IFF BOSTON: Wrap-up/Top films

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Almost two weeks ago I attended the opening night of Independent Film Festival Boston 2011 and followed that appearance with a review of the festival’s first film, Being Elmo, which was posted right here on UTG. Following that screening, I attended a monstrous amount of additional screenings (some of which have already been reviewed both here and on our sister site The Body Count), but never really took much time to speak about the festival as a whole. However, now that I have had time to recover from the week’s events and take in the entire experience, I felt compelled to say something.

There’s literally no comparison to the atmosphere created when a group of cinemaphiles gather together, especially to discuss new films. IFF Boston brought over 90 films to festival goers, many of which even I (a self describe movie aficionado) hadn’t seen or heard of, which was perfect. You see, nowadays most promotional campaigns give too much away about films, especially when they’re smaller pictures trying to find and build an audience. This festival takes away that aspect for most film goers, allowing you the opportunity to watch the films without any outside influence aside from a possible poster sighting in the lobby or the blurb in the beautifully designed guidebook. On top of this feature, which is one I believe is priceless, is that IFF did a fantastic job of having the filmmakers on hand for Q & As following most films. In fact, of the dozen I saw, maybe two were without cast or crew on hand.

If you have never attended a film festival in your life and claim to love film, you need to find the nearest one to you and go, especially if it has an independent focus. IFF Boston was my first real film festival and I doubt I’ll ever miss another in my life (that is, if I have any say). As far as films, I saw many that I hope get wide distribution, but here are the three you need to see:

3. Fanny, Annie, & Danny – Written & Directed by: Chris Brown

Let me say from the beginning, this film is not for everyone. Then again, black comedy is meant to be polarizing, so I guess the fact I felt the need to say that cold be seen as an early sign of how great this film is. Centered around one hell of a dysfunctional family that’s falling apart before our eyes, Fanny, Annie, & Danny plays best to those of us with our own crazy families. Driven by great performances and a script sure to leave you feeling quite unsettled, I see this one being a cult favorite all year long.

2. The Troll Hunter – Written & Directed by: André Øvredal

Have you ever seen a piece of perfect Norwegian filmmaking? You’re about to. Øvredal’s The Troll Hunter blends monster movies and “found footage” in a way that’s both familiar, yet groundbreaking. We follow a group of student filmmakers who journey to the northern reaches of the world in search of trolls and, as you can probably guess, the troll hunter. Without giving too much away, let me just say that they find everything they’re looking for and the results are incredible. Featuring phenomenal CGI (especially considering this IS a small film), this is one well paced action film you need to seek out and watch immediately.

1. Bellflower – Written & Directed by: Evan Glodell
I already wrote quite a bit about this film, but words still cannot summarize how much I enjoyed this film as it was easily the best movie I saw at IFF Boston. Redefining DIY filmmaking and taking the phrase “relationship from hell” to a new level, Bellflower is movie so obviously made by genuine lovers of cinema that you can’t helped being sucked into each and every frame. From the badass car (which you’ll see in the trailer below), to the intensely climatic final moments, there is nothing about this film that doesn’t deserve praise and applause. Find it. Watch it. Support it.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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