Documentary marathon at 2012 Independent Film Festival of Boston

Here’s my plan for a Sunday documentary marathon at the 2012 Independent Film Festival of Boston. All of the films below screen at the Somerville Theatre on Sunday, April 29, 2012. If you come to see one or more of these films, I’ll see you there!

Downeast (David Redmon & Ashley Sabin, 2012, 78 min.) at 12:15 p.m.

IFFB2012-DowneastIn 2010, the last sardine-canning factory in the United States—the Stinson Seafood cannery in Prospect Harbor, Maine—closed its doors, devastating the already economically depressed area and laying off 130 workers, some of whom had worked at the facility for 40 years or more. Enter Antonio Bussone, an Italian immigrant and owner of a Boston-based seafood company, who decides to buy the factory and convert it into a lobster-processing facility. Where others see the end of an era, Antonio sees opportunity: not only to build a new business, but also to bring exported jobs back to New England and revitalize a region. In a time when most US industries have moved offshore, Antonio’s idea seems almost foolhardy, but it galvanizes the community and makes him into a local hero. Still, Antonio will have to overcome small-town politics and overwhelming financial odds to see his dream to fruition.Girl Model meditates on numerous relevant issues: the demise of American industry, the struggles of the small-business owner, and the plight of an aging workforce that can’t afford to retire. But what makes the film truly riveting is the stalwart vision of the many colorful characters—from the proud factory laborers to the grizzled lobstermen to the outsider willing to sacrifice everything—who rally together and try to keep a sinking ship afloat. Directors David Redmon and Ashley Sabin will be in attendance. { Film description by Kristina Aikens, courtesy of Independent FIlm Festival of Boston }

Links: IFFB Film Page | Official site.

Love And Other Anxieties (Lyda Kuth, 2011, 66 min.) at 3:15 p.m.

IFFB2012-Love_and_other_anxietiesLyda Kuth is feeling anxious. Her only daughter is preparing to leave home to begin a new phase of her life in college, and Lyda finds herself stuck in neutral, worrying about what the future holds for her and her husband as new “empty-nesters.” Rather than suppressing these anxieties, Kuth allows them to inspire her and, with a camera in hand, begins to formulate questions about love, loss, and long-term commitment that lead her on an intellectual journey of her own. Love And Other Anxieties is a thoughtful meditation on the motivations and challenges of love in the 21st century. The film asks: What drives us to attach ourselves to others? Does the meaning of love change from generation to generation—or is it universally understood? Kuth interviews family members and friends, as well as filmmakers and writers such as Kyle Jarrow and Stephanie Coontz, in an effort to answer these complex questions. What she discovers is something more fulfilling and deeply personal than she ever expected. Director Lyda Kuth will be in attendance. { Film description by Amy Woodbury Tease, courtesy of Independent FIlm Festival of Boston }

Links: IFFB Film Page | Official site.

Girl Model (David Redmon & Ashley Sabin, 2011, 77 min.) at 5:00 p.m.

IFFB2012-Girl_ModelDespite a lack of obvious similarities between Siberia and Tokyo, a thriving model industry connects these distant regions. GIRL MODEL follows two protagonists involved in this industry: Ashley, a deeply ambivalent model scout who scours the Siberian countryside looking for fresh faces to send to the Japanese market; and one of her discoveries, Nadia, a 13-year-old plucked from the Siberian countryside and dropped into the center of Tokyo with promises of a profitable career. After Ashley’s initial discovery of Nadia, the two rarely meet again, but their stories are inextricably bound. As Nadia’s optimism about rescuing her family from their financial difficulties grows, her dreams contrast with Ashley’s more jaded outlook about the industry’s corrosive influence. Girl Model is a lyrical exploration of a world defined by glass surfaces and camera lenses, reflecting back differing versions of reality to the young women caught in their scope. As we move farther into this world, it more and more resembles a hall of mirrors, where appearances can’t be trusted, perception becomes distorted, and there is no clear way out. Will Nadia—and the other girls like her—be able to find anyone to help them conquer this maze? Or, will they follow a path like Ashley’s, having learned the tricks of the labyrinth, but remaining unable to escape its lure? Directors David Redmon and Ashley Sabin will be in attendance. { Film description by Callista Burns, courtesy of Independent FIlm Festival of Boston }

Links: IFFB Film Page | Official site.

Under African Skies (Joe Berlinger, 2012, 102 min.) at 8:00 p.m.

IFFB2012-Under_African_SkiesPaul Simon’s album Graceland was released to acclaim as well as criticism in 1986. Recorded in conjunction with local musicians in Johannesburg, it is an ebullient hybrid of western rock, pop, and a cappella infused with theisicathamiya vocal style and mbaqanga music indigenous to South Africa. The album went on to sell over 14 million copies. Twenty-five years after its release, filmmaker Joe Berlinger chronicles Simon’s journey to South Africa to reunite with the artists including Ladysmith Black Mambazo who collaborated on the opus declared by Time Magazine to be one of the top 100 albums of all time. Simon recounts the album’s tumultuous origins, the ground it broke musically, and the charges made by detractors who accused him of breaking a political boycott at a time when South Africa was still bound under the abhorrent apartheid policy of racial segregation. These opponents suggested that Simon was a cultural opportunist exploiting these African musicians and perpetuating colonialism. Conversely, he also garnered praise from others for showcasing the work of musicians subjugated under apartheid, who would otherwise never have been heard. Under African Skies reflects on the complicated collision of art and politics as it explores the role and responsibilities of artists in society. The recollections of Simon and his musical partners reveal the context and magnitude of their achievement and its long-lasting influence on the world-music movement. { Film description by Callista Burns, courtesy of Independent FIlm Festival of Boston }

Links: IFFB Film Page | Official site.


  1. Paul Thompson says

    Wow, what an amazing lineup you’ve selected. I am going to the Paul Simon film for sure!