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The Independent Film Festival of Boston: The Outstanding Underappreciated Gem of Film Festivals

By Dustin Rowles | Miscellaneous | March 24, 2011 |

By Dustin Rowles | Miscellaneous | March 24, 2011 |

I really enjoy going to both the Sundance Film Festival and SXSW. They’re each great in their own unique ways, but as a filmgoer, they’re both also huge pains in the ass. They’re expensive, and to do them right, you spend as much or more time standing in line as you do watching the films. As someone who just loves viewing the films without dealing with all of that other crap, there is no film festival better than the Independent Film Festival of Boston.

IFFBoston is an awesome way to catch many of those films that originally screened at Sundance and SXSW, in addition to a nice collection of premieres, while not having to deal with the hassle. The tickets are inexpensive, you can buy them in advance (or, in some cases, walk right up to the box-office before the show), and you can walk into the theater without having to stand in line for an hour and a half (although, for the big films, it’s good to get there early to get a decent seat). The theaters — the Somerville Theater in Davis Square, Coolidge Corner in Brookline, and the Brattle in Harvard Square — are better than what’s offered at Sundance, and they’re tucked into the three best neighborhoods in the greatest city in America (in my opinion, at least). And the food options in those areas are outstanding. Even better: At IFF Boston, you actually have time to eat without worrying about getting into another line. You don’t have to cab or shuttle around the city — you can take the Subway — and you don’t have to worry, during one film, about making it out in time to stand in the line for another film. One of my favorite parts of the festival: You’re not constantly surrounded by obnoxious industry types.

Plus, the people who run the festival are outstanding. It’s a neighborhood film festival — so it’s more about the films, and not as much about the “festival experience,” which in my experience usually entails running, rushing, standing in line, mediocre food, and little sleep.

This year’s film festival runs from April 27 - May 4th. If you live in Boston, check it out. If you live in New England, do what I do: Take the Amtrak into the city for the weekend and see as many movies as possible (TK’s basement, unfortunately, will not be an option, as I’ve already called dibs on the shackles).

The film titles for the festival have been announced, and there’s a lot of films playing there that we have raved about at the last two festivals, like Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop (which is actually playing in Conan’s hometown of Brookline), 13 Assassins, the documentary, Being Elmo, the wonderful coming-of-age film, Submarine (from director Richard Ayoade), Miranda July’s The Future, Project Nim, Page One: A Year Inside the New York Times, Bellflower, Hot Coffee, and quite a few films we’ll discover for the first time at the festival. (The doc schedule is particularly good this year).

So, if you’re in the area, plan on being in the area, or want an excuse to visit the area, look it up. The Red Sox are also in town that weekend, if you want to combine outings.

Check out the website, where you can see a complete list of films being screened or even buy a film pass, which allows you — for only $200 — to see as many films as you can possibly fit into an eight-day period.