Actor Andy Garcia will be the guest of honor at the opening of the 29th annual Boston Film Festival on Friday. Garcia’s newest film, “At Middleton,” which he also produced, screens in Theatre 1 at the Revere Hotel Boston Common. Attending with Garcia is the film’s director, Adam Rogers. Both will participate in a Q&A following the screening.
“At Middleton,” which costars Vera Farmiga, explores two different parents who accompany their offspring on a tour of a bucolic campus. While the prospective students take the tour and contemplate the next four years of their lives, strait-laced George (Garcia) and free-spirited Edith (Farmiga) recapture their youth for a day, complete with unexpected emotions, disappointments, and the ache of what might have been. Farmiga’s real-life daughter, Taissa Farmiga, plays her daughter in the film.
Running through next Sunday, the BFF also brings to town actor Brian Geraghty (“Boardwalk Empire,” “The Hurt Locker”) with his latest movie, “Kilimanjaro” (screens Saturday). Written and directed by Walter Strafford, “Kilimanjaro” is a variant on the mid-life crisis movie, with Geraghty as a book editor who copes with a breakup and his dead-end job by planning a hike up Mount Kilimanjaro, despite a lack of money, parents who pressure him to settle down, and an ambiguous relationship with his newly ex-girlfriend. “In making ‘Kilimanjaro,’ I wanted to champion the person who aspires to more than an ordinary life,” says Strafford. “I had observed my own inability to see beyond my immediate financial needs and I wanted to celebrate the pursuit of something greater.”
Also attending the BFF is documentary filmmaker Angela Sun. Her environmental expose, “Plastic Paradise” (Saturday), looks at what decades of disposed-of but nondegradable plastic have done to the ocean. Sun sets out to investigate what the tons of plastic debris in the ocean does to the ecosystem. She travels to Midway atoll, known as the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch,” and offers some alarming information that might cause viewers to think twice about buying one-time-use water bottles.
The festival includes two locally shot films: Jesse Peyronel’s “Siren” (next Sunday), a romantic drama filmed in Millis. It stars Vinessa Shaw and Robert Kazinsky, who will both be on hand. The BFF presents the world premiere of Brian Dorrington’s documentary, “George of the Center” (next Sunday), about a Billerica activist committed to informing residents about an impending highway project that will dramatically alter the landscape of the town center.
Actor James C. Burns (“Transformers”) will be in attendance with the thriller “Coldwater” (next Sunday). Directed by Vincent Grashaw and costarring P. J. Boudousqué, Chris Petrovski, and Octavius J. Johnson, it’s about a teenager abducted from his home and thrown into a wilderness reform facility.
This Sunday the Brattle presents the world premiere of the documentary “From the Ground Up,” a film that asks: How is it possible that a few students can succeed where global powers and $600 billion in international aid have failed? “From the Ground Up” tells the inspiring and unlikely success story of a small group of Harvard students who created a sustainable program in Uganda to end childhood malnutrition. The film features economist Jeffrey Sachs along with Ugandan journalist Andrew Mwenda. Award-winning filmmakers Karen Day and Andy Lawless, along with the featured Harvard students, will be present for a discussion following the film.
Go to www.brattlefilm.org.
Seventy-five years ago this month, Orson Welles famously fooled the nation with his radio broadcast of H. G. Wells’s classic “War of the Worlds.” Now Garen Daly, who is directing a documentary about the late, great Orson Welles Cinema complex in Cambridge, has assembled a cast of local luminaries to re-create the notorious radio broadcast live onstage at the Regent Theatre, in Arlington. It will take place Oct. 31 at 7:30 p.m., with proceeds going to Daly’s documentary, which he expects to release in 2015.
The event at the Regent will feature a cast of local media celebrities, including Christopher Lydon, of WGBH; cultural reporter Joyce Kulhawik; RadioBDC on-air personality Henry Santoro; and Cha-Chi LoPrette, of WZLX.
“Tom Rush: No Regrets,” an 83-minute documentary about the influential folk singer, premieres at the New Hampshire Film Festival, in Portsmouth, where Rush was born. It will screen this Sunday at the Seacoast Repertory Theatre and will include a discussion and performance by Tom Rush. Directed by Todd Kwait and Rob Stegman, who directed “For the Love of the Music — The Club 47 Revival,” the new documentary includes rare concert footage of Rush, such as his recent appearances at Club Passim (formerly Club 47) and a 50th-anniversary celebratory concert at Boston’s Symphony Hall in December 2012.
Go to www.nhfilmfestival.com.Loren King can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.