< Boston Film Festival

36th Annual Boston Film Festival Winners & Schedule

The Boston Film Festival closed out the 36th program on Sunday, September 28. A strong program of feature, documentary, and short films were presented virtually that included Q & A panels with directors and talent. Three films had theatrical premieres at the Showplace Icon Seaport. The 2020 BFF screened at the ShowPlace Icon Seaport. A special screening of Jay Leno’s Garage show was offered that includied a discussion with Jay Leno during which he was presented The 36th Boston Film Festival Excellence in Entertainment award for the CNBC show. The sponsors for the 2020 BFF were AETN, Showplace Icon Seaport, BCA Financial, and Barletta Company.

Our Winners of the 36th Annual Boston Film Festival
  • Best Film - Paper Spiders Director Inon Shampanier; Writers Natalie Shampanier, Inon Shampanier
  • Best Actor - Ulanbek Sultangaziev “After the Rain” (Jamgyrdan Kiin)
  • Best Actress - Lili Taylor Paper Spiders
  • Best Screenplay - Paper Spiders Natalie Shapanier, Inon Shampanier
  • Best Director - Niels Mueller Small Town Wisconsin
  • Best Cinematography - Memory of Water Cinematographer Sung-chan Ha, Director Jaeun Chin
  • Best Story - Beyond Zero Nathan Havey, Writer
  • Best Editing - The Girl Who Wore Freedom Editor Bill Ebel
  • Best Ensemble Cast - Paper Spiders Lili Taylor, Stefania LaVie Owen, Ian Nelson, Peyton List, David Rasche, Max Casella, Michael Cyril Ceighton, Tom Papa
  • Audience Favorite - This Hits Home Director Sydney Scotia
  • Best Music - Small Town Wisconsin SNicholas Jacobson-Larson, Cinematographer
  • Best Documentary - The Girl Who Wore Freedom Director: Christian Taylor
  • Best Animated Film - If Anything Happens, I Love You Directors: Will McCormack, Michael Govier
  • Mass Impacy Award - Me The People Directors Dan Shannon, Isabelle Depelteau
  • Eco Film - Beyond Zero Nathan Havey Director
  • Best Short - I Can Change Jim Jenkins, Director

This Years Schedule & Lineup

Small Town in Wisconsin
The Girl Who Wore Freedom
  • Theater Release Show Time & Date: 6:45pm Thurs, Sep. 24
  • Location Virtual & Boston Showplace Icon Theater
  • Running time: 90 Min
  • Directors: Christian Taylor
  • Producers: Christian Taylor, David Patterson, Terry Jun
  • Writers: Christian Taylor, Julie Danis, Bill Ebel
  • Cast: Christian Taylor, Dany Boucherie, Jean-Marie Boucherie, Flo Plana, Marie Pascale LeGrand, Maurice LeCoeur, Patrick Fissot, Eric Belloc, Henri-Jean Renaud, Denise LeConte
  • Synopsis: A documentary detailing the relationship between citizens of Normandy and their unique relationship with the Allied forces who liberated Normandy on June 6th, 1944. The journey from occupation to liberation, is explored through interviews with French survivors and American veterans, in a powerful and personal film that tells stories handed down over two generations.
Paper Spiders
Paper Spiders
(East Coast Premiere) Feature Film
  • Theater Release Show Time & Date: 9:00pm Thurs, Sep. 24
  • Location Virtual & Boston Showplace Icon Theater
  • Running time: 109 min
  • Directors: Inon Shampanier
  • Producer: Anne Clements, Ash Christian
  • Writers: Natalie Shampanier, Inon Shampanier
  • Cast: Lili Taylor as “Dawn”, Stefania LaVie Owen as “Melanie”, Peyton List as “Lacy”, David Rasche as “Bill”, Max Casella as “Gary”, Michael Cyril Creighton as “Mr. Wessler”, Ian Nelson as “Daniel”, Tom Papa as “Howard”
  • Synopsis: All Melanie wants is a normal senior year, but her life turns upside down when her mother Dawn begins to suffer from paranoid delusions. Melanie recently lost her father, and cannot bear to watch her mother lose her mind. Melanie attempts a series of interventions, but challenging Dawn’s reality destroys their relationship. As Dawn’s paranoia spirals out of control, Melanie is forced to make the toughest of choices. A bittersweet story about coming of age in the shadow of mental illness.
  • Q & A Panel: Inon Shampanier, Natalie Shampanier, Lili Taylor Moderator Jonathon Buckley
Small Town in Wisconsin
Small Town Wisconsin
(U.S. Premier) Feature Film
  • Theater Release Show Time: 7:30pm Thurs, Sep. 24
  • Location Virtual & Boston Showplace Icon Theater
  • Running time: 110 min
  • Directors: Niels Mueller
  • Producers: Scott K. Foley, Josh Rosenberg, Hongtao Liu
  • Writers: Jason Naczek
  • Cast: David Sullivan as “Wayne”, Bill Heck as “Chuck”, Kristen Johnston as “Alicia”, Cooper J. Friedman as “Tyler”, Tanya Fischer as “Deidra”, Mark Borchardt as “Store Clerk”
  • Synopsis: Wayne Stobierski is the most fun-loving, hardest-living party animal in Rhinelander, Wisconsin (population 7,798). Just ask his favorite wingman, Tyler, who’s seen it all, lived it all, loved it all. Only problem? Tyler is Wayne’s nine-year-old son. When Wayne learns the devastating news that he is losing shared custody and that his beloved wingman will be moving far away, he plans a special weekend for his son to remember him by -A trip to the big city of their dreams Milwaukee, Wisconsin (population 592,025).
  • Q & A Panel: Niels Mueller, David Sullivan, Bill Heck, Moderator Jonathon Buckley

September 24th 4:00pm - Virtual Content Available

After The Rain
After The Rain
(East Coast Premiere) Feature Film
  • Running time: 116 Min
  • Directors: Chingiz Narynov
  • Producers: Eugenia Chung, Zarnigar Marlenova
  • Writers: Eugenia Chung, Richard Hewitt
  • Cast: Nazbiike Aidarova, Sakyn Karabaev, Ulanbek Sultangaziev, Taalaikan Abazova, Anvar Osmonaliev, Omurbek Nurdinov
  • Synopsis: Suyun, the beloved, youngest daughter of the Sultanbekova family, mysteriously goes missing one afternoon. A devastating phone call reveals that she has been kidnapped by an unknown man to be his sudden bride. As Suyun is driven further away from her family’s grasp, the Sultanbekovas must now face against all odds—come trial or shame—to bring her back.
The Memory of Water
The Memory of Water
(U.S. Premiere) Documentary
  • Running time: 97 Min
  • Directors: Jaeun, Chin
  • Writers: Yunmi, Kim
  • Writers: Christian Taylor, Julie Danis, Bill Ebel
  • Cast: Harang, Han
  • Synopsis: Water remembers everything. That memory is life as water is life. Water does not hesitate to flow onward as life does not fear moving forward. This is the enigmatic law of nature. The fields that contain this water are where the water’s memories come to life. Ten years ago, casted aside in political turmoil, one man began biological agriculture. And ten years later, the now-deceased farmer runs into a boy who communicates with nature without fear. This boy is the farmer himself. The water’s memory erases the boundary between life and death. It’s never existed to begin with. The farmer and the boy remain eternally alive through the water’s memory. And life does not stop and it does not fear.
Me The People
Me The People
(U.S. Premiere and World Theatrical Premiere) Documentary
  • Running time: 76 min
  • Directors: Dan Shannon, Isabelle Depelteau
  • Producer: Dan Shannon
  • Writers: Isabelle Depelteau
  • Synopsis: Me The People explores how elected leaders of western countries increasingly use wedge politics on key divisive issues, giving rise to a new kind of populist leader. They are disruptors with a new playbook. But are they also expressing the will of the people?
  • Q & A Panel: Dan Shannon, Isabelle Depelteau
STRO: The Michael D'Asaro Story
STRO: The Michael D'Asaro Story
(East Coast Premiere) Documentary
  • Running time: 88 min
  • Directors: Greg Lynch Jr., Doug Nichols
  • Producer: Mark Headley, Doug Nichols, Greg Lynch Jr.
  • Writers: Greg Lynch Jr.
  • Synopsis: Michael D'Asaro impacted thousands of lives around the world as a renowned saber fencer and coach by using fencing as a metaphor for life.
  • Q & A Panel: Greg Lynch Jr., Doug Nichols
This Hits Home
This Hits Home
(World Premiere) Documentary
  • Running time: 75 Min
  • Directors: Sydney Scotia
  • Producers: Sydney Scotia
  • Synopsis: THIS HITS HOME introduces audience members to fearless survivors, grassroots workers acting to end domestic violence and leading neurologists. Together, they unearth the intersection of traumatic brain injury and domestic violence, but more importantly, tell a compelling story of science, sorrow and strength.
  • Q & A Panel: Sydney Scotia
Jay Leno's Garage
Jey Leno's Garage (Special Screening)
  • Running time: -
  • Host and Executive Producer: Jay Leno
  • Executive Producer: Jeff Hasler, Jeff Bumgarner, Ernie Avila, Brian Lovett, Abby Schwarzwalder
  • Executive Producer For CNBC: Adam Barry
  • Supervising Producer: David Swift
  • Producer: Helga Pollock
  • Synopsis: CNBC’s “Jay Leno's Garage” is a star-studded, action-packed exploration of all things automotive. Leno and his celebrity friends cross the country in celebration of anything on four wheels - from extravagant supercars to the wildest art cars, never forgetting that it's the people behind the wheel who provide the real stories. In this episode, Jay Leno explores some of the world’s toughest vehicles. First, he takes comedian Kevin Hart on a near-deadly ride in one of the most outrageous off-road vehicles in the world. Then, he puts Storm-chaser Reed Timmer’s “Dominator” stormproof vehicle to the test against a jet airplane. Later, he meets some off the toughest drivers in the world— injured veterans who use high-speed racing as rehabilitation. And finally, Jay pushes the world’s fastest armored car -- and himself -- to the limit. “Jay Leno’s Garage” is produced by Original Productions, a Fremantle Company, and Kitten Kaboodle, with Jay Leno, Jeff Hasler, Jeff Bumgarner, Ernie Avila, Brian Lovett and Abby Schwarzwalder as executive producers. Adam Barry is the executive producer for CNBC.
  • Q & A Panel: Jay Leno and Moderator Jonathon Buckley

  • The Magical Forest and the Things (4:10 min) Director: Dave Russo Cast: Calliope Pietrewicz, medeline Leue Synopsis: 6 year old narrator teams up with illustrator during Covid19 to tell a hand drawn animated story about human consumption and the social reinforcements that affect it.
  • Eulogy (6:17 min) Director: Mateo Willis | Producer: Basil Stephens, Fred Robinson | Cast: Craig Conway, Tom Ashley, Rose Ackroyd Synopsis: Moments before his funeral, a father’s dark past threatens the fragile peace between two brothers.
  • T.I.O.L.I. Revolt: We’re Not Going to Take It (Or Leave It) (9:54 min) Director: Andrew Cromartie, Janet Forest | Producer: Andrew Cromartie, Janet Forest | Cast: Pete Sendelbach, Cynthia Csabay, Bill Mogenson, Lisa Lazarus, Casey Boukus Synopsis: The regulars of Nantucket's Take It Or Leave It are met with a crisis when a new policy is put in place.
  • Alina (24:51 min) Director: Rami Kodeih | Producer: Rachelle Owen, Joshua Owen, Nora Mariana, Rami Kodeih, Rubber Duck Films, Courtney Prather Synopsis: As Nazis separate children from their parents in the Warsaw Ghetto, a gang of women risks everything to smuggle their friend's three-month-old baby to safety. Inspired by true events.
  • Push Harder (13:16 min) Director: Korey McIsaac | Producer: Korey McIsaac, Katerina Baruffi, Matthew Yaldezian | Cast: Caitlin Reilly, Korey McIsaac, Jenna Perusich Synopsis: Kelly and Josh have plans to hit a celebrity filled Halloween party, but are sidetracked by an untimely kidney stone that threatens their night.
  • One Heck of a Game (17:48 min) Director: Karen DeLuca Stephens | Producer: Karen DeLuca Stephens | Cast: Peter Gravallese, Mike English Jr., Keley Russo, Michael Giglio, Ed Porzio, Leonardo Giglio Synopsis: In the summer of 1937 during the Depression a group of 13 year old boys from an Italian immigrant neighborhood of Boston forms a baseball team. They hunt up uniforms and equipment; they join a citywide league alongside 27,000 other boys. They win every game to reach the championship, a game that is played in Fenway Park. They win by one run on an infield home run in the bottom of the last inning. Four years later they enlist and fight in WWII. ONE HECK OF A GAME recounts a baseball game and its transformative power.
  • Night Sky (14:04 min) Director: Greg Rulfs | Producer: Abdul Choudhury | Cast: Kai Everest, Leah Rose Randall, Alexa Alemanni, Mark Anthony Petrucelli, Matthew J. Cates Synopsis: In the months after losing his father, 9-year-old Sam Collins retreats into his imagination as he works through his feelings of grief. The film explores the role of childlike wonder and imagination in contemplating death and what happens to people when they die. Sam spends hours in a make-believe spacecraft in his bedroom where he pretends to explore the galaxy. After finding a radio in the basement of his house, Sam meets a young girl, Marie, who lures him out of his isolation and inspires him to make contact with the International Space Station.
  • Breaking the Silence (26:48 min) Director: Seayoon Jeong | Producer: Seayoon Jeong, Robert Caudy, Gema Interiano | Cast: Grace Shen, Grace Chim, Rumi Oyama Synopsis: Francesca, tormented by her past for nearly forty years, finally breaks the silence to tell the truth about her past.
  • Hasta Domingo Soy Gringo (16:15 min) Director: Daniel Novarro | Producer: Heather Vaxer Cast – Arwen Monzon-Sanders, Kevin Ramirez, Nahuel Gorosito, Joshua Gleiser, Daniel Noriega, Peter Celos, Daniel Novarro University Woman’s Crew Team Synopsis: Teleported to an unfamiliar world, an insecure teenager must chase after his kid-genius stepsister and return her home before their mom gets back from dinner.
  • On the Whistle (20 min) Director: TJ Noel-Sullivan | Producer: Eric Bloomquist | Cast: Danny Johnson, Aidan Peluso Synopsis: A suburban basketball star struggles to impress the uncompromising coach at his new inner-city school.
  • I Can Change (15 min) Director: Jim Jenkins | Producer: Greg McCollum, Marc Grill, John Hoogenakker | Cast: John Hoogenakker, Lucy Cudden, Annie Sertich, Kimberly Dooley, Matt Newell Synopsis: The night before his wedding, an underachiever receives the power to stop time, so he attempts to make major life changes his fiancé wants him to make, all before morning.
  • One Last Heist (9:50 min) Director: Darin Rose | Producer: Courtney Hicks, Darrin Rose, Cameron Macdonald | Cast: Suresh John, Darrin Rose, Ava Julien, Marito Lopez Synopsis: An armed robber sets up his heartbroken buddy on a meet cute - during a heist.
  • Crutch-Tap (7:32 min) Director: Michael Basha Producer: Carolyn Manetti, Abby Urban, Paul Broucek | Cast: Chas Harvey Synopsis: Years after the death of his older brother, a young man creates a new dance in his memory called Crutch_Tap. Now, he sets out to put on his first ever live show and unveil his new dance to the world, keeping the promises him and his brother made with each other many years ago.
  • Stickup Kid (19:30 min) Director/Writer: Daniel Yen Tu | Producer: Rollins Wimber Synopsis: A reformed teenage armed robber struggles to forget his past—but when a pair of criminals stick up his restaurant, he must use his former expertise to save the day.
  • Hail Mary (9:47 min) Director: Joe LaRocca | Producer Gautam Chopra, Joe LaRocca | Cast: Maggie Haesler, Miki Peiffer, Robin Rapaport, Mimi Walsh, Luke Macannuco, Fiona Hewes, Hadley Durkee Synopsis: A girl with cystic fibrosis sneaks out of the hospital to go to her high school prom.
  • If Anything Happens, I Love You (9:47 min) Director: Will McCormack, Michael Govier | Producer: Maryann Garger, Gary Gilbert, Gerald Chamales, Michael Govier, Laura Dern, Jayme Lemons, Peter Morgan, Sydney Holland, Will McCormack Synopsis: Grieving parents struggle with the loss of their daughter after a school shooting. An elegy on grief.
  • Bye, Circle (19:24 min) Director/Writer: Tae Young Kim | Producer: Hee Won Lee | Cast: Hyung Suk Jung, Eric ( Sebastian ) Taylor, Ashley Taylor Synopsis: Here is a man who has lived in his own narrow miserable circle. Then one day unexpectedly a boy comes into his life.
  • Juicy Girl (15:30 min) Director: MJ Kim | Producer: Mark Montgomery, Katharine Kim, Kaiwi Lyman | Cast: Kaiwi Lyman Synopsis: ‘Juicy Girl’ is based on events surrounding the murders of several of the many Korean women committed by US Army personnel since the Korean War of the 1950’s.
  • The Abandoned Block (5:45 min) Director/Producer: James Bourne Synopsis: A useless, damaged, forgotten block of marble after years of neglect, emerges as one of the greatest and most beautiful works of art.
  • The Obituary Of Jasper James (22 min) Director: Ryan Fenson-Hood | Producer/Cast: Bill Mack Synopsis: Join Jasper at the cemetery. His home in the city has been lost and a mausoleum in the graveyard will be his new apartment. His book of poetry is on sale and Tatyana is coming for a visit.
  • NINE (8:30 min) Director: Jane Musky | Producer: Jane Musky and Robert Morrison | Cast: Boston University Woman’s Crew Team Synopsis: A history of the one of the first Women’s Crew teams to petition for the right to organize in 1973, after the passage of TITLE 9. This is their story.
  • I'm Not Lying (15:30 min) Director: Weiyu Sun | Cast: Chen Chen Julian Synopsis: How can a Chinese girl survive in a Chinese red terrorist political struggle!
  • Bonecrusher (12:45 min) Director: Jim Morrison IV | Producer: Alex Jordan, Jim Morrison IV | Cast: Marc John Jeffries, Patrick Kerton, Pedro Salvin, Ache Hernandez, Alejandro Ampudia, Andres Romos Salido Synopsis: True Story - 1923: drunken Mariachi music reels across a smoke-filled Mexican boxing stadium as two aging fighters -- one white, one black -- meet in the centre of the ring. Jim “The Fireman” Flynn towers over his opponent, Sam “The Bonecrusher” Langford. It is a fight to the finish and one of them has a secret.
  • Umama (20 min) Director/Writer: Talia Smith | Producer: Nora Zubizarreta | Cast: Connie Chiume, Malibongwe Mdwaba Synopsis: The morning after having made a promise to celebrate her son's academic achievement, Domestic worker Sibongile wakes to find he is missing. Despite her worries about her missing son, Sibongile must care for the children of her employer in order to get home and keep her promise.

September 26th - Virtual Content Available

"25" Tony Conigliaro: The Documentary (World Premier) Feature Documentary
  • Release time: 4:00pm Eastern Time
  • Running time: 60 mins
  • Directors: John Ippolito
  • Producer: John Ippolito
  • Cast: Joe Malone, Mike Lynch, Richie Conigliaro, Lenny Clarke, Dan Duquette, Rico Petrocelli, Jim Lonborg, Luis Tiant, Frank Santarpio, Nick Verano, Richard Johnson
  • Synopsis: The heartfelt documentary “25” celebrates the difficult but triumphant struggle of former Boston Red Sox player Tony Conigliaro – who wore number 25 and was known as “Tony C” – who was struck by a pitch in 1967 and lost the use of his eye but still battled back to play again. The heartfelt film was written, directed and produced by John Ippolito of Yellow Box Entertainment. It showcases beloved Red Sox playing legends Rico Petrocelli, Jim Lonborg and Luis Tiant, former Red Sox general manager Dan Duquette as well as Boston sportscaster Mike Lynch, actor Lenny Clarke and Richie Cognigliaro. The film is narrated by former Massachusetts State Treasurer Joe Malone.
  • Q & A Panel: Panelists: John Ippolito; Jim Lonborg; Joe Malone: Dan Duquette | Special Guest Moderator: Bob Lobel
Beyond Zero
Beyond Zero
(World Premier) Documentary
  • Release time: 6:30pm Eastern Time
  • Running time: 82 min
  • Directors: Nathan Havey
  • Producer: Jim Havey
  • Writers: Nathan Havey
  • Synopsis: After a life-changing epiphany, the CEO of a global public company embarks on a high-stakes quest to eliminate all negative environmental impacts by 2020. To succeed, they must overcome deep skepticism, abandon the status quo, and ignite a new industrial revolution. Beyond Zero offers an inspirational roadmap for how business can reverse climate change.
  • Q & A Panel: Nathan Havey, Erin Meezan, Vice President and Chief Sustainability Office/Interface, Paul Hawken, acclaimed environmentalist

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