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    JFK, as remembered by a New Englander

    President Kennedy and his predecessor, Dwight Eisenhower, at Camp David in April 1961.
    Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
    President Kennedy and his predecessor, Dwight Eisenhower, at Camp David in April 1961.

    Filmmaker Robert Kline’s long list of credits includes documentaries on Presidents Clinton and Reagan. He is also the former vice president of production at 20th Century Fox and cofounder of Lifetime Television. But it was his 2008 film adaptation of Thomas Maier’s book, “The Kennedys: America’s Emerald Kings,” that provided the calling card that led to his latest documentary, “JFK Remembered: 50 Years Later.”

    Boston native Thomas Lucas of Warner Home Video tapped Kline to make a new film that would be included in a deluxe DVD box set called “JFK (Ultimate Collector’s Edition)” that debuts Nov. 12. “JFK Remembered: 50 Years Later,” directed by Kline and co-produced by his wife, Stephanie Heredia, is one of five films in the package (see DVD releases, Page N9).

    The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum was instrumental in supplying the historical footage for Kline’s film. “As a national archives they’re compelled by federal law to answer your requests. But it’s no secret that if Oliver Stone called them, they’d have to give him access but they wouldn’t return his call for six weeks,” says Kline, who was in Boston recently for a preview screening and discussion at the Brattle Theatre.


    “JFK Remembered,” which will also be sold separately and is available at the Kennedy Library, covers Kennedy’s political ascent, the 1960 presidential election, and the milestones in his presidency, from the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban Missile Crisis to civil rights and the space race. There’s generous footage of Kennedy’s speeches, press conferences, television addresses, and some rarely seen home movies. These were the most moving for Kline. “Seeing him, 50 years later, teaching his son to swim in a pool; seeing Jackie thanking the American people [after the assassination] — those human moments were a surprise.”

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    Kline, 72, a native of Maine, says he made the film for future generations, including those he teaches at the University of Southern California. “[JFK] is as relevant today as when he was alive,” says the filmmaker. “When he died a little bit of me died. I went to work for his brother Bobby as head of TV and media, and when Bobby died, I walked away from politics and signed a deal to be head of Fox because I didn’t want to be hurt anymore.” It was Kline’s choice that “JFK Remembered” not dwell on Nov. 22, 1963. “This film is about his life and legacy. He’d be [96] today but we don’t have to see him as an old man. He died at 46; frozen in time.”

    Turkish film competition

    One of the premiere cultural events for the region’s Turkish community is the Boston Turkish Film Festival, which takes place in the spring. But many of the selections in that festival will screen first at the 18th annual Boston Turkish Festival’s Documentary and Short Film Competition, running through Nov. 16 at the Museum of Fine Arts and Boston University. Forty films will screen this year, culled from more than 200 submissions, says festival founder and director Erkut Gomulu, who is president of the Turkish American Cultural Society of New England, which sponsors the event with the MFA Film Program. Among the many notable entries are Yelda Yanat Kapkin’s “36 Boys,” a documentary about Turkish immigrants living in Germany; Gülten Taranç’s short “Consensus,” about female workers in a lingerie factory; and Can Candan’s documentary “My Child,” about the Turkish parents of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender children who are redefining what it means to be family in a conservative, homophobic, and trans-phobic society.

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    Small-town trials

    The DocYard returns to the Brattle Theatre with two films about economic decline in small-town America. “Hollow,” screening on Nov. 13, examines the story of one rural community in West Virginia coal country. Co-presented with the MIT Open Documentary Lab, the screening will feature the creators of “Hollow,” including director-producer and Emerson College grad Elaine McMillion. On Nov. 14, the DocYard presents “Medora,” which follows the high school basketball team of a once-thriving rural community as it tries to reverse its losing streak. Co-directors Andrew Cohn and Davy Rothbart and subjects of the film will engage in a post-film discussion moderated by Globe film editor Janice Page. Tickets for each film are $10 and can be purchased online at or at the Brattle box office.

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    Gloucester festivities

    The Cape Ann Community Cinema at 21 Main St., Gloucester, hosts its 6th Annual Cape Ann Film Festival, running through Nov. 17. Filmmakers making an appearance include director Chris Szwedo, whose “Eye on the Sixties” (screening Nov. 14 at 7:30 p.m.) shines a light on photographer Rowland Scherman; Jason DaSilva, director and star of “When I Walk” (Nov. 16 at 5 p.m.), who will chat on Skype after the screening of his film; and Danvers-based writer-actor Matt Farley, who presents his horror film “Don’t Let The Riverbeast Get You!,” directed by Charles Roxburgh, on Nov. 16 at 10 p.m.

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    Award winners


    Jenna Sullivan and Quentin James from Marshfield were the grand prize winners for best screenplay at this year’s FLICKERS: Rhode Island International Film Festival Screenplay Competition. Their “Growing Things” was selected from among 371 submissions. . . . At the conclusion of its recent debut, the Boston International Kids Film Festival chose local producer-director Tony Bennis’s “Jahmol’s Vision for Youth Peace” (co-directed by Mike King) as best documentary, Mongolian filmmaker Babar Ahmed’s “Amka and the Three Golden Rules” as best feature, and Brazilian director Gui Pereira’s “The Adventures of Sheriff Kid McLain” as best foreign film.

    Loren King can be reached at