flick similar to the late Louis Malle's 1981 art house fave, "My Dinner with Andre."

And speaking of dinner, Lea said while her time is short in Boston since she's got to get back to La-La to shoot her ABC Family series, "Switched at Birth," she's not leaving until she eats a lobster roll. And that's the Truth!

Original article available at

The Boston Globe

Lea Thompson at the Boston Film Festival

By Mark Shanahan & Meredith Goldstein
Globe Staff / September 21, 2011

The big star on tonight's Boston Film Festival red carpet will be Lea Thompson, who young people know as one of the moms on ABC Family's "Switched at Birth" - and the rest of us know as Marty McFly's mom in "Back to the Future," Amanda Jones in "Some Kind of Wonderful," and Erica in the epic "Red Dawn." Thompson, who will answer questions after the BFF screens her new movie, "The Trouble With the Truth," says that more and more kids are familiar with her '80s classics, much to her surprise. Thirty- and 40-somethings who grew up with the films are showing them to their children. And cable channels continue to re-air the movies. "It's quite remarkable," Thompson told us by phone, a few days before flying into town. Thompson is hopeful for a good crowd at tonight's screening, mainly because she likes us Boston types. She was here in 2004 when the Sox won the World Series. Her husband, Howard Deutch, was in town at the time to direct the comedy "My Best Friend's Girl." "You could hear it from his hotel room," she said, of our victory cheers. Thompson describes "The Trouble With the Truth" as an intimate film that features an intense back and forth between a woman and her ex-husband, who's played by New Hampshire and Massachusetts native John Shea (Leighton Meester's dad on "Gossip Girl"). Thompson joked to us that she doesn't worry about her "Back to the Future" audience seeing her play older characters like the one in "Trouble" because, thanks to time travel, they've already seen her as Grandma McFly. "They got used to seeing me older," she said, giggling. "The Trouble With the Truth" screens at the Stuart Street Playhouse at 7 p.m.

Original article available at

The Boston Globe

Menounos in town to debut 'Serial Buddies'

By Mark Shanahan & Meredith Goldstein
Globe Staff / September 20, 2011

If it seems as if Maria Menounos has taken her time making "Serial Buddies," she has. It was over two years ago that we watched the Medford native — and her boyfriend, writer-director Keven Undergaro - shoot scenes in a Woburn warehouse. "Director Alexander Payne is a good friend of ours, and about six months after we finished filming, he saw some of it and said, 'You have something interesting here. Don't be afraid to take your time with it,' " said Menounos, who's been plenty busy anyway with her new gig cohosting "Extra." "[Payne] said he spent two [years] with 'Election' and look how that turned out." ("Election," based on the book by Belmont author Tom Perrotta, received an Oscar® nomination for best adapted screenplay.) Tonight at the Boston Film Festival, "Serial Buddies," which Menounos describes as "Napoleon Dynamite" meets "Superbad" meets "Dexter," will finally be screened. And if you need another reason to buy a ticket, the incomparable Artie Lange is in it.

Original article available at

The Boston Herald

Maria 'Buddies' up to Hub Film Fest

By Inside Track
September 20, 2011

New "Extra" hostess with the mostess Maria Menounos hits the red carpet tonight at the Boston Film Festival for a sneak peek of her flick, "Serial Buddies," a comedy about two habitual killers who take to the open road. Hilarity ensues.

The Medford homegal, a producer of the comedy that was directed and written by her BF Keven Undergaro, said the story was inspired by a contractor who was working on their house in Connecticut a few years ago. To say the guy had a criminal record is an understatement, she said.

"Keven was fascinated by him," Maria told the Track. "He's got a collection of misfits ... I think it may be something from his carnie days selling sausages. There's Homeless Joe... he's got so many I can't remember all their names."

The film was shot two years ago at the house in Connecticut with a cast that includes Christopher Lloyd, Kathie Lee Gifford and her daughter, Cassidy, and comedian Artie Lange. Maria also has a role as a sorority sister.

"We've been taking our time getting it done, so the film is almost there," she said. "It will need some tweaking, but we're so glad we're showing it at the Boston Film Festival."

The sneak peak of "Serial Buddies" will screen at 8:45 p.m. at Stuart Street Playhouse.

Original article available at

WBUR - Radio Boston

Boston Doc Makes Housecalls To The Homeless

By Anthony Brooks
September 19, 2011

According to the city's annual census, there are some 8,000 homeless people living on the streets of Boston. Many of them are mentally ill, addicted to drugs or alcohol, and many of them are in dire need of medical care. Dr. Jim O'Connell is trying to deliver that care.

As founder and president of Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program, O'Connell spends many of his nights on the streets, where he makes what are in effect "house calls to the homeless." O'Connell's work and the medical challenges of the city's homeless are the focus of a new documentary film, GIVE ME A SHOT OF ANYTHING — HOUSE CALLS TO THE HOMELESS, which premiers tonight as part of the Boston Film Festival.

"At nighttime when everyone else goes to bed, that's when you can tell who's been staying out on the streets," O'Connell says. "It's probably the most opportune time to come out and take care of people who are really street folks."

The film follows O'Connell and his team of doctors and assistants as they track down Boston's homeless and offer them what in many cases is life-saving medical care. The film also lifts the curtain on a part of Boston that few of us know or think much about.

"People don't really want to see what's going on," says one of O'Connell homeless patients in the film. "They have a blind eye."

O'Connell says some of the people he treats might look like typical addicts — "just somebody who's doing too many drugs, or just a bum," he says. "But all of a sudden you see the person behind [the medical problem] — and it's those stories and relationships that keep us involved."

  Dr. Jim O'Connell, founder and president, Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program

Original article and audio available at

The Boston Globe

Boston Film Festival Attracts Snow, Serratos

By Mark Shanahan & Meredith Goldstein
Globe Staff / September 19, 2011

The Boston Film Festival, which runs through Saturday, drew stars to our Theater District throughout the weekend. On Saturday night, "Harry's Law" actress Brittany Snow and Christian Serratos, who also plays Angela in the "Twilight" franchise, were at the Stuart Street Playhouse to promote their indie drama, "96 Minutes," with their director Aimee Lagos. "Parenthood" star Sam Jaeger was also in town with his actress wife, Amber, to promote their film, "Take Me Home." Saturday's after-party was at nearby Smith & Wollensky. One night earlier, "The Fighter" sisters - also known as Erica McDermott, Melissa McMeekin, and Kate O'Brien - came out for the BFF's opening night events.

Original article available at

The Boston Globe

Boston Film Fest Opens

By Mark Shanahan & Meredith Goldstein
The Names Blog / September 16, 2011

The 27th annual Boston Film Festival kicks off tonight at the Stuart Street Playhouse with the world premiere of "Certainty," a film written by Mike O'Malley and starring Bobby Moynihan, Tom Lipinski, Kristen Connolly, Adelaide Clemens, and Valerie Harper. That's to be followed by the premiere of "After Fall, Winter," by writer/director/star Eric Schaeffer, who's due to be joined on the red carpet by castmate Deborah Twiss.

Original article available at

The Boston Herald

Stars Light Up Playhouse to Usher in Boston Flick Fest

By Inside Track
September 16, 2011

The red carpet rolls out at the Stuart Street Playhouse tonight for the opening of the 27th Annual Boston Film Festival, a seven-day indie flickfest with lots of famous faces.

"Glee" dad Mike O'Malley's dramedy "Certainty" — starring "Breaking Bad" bad boy Giancarlo Esposito and "SNL" funnyman Bobby Moynihan — kicks off the weekend at 6:45 tonight. The film, as we told you yesterday, is about a couple's journey through "engagement encounter," a Catholic Church-mandated marriage prep course. Co-stars Tom Lipinski and Kristen Connelly will also make the scene.

O'Malley, who wrote the flick, will arrive from La-La — after a late night filming "Glee" — and immediately head to the premiere, he told us yesterday. So cut him some slack if the screenwriter seems a little frazzled!

Later, "After Fall, Winter," by writer/director/producer star Eric Schaeffer, will also make its world premiere at the Playhouse. Both Schaeffer and his leading lady, Deborah Twiss, will be around for the applause and then will repair to Storyville, the new Exeter Street nightspot, which is hosting the festival's opening night bash.

In the spotlight Saturday night is "Take Me Home," a road trip story written, produced, directed by and starring "Parenthood" hunk Sam Yaeger and his wife, Amber Jaeger.

"Well, when you're making an indie film, free labor is always good and I knew if I cast myself as an actor in it, the writer and director would have no quarrels with my performance," Yaegar told the Track as he took a break from burning multiple DVDs of the film to send to the Independent Spirit Awards.

"Take Me Home" is the story of a woman who has a really bad day and convinces a cabbie to drive her to L.A. The cross -country trek, which took two summers to film in a '98 Crown Vic, serves as a personal journey for both.

Sam and Amber will walk the carpet along with "96 Minutes" gals Brittany Snow and Christian Serratos, whose scary drama will screen at 9:15 p.m. followed by a party at Smith & Wollensky in the Castle.

On Sunday, "Fully Loaded" lady Shira Piven (yes, her brother Jeremy is "Entourage" agent Ari Gold's alter ego) is the gal of the hour for her indie about two saucy single moms who head out on a Girls Night Out and find out that it ain't easy to hook up with strange men anymore. One of the moms, Lisa Ann Orkin, will join Shira at the flickfest.

Original article available at

The Boston Globe

Boston Film Fest Content Certainly Runs the Gamut

From scapegoats to a street doctor, premarital counseling to a long cab ride

By Loren King
Globe Correspondent / September 16, 2011

Filmgoers may be eagerly awaiting "Moneyball," but another new baseball movie shouldn't be overlooked, especially by Red Sox Nation. Oscar winner Alex Gibney's documentary "Catching Hell," which premieres Sunday in the 27th annual Boston Film Festival, is about a pair of high-profile sports scapegoats.

Gibney, a lifelong Red Sox fan, includes former Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner's infamous error in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series as one of those cases. The other is Chicago Cubs fan Steve Bartman, vilified after he interfered with a fly ball in a playoff game in 2003. "Catching Hell" points out the many other factors that contributed to the teams' losses in both games; yet, for fans in Boston and Chicago, Buckner and Bartman became whipping boys and symbols of defeat.

Gibney, who grew up in Cambridge, says scapegoating is a theme in two of his most acclaimed films, "Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer" and the Oscar-winning "Taxi to the Dark Side."

"The soldiers at Abu Ghraib were called 'rotten apples' to deflect attention," Gibney says in a telephone interview. "Scapegoating is fiction making. It's a way of wrapping up troublesome ambiguities into a tidy package." He was speaking from the Toronto International Film Festival, where he was presenting another sports film, "The Last Gladiators," about former NHL star (and West Roxbury native) Chris Nilan.

"Catching Hell," which shows on ESPN later this month, features extensive interviews with Buckner, who talks emotionally about what life was like for him until the Red Sox finally won a World Series. "I flew to Idaho and we had several long conversations," Gibney says. "He was gracious, and I learned a lot that I didn't know about him." Bartman, however, continues to refuse interview requests, making him a more mysterious figure.

The festival opens tonight with "Certainty," from writer Mike O'Malley - yes, the same O'Malley who plays the tolerant blue-collar dad of a gay son on the hit series "Glee." The Boston-born, New Hampshire-bred O'Malley will take time from his other gig, as a writer on Showtime's "Shameless," to attend the festival with "Certainty" director Peter Askin and actors Tom Lipinski (another Boston native) and Giancarlo Esposito.

"Certainty" follows a young couple as they go through the premarital counseling required by the Catholic Church. O'Malley says the idea originally came from his sister, actress Kerry O'Malley, who went through the classes in the mid-'90s. "I wrote a draft for a play and then I had my own experience [with counseling], when I got married, in 2000, so I decided to deepen it," he says. "The Church gets a lot wrong, but this is one thing it gets right."

"Searching for Certainty" had a stage production in Los Angeles, in 2003. O'Malley then turned it into a film script, which was shot in New York last summer. He said the BFF is a coming home for him. "So much of my early development as a writer was because of the friends from Boston and New Hampshire who would show up at plays in small theaters in New York," he says. "To premiere my first feature in the cradle where I was born and nurtured is awesome for me."

O'Malley isn't the only TV star coming to the BFF with a fiction feature. Sam Jaeger, a series regular on "Parenthood," will be at the BFF Saturday with his feature debut, "Take Me Home," a romantic comedy that stars Jaeger and his wife, actress Amber Jaeger. Sam Jaeger also directed the film about a mismatched pair thrown together for a cross-country cab ride. "Hollywood forgets easily. I want to be fulfilled and challenged," said Jaeger about that project, which took him seven years to bring to the screen. Jaeger will also participate in a panel discussion, "From Script to Screen," Saturday from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

A strong lineup of documentaries includes the premiere of "Give Me a Shot of Anything," a gritty look at Boston's landmark Health Care for the Homeless program. With a world premiere screening Monday on Boston Filmmakers Night, it follows Boston "street doctor" Jim O'Connell as he administers medical and emotional assistance to the city's homeless. O'Connell and director Jeff Schwartz will engage in a discussion following the screening.

Hired to do a short film about the program, Schwartz became so intrigued by the work of O'Connell and the Barbara McInnis House Respite Center that he decided to make a feature film. He traveled to Boston from New York for months with a small crew, getting "extraordinary access" to the people who live on the streets, some for as long as 30 years. "This needs to be seen by a wide audience," he says. "I live in New York; I pass homeless people all the time and I don't look. This film allowed me to really think about their lives."

Emmy Award-winning director Michael King also tells a powerful story about human empathy and compassion in "The Rescuers," which screens Tuesday. King, who taught screenwriting and film for two years at Emerson College, documents the journey of Stephanie Nyombayire, a young Rwandan anti-genocide activist, as she travels with Sir Martin Gilbert, the renowned Holocaust historian, to 15 countries and three continents interviewing survivors and descendants of 12 diplomats who, often in defiance of rules and at great personal risk, rescued tens of thousands of Jews from the Nazis. King will attend the BFF to discuss his film.

THE BOSTON FILM FESTIVAL Runs Friday through Thursday at the Stuart Street Playhouse. For a complete schedule, go to or call 617-523-8388.

Loren King can be reached at

Original article available at

The Boston Herald

Hub Film Fest is Reel Deal

By James Verniere / Movies
September 16, 2011

The Boston Film Festival kicks off its 27th installment today at its new home in the Stuart Street Playhouse with a slate of 20 feature films.

Opening night premieres are "Certainty," a drama starring Giancarlo Esposito ("Breaking Bad") scripted by Nashua, N.H.-native writer-actor Mike O'Malley ("Parenthood," "Glee") and directed by Peter Askin ("Company Man," "Trumbo").

Also premiering tonight is Eric Schaeffer's "After Fall, Winter," an intriguing, if also morbid and kinky, love story. The film, which co-stars a vivacious Lizzie Brochere, features writer-director Schaeffer ("I Can't Believe I'm Still Single") as a New York writer looking for love and transgressive excitement in Paris. Boston celebrity, actress and showbiz reporter Maria Menounos will appear in connection with "Serial Buddies," a film she produced described as "a serial killer buddy movie."

Tomorrow, festival patrons will be able to attend "From Script to Screen," a panel discussion featuring Academy Award nominee Keith Dorrington ("The Fighter").

Leads John Shea and Lea Thompson are also scheduled to appear on behalf of "The Trouble with the Truth," a fiction film from writer-director-critic Jim Hemphill about a pair of middle-aged ex-spouses (Shea and Thompson) who reconnect when the ex-wife arrives on a business trip.

The Alex Gibney documentary "Catching Hell," another festival entry, tells the story of sports figures vilified for making errors or taking actions that result in the loss of big games, such as Boston's own immortal 1986 first baseman Bill Buckner.

Also locally connected are "Give Me a Shot of Anything: House Calls to the Homeless," a documentary about the life and work of Dr. Jim O'Connell, who treats Boston's homeless population; and former Boston Ballet School student Bess Kargman's "First Position," a nonfiction film about ballet class students that was a surprise hit at the Toronto International Film Festival this week. The films will be shown Monday. Of the festival films sampled by this writer, the most memorable were Schaeffer's love story, and Shira Piven's "Fully Loaded," an L.A.-set road movie about single moms on a tear featuring often riveting perfor-mances from little-known leads Paula Killen and Lisa Ann Orkin. Also noteworthy is J.C. Khoury's "The Pill," a comedy about a young man and woman (Boston's Noah Bean and Rachel Boston) who have a one-night stand and the man's relentless determination to get the woman to take the "morning- after" pill.

The festival runs through Thursday.

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Attend This Film Fest: 27th Annual Boston Film Festival

Outside the Frame / September 15, 2011

The Boston Film Festival, now in its 27th year, has seen its ups and downs. But its organizers definitely made a shrewd move when they settled into one of the city's classiest venues, the Stuart Street Playhouse, where it opens its weeklong run of world premieres. They include Peter Askin's Certainty (6:45 pm), the tale of a young couple who undergo Catholic pre-nuptial counseling. Glee cast member Mike O'Malley, who wrote the screenplay, and star Giancarlo Esposito will be among those attending the screening at the Stuart Street Playhouse, 200 Stuart St, Boston | Friday, September 16 - Thursday, September 22 | $9

Original article available at

The Boston Globe

Bobby Moynihan Gets His First Look at 'Certainty'

By Mark Shanahan & Meredith Goldstein
The Names Blog / September 15, 2011

We know at least one person who'll be in the audience for tomorrow's world premiere of "Certainty" at the Boston Film Festival. "Saturday Night Live" cast member Bobby Moynihan stars in the film, but he hasn't seen it yet. "I'm really curious to see it," said Moynihan. "The script is so good." ("Glee" guy Mike O'Malley wrote the script.) But Moynihan won't be hanging around long. He told us he has turn right around and head back to New York to start work on the new season of "SNL." (The 37th season starts Sept. 24.) "Alec Baldwin is hosting for the 16th time, which beats Steve Martin's record of 15," said Moynihan. "Alec's good at it. He could be a cast member today if he wanted to be. He just gets it. He shows up and delivers." Asked if Baldwin might actually run for mayor of New York, as some Democrats hope, Moynihan sounded optimistic. "That would be great," he said. "I'm not very political, but Alec Baldwin is someone I can understand."

Original article available at


Boston Film Festival: One-night stands, partying single parents and BDSM!

By Pat Healy/Metro
Boston / September 15, 2011

Boston Film Festival has a lot of stars coming through town this week, but the real reason to get excited is the indie films themselves. Metro shares a few highlights

'After Fall, Winter'
Friday, 8:45 p.m.
If Romeo and Juliet got into BDSM as they got older, then they might have been a little bit like the characters in this drama, which will have its world premiere this weekend. Eric Schaeffer wrote, directed and stars in this film, which explores the darker sides of sexuality, loneliness and love.

Schaeffer may have bitten off more than he should be able to chew, as his acting is at times a weak link, but every other aspect is quite effective and much of it will stay with you long after the credits roll, from the odd sweetness of his Parisian romance to the touching side story of dying girl in a hospital — and, oh yeah, all that BDSM stuff too.

'Fully Loaded'
Saturday, 7:15 p.m.
Will Ferrell's right-hand man Adam McKay is a producer of this film, which will have its East Coast premiere this weekend. The action plays out like an improvised comedy show and provides interesting character studies of two single moms who are trying to live it up as best they can on their night off from parental duties. They juggle their own reckless interests and parental responsibilities with easy rapport.

Original article available at

The Boston Herald

Plans for Sunday?

By Inside Track
September 15, 2011

Not that there's any question that "Glee" dad Mike O'Malley is a major league Boston sports fan, but the man actually thought about blowing off the Emmy Awards on Sunday night so he could be in the stands at the Patriots home opener in Foxboro.

"How sick is that?" asked O'Malley, who flies in from La-La tomorrow for the premiere of his dramedy, "Certainty," at the opening night of the Boston Film Festival. "I've worked in this business 20 years. This is the ultimate event of the year in the TV industry and 'Glee' is nominated. Not attending the Emmys is preposterous. But that's how my wife, Lisa, and I think. We'd rather watch Wes Welker run another 991?2 yards."

From your lips to God's ears, Mikey...

And speaking of wives and God, "Certainty" is about a couple's journey through the Catholic Church-mandated Pre-Cana marriage instruction. It stars Giancarlo Esposito, Bobby Moynihan, Tom Lipinski and Kristen Connelly.

Mike says the film isn't about his own "Marriage Encounter" experiences with Lisa, whom he met at a Super Bowl party in Boston in 1994. But it is based on his sister's trip down the Sacrament of Marriage Lane.

"She told me there was a couple in her group that might not be heading for marriage," he said. "The woman asked the guy, 'So what's with the dead guy on the cross, it's sort of creepin' me out?' And the guy says, 'That's sort of the entire point of the religion.'"

O'Malley said that's the beauty of Pre-Cana: answering questions, having the big talks.

"But when it comes down to it, it helps you pick the right person," he said.

"Certainty" opens the festival tomorrow at the Stuart Street Playhouse at 6:45 p.m.

Original article available at


Boston Fest Slates Six World Preems

'Certainty,' 'After Fall, Winter' slated for opening night

By Daniel Kimmel
September 6, 2011

Six world premieres are on the docket for the 27th edition of the Boston Film Festival, unspooling at the Stuart Street Playhouse Sept. 16-22.

Opening night will feature the world preem of "Certainty" with actors Giancarlo Esposito, Tom Lapinski and Bobby Moynihan expected to be joined by screenwriter Mike O'Malley, and of "After Fall, Winter" with writer-producer-director-star Eric Schaeffer and cast member Deborah Twiss in attendance.

On Sept. 21, director Jim Hemphill and stars Lea Thompson and John Shea will appear with their feature film "The Trouble With the Truth."

In addition, filmmakers Jennifer Jessum and Simon Joseph will bow their documentary "Holy Man: The USA vs. Douglas White," about an 88-year-old Lakota Sioux medicine man who spent 17 years in prison but was eventually cleared by evidence uncovered during the making of the film. Also making its debut is "How to Start a Revolution," a look at Gene Sharp and his non-violent approach to overthrowing dictators. The locally produced doc "Give Me a Shot of Anything: House Calls to the Homeless" will also be screened.

Unable to compete with bigger and more high-profile fests in Toronto and New York, Boston has tried to carve out a niche as a venue for indie films. In addition to the world premieres, a number of features and docus will have U.S. or regional premieres.

There will be sneaks of "Serial Buddies," with producer Maria Menounos and director Kevin Undergaro introing their film, and the HBO documentary "The Education of Dee Dee Ricks," about women and breast cancer, with both Ricks and director Perri Peltz expected to attend.

All told 17 features and docs have been scheduled, as well as two programs of shorts. The fest's closing-night film or films have yet to be announced.

For further information on the fest and the films go to

Contact the Variety newsroom at

Original article available at

The Boston Globe

O'Malley's Certainty to Open Boston Film Fest

By Mark Shanahan & Meredith Goldstein
Globe Staff / September 7, 2011

The Boston Film Festival announced its lineup yesterday, and it looks promising. The fest, which takes place at the Stuart Street Playhouse Sept. 16-22, kicks off with the world premiere of "Certainty," written by Mike O'Malley and starring Giancarlo Esposito, Adelaide Clemens, Tom Lipinski, Bobby Moynihan, Valerie Harper, and Tammy Blanchard. (O'Malley and at least a few of the actors will be here.) Another highlight of opening night will be "After Fall, Winter" from director/writer/actor Eric Schaeffer.

Original article available at

27th Boston Film Festival Announces Panel With Oscar® Nominated Filmmaker

Feature Film Submission Deadline Extended

For Immediate Release, June 23, 2011

BOSTON, June 23 — Oscar® nominated writer and Executive Producer of "The Fighter," Keith Dorrington will lead a panel discussion "From Script to Screen" at the 27th Boston Film Festival it was announced today. The BFF will run September 16-22, 2011 at the Stuart Street Playhouse in the heart of Boston's theater district. The program will showcase a combination of feature films, documentaries, and shorts. Also, the BFF has extended the deadline for Feature Film submissions to July 1, 2011.

Boston Film Festival Executive Director, Robin Dawson said, "The panel discussion affords attendees an opportunity to hear from an Academy Award® nominated writer-producer who has achieved outstanding success. We're excited to have Keith as a part of this year's festival." The City of Boston has become a hot bed for filmmakers as well as screenplays and was featured in three movies that received varying Oscar® nominations this year ("The Fighter," "The Social Network," "The Town").

The Boston Film Festival has a rich history of premiering some of Hollywood's top films as well as honoring renowned filmmakers and actors. Several awards are presented including a new category for Editing. Last year's honorees included Academy Award® winner Melissa Leo as well as Ed Burns, and Sam Rockwell who starred in Fox Searchlight's "Conviction" which was also named the festival's Best Film." Other noteworthy participants were Aaron and Jim Eckhart, Leslie Bibb, Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck, Todd Stashwick, Joelle Carter, Kerry Bische and Ryan Merriman.

Recent filmmakers and actors who were lauded by the BFF include; Uma Thurman, Greg Kinnear, Jerry Weintraub, Dane Cook, Val Kilmer, and Sir Ridley Scott. In addition to the film premieres, Boston's top chefs and restaurants host evening receptions where filmmakers and talent have the opportunity to network. For more information, please call the 27th Boston Film Festival, 617-523-8388 or visit the web site at

# # #

Previous Releases & Press

9/23/11 - Boston Globe: The Best of the Boston Film Festival

9/23/11 - Boston Herald: We Hear: Oprah Winfrey, Mike O'Malley, Tom Brady and More

9/22/11 - Boston Globe: Lea Thompson and John Shea Walk the Red Carpet

9/22/11 - Boston Herald: Film Explores 'Truth' Behind Love and Loss

9/21/11 - Boston Globe: Lea Thompson at the Boston Film Festival

9/20/11 - Boston Globe: Menounos in town to debut 'Serial Buddies'

9/20/11 - Boston Herald: Maria 'Buddies' up to Hub Film Fest

9/19/11 - Radio Boston: Boston Doc Makes Housecalls To The Homeless

9/19/11 - Boston Globe: Boston Film Festival Attracts Snow, Serratos

9/16/11 - Boston Globe: Boston Film Fest Opens

9/16/11 - Boston Herald: Stars Light Up Playhouse to Usher in Boston Flick Fest

9/16/11 - Boston Globe: Boston Film Fest Content Certainly Runs the Gamut

9/16/11 - Boston Herald: Hub Film Fest is Reel Deal

9/15/11 - The Phoenix: Attend This Film Fest: 27th Annual Boston Film Festival

9/15/11 - Boston Globe: Bobby Moynihan Gets His First Look at 'Certainty'

9/15/11 - Metro: Boston Film Festival: One-night stands, partying single parents and BDSM!

9/15/11 - Boston Herald: Plans for Sunday?

9/7/11 - Boston Globe: O'Malley's Certainty to Open Boston Film Fest

9/6/11 - Variety: Boston Fest Slates Six World Preems

9/23/10 - "Conviction" wins Best Picture; Ed Burns takes Best Director (.pdf)

9/22/10 - Scenes from the Boston Film Festival

9/24/10 - Boston Globe: Film Festival Wraps

9/20/10 - 'Mr. Bibb' Stops by 'Miss Nobody'

9/18/10 - Boston Globe: Brothers and 'Friends'

9/17/2010 - Stuff Magazine: Locked and Loaded: Chatting with Actress Eliza Dushku

9/15/10 - Gloucester Daily Times: Rockport Back On the Big Screen The 26th Boston Film Festival Presents Joshua Newton With Visionary Filmmaker Award for Motion Picture

9/17/10 - NECN: 'To Be Friends' debuts at this weekend's Boston Film Festival

9/16/10 - Radio Boston/WBUR: Boston Film Festival Brings Hollywood To Boston (audio)

9/13/10 - Boston Herald: Justice for Hillary Swank

9/12/10 - Boston Globe: Big names, eclectic lineup at Boston Film Festival

8/31/10 - Variety: Boston Fest Bakes Bows; Five World Premiers to Unspool at Festival

8/27/10 - Boston Globe: A Festival of Stars, Coverage (scroll down in article)

8/26/10 - Boston Film Festival attracts big-name stars, diverse stories to 26th annual celebration of film, Sept. 17-23 (.pdf)

5/6/10 - 26th Boston Film Festival Announces New Home (.pdf)

9/1/09 - Uma Thurman Will Receive Film Excellence Award at 2009 Boston Film Festival (.pdf)

9/7/09 - 25th Boston Film Festival Program includes 8 World Premieres, 26 Feature Films and 22 Short Films (.pdf)

9/25/09 - 25th Boston Film Festival Announces Award Winners (.pdf)

Boston Globe  Life and Style
The Hollywood Reporter  OK Magazine

Press Inquiries

Boston Film Festival
126 South Street
Rockport, MA 01966
Phone: (617) 523-8388


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