Local films, festivals, and faces

Festivals and more on the summer film front

British Film Institute
Anna May Wong stars in “Piccadilly,” showing Monday at the Coolidge Corner Theatre.

If this summer’s fare at the multiplex depresses rather than entices, offerings on the local film schedule might be the perfect antidote. Besides destination festivals that deliver sun, fun, and eclectic programming, many area art and repertory houses will be providing a rich selection of films. It all starts Monday, so mark your calendars.

“Piccadilly,” Coolidge Corner Theatre, Monday at 7 p.m. After performing scores to silent classics including “Sunrise,” “It,” and “Battleship Potemkin,” Berklee College of Music professor Sheldon Mirowitz and his film-scoring students return with an original score for the restored 1929 silent film “Piccadilly,” starring Anna May Wong as a scullery maid turned nightclub dancer. Director E.A. Dupont weaves a sumptuous tale of rivalry, betrayal, and murder set in Jazz Age London. Film buffs will spot Charles Laughton, in his first feature film, in a cameo as a greedy nightclub diner and Ray Milland as a nightclub extra. Go to

NewportFILM Mini-Fest, Friday and Saturday. Four films screen at the Jane Pickens Theater, 49 Touro St., in Newport, R.I., starting with the documentary “Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present” and including the kid-friendly animated gem “A Cat in Paris.” NewportFILM also screens movies outdoors throughout the summer, beginning June 22. Go to www.newport


Festival Focus, Paramount Theatre, May 11-27. ArtsEmerson’s second annual showcase of recent highlights from the international film festival circuit includes Nadav Lapid’s “Policeman,” from Israel; Joachim Trier’s “Oslo, August 31st” from Norway; Kleber Mendonça Filho’s “Neighboring Sounds,” from Brazil, and Valérie Massadian’s “Nana,” from France. Go to www.arts

Outdoor screenings at the NewportFILM Mini-Fest in Rhode Island.

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The Early Films of Robert Downey Sr., Brattle Theatre, May 16 and 17. Downey père, known for his irreverent, underground ’60s films such as midnight movie mainstay “Putney Swope,” will be in person at the Brattle on May 16 to talk about his early work, followed by a screening of “Babo 73” and “Chafed Elbows.” Screenings on May 17 include “Putney Swope,” “No More Excuses,” and “Two Tons of Turquoise to Taos Tonight.” Go to www.brat

“The Story of Film: An Odyssey,” Museum of Fine Arts, May 16-27. Mark Cousins’s epic tour of the emotional and intellectual pleasures of cinema, framed in 15 one-hour chapters, is a treasure trove of clips, interviews with a who’s-who of filmmakers, and passionate, provocative commentary. Go to

Berkshire International Film Festival, May 31-June 3. The seventh annual BIFF showcases more than 70 independent features, documentaries, shorts, and family films. It kicks off in Great Barrington, then then moves to Pittsfield. Highlights include the documentaries “Ethel,” about Ethel Kennedy by her daughter, Rory Kennedy, and “Gregory Crewdson: Brief Encounters,” about the Western Massachusetts-based photographer. Go to

“The Anarchic Imagination of Alex Cox,” Harvard Film Archive, June 1-11. Starting with “Repo Man,” the HFA presents nine films from director Alex Cox, who will attend the festival on June 8-10 to introduce “Straight to Hell Returns,” “Searchers 2.0,” “Three Businessmen,” and “Edge City.” Go to


Provincetown International Film Festival, June 13-17. Centrally located and newly renovated, the Whaler’s Wharf Cinema will serve as the main venue for the PIFF’s 13th year of presenting diverse features, documentaries, and the chance to mingle with visiting celebrities and filmmakers. Go to

Roxbury International Film Festival, June 14-17. New England’s largest film festival celebrating people of color, the RIFF will screen more than 50 features, shorts, documentaries, and youth-produced works. S. Epatha Merkerson will be on hand June 17 for a post-screening discussion of her film, “The Contradiction of Fair Hope,” which traces the development and gradual loss of tradition of one of the last remaining benevolent societies formed by freed slaves throughout the South. Go to www.rox

Nantucket Film Festival, June 20–24. Nancy Meyers (“Something’s Gotta Give”) will receive the 2012 Screenwriters Tribute at this year’s event. Longtime friend and collaborator Diane Keaton will present. “Beasts of the Southern Wild” is the opening-night film. Go to www.nan

Boston French Film Festival, MFA, July 12-29. This annual Francophile’s delight offers the best of contemporary French cinema. Go to

Maine International Film Festival, July 13-22. The 15th annual Maine International Film Festival takes place in Waterville and features some 100 independent films over 10 days, with a spotlight on Maine and New England filmmakers. Go to


Wood’s Hole Film Festival, July 28-Aug 4. Now in its 21st year, this festival offers eight days of screenings, workshops, panel discussions, staged readings, special events, parties, and an awards ceremony. Go to www.woodsholefilmfest

Glovebox Short Film Animation Festival, August 4, Somerville Theatre. Launched last year as a platform for film artists and animators to exhibit their work, Glovebox is a fest of films of less than 25 minutes mostly by local filmmakers. Go to

Martha’s Vineyard African-American Film Festival, August 7-11. Founded in 2002 by Floyd and Stephanie Rance, of Run and Shoot Filmworks, the MVAAFF celebrates the work of independent African-American filmmakers. Go to www.mvaaff

Rhode Island International Film Festival, August 7-12. Known as “Flickers,” this 16-year-old festival screens dozens of international and independent films in Providence and throughout Rhode Island at festival partner locations. Go to

JAWSFEST: The Tribute, August 9-12, on Martha’s Vineyard.

This fan-centric event celebrates “Jaws,” which was shot on Martha’s Vineyard in 1974. There will be appearances by original cast and crew members, a museum-style exhibit of “Jaws” memorabilia, a shark conservation exhibit, and a tribute to Robert Shaw, Roy
Scheider, and Peter Benchley, followed by a screening of the film in Ocean Park, Oak Bluffs. Go to

Martha’s Vineyard International Film Festival, Sept. 6-9. The scenic setting offers plenty of parties and social events, along with a host of international films and special guests at this end-of-summer tradition. Go to www.mvfilm

Loren King can be reached at