Since the demise in 2003 of the still-missed Boston International Festival of Women’s Cinema, there’s been a noticeable dearth of local festivals focused primarily on films made by and about females. “Female protagonists driving the narrative and leading the action” is the mission of Maine’s Bluestocking Film Series, which will take place July 17-18 in Portland. But Boston audiences will get to see a curated selection closer to home, featuring films from past Bluestocking events. It’s happening Friday at 7 p.m. at Boston University’s College of Communication, 640 Commonwealth Ave., Room 101. The Best of the Bluestocking Film Series comes courtesy of BU’s Film and Television Department’s Cinematheque and will showcase four short films from the series. Bluestocking founder Kate Kaminski, who is also a screenwriter and director, will be on hand for a post-screening discussion. The four films in the series include Rebecca Thomson’s “Slashed,” an Australian film that screened at Bluestocking in 2012, about the real and imagined world of a medical receptionist and TV cop show fan, and three films from the 2014 series: Swedish director Carin Bräck’s “Gretchen,” about a retired woman who decides she wants to go to jail; US director Chell Stephen’s “Crystal,” about a 17-year-old dancer eager to escape the mundane life of rural Ontario and pursue her dream of being a pop superstar; and New Zealand director Alex Kyo Won Lee’s “Kimbap,” about an isolated Korean immigrant and her daughter living in Auckland.
For more information, go to www.bluestockingfilms.com
31 and counting
Director David Au will be in attendance when his generational comedy, “Eat With Me,” about a traditional Chinese mother who moves into her estranged gay son’s Los Angeles apartment, opens the 31st annual Boston LGBT Film Festival next Thursday at 8 p.m. at the Institute of Contemporary Art. The festival runs through April 12 at the ICA, Emerson College’s Paramount Theater, the Museum of Fine Arts, and the Brattle Theatre. Other highlights include the East Coast premiere of “Out to Win,” a chronicle of the history of LGBT participation in professional sports, with director Malcolm Ingram in attendance, and Jenni Olson’s personal, poetic film essay “The Royal Road.” Films with local ties include Boston University film school graduate Jared Vincenti’s “Day of Youth,” shot in Boston, about a group of 20-somethings just out of college and navigating the future. There’s also Ellen Brodsky’s “The Year We Thought About Love,” which goes behind the scenes of the Boston Theater Offensive’s True Colors: OUT Youth Theater.
For more information, go to www.bostonlgbtfilmfest.net
Boston filmmaker Arthur Luhn’s locally shot 2010 film “Conned” was about a band of eccentric and dysfunctional criminals looking for one last score. Luhn takes on another venerable genre with his new film, the psychological thriller “The House Across the Street,” about new-girl-in-town Amy (Jessica Sonneborn), who begins to notice strange things happening in the neighborhood. Shot in East Bridgewater, Hanover, and Easton, the film will have its premiere screening April 9 at the AMC Boston Common, with red carpet festivities starting at 5 p.m. Luhn, a Boston University graduate who lives in Randolph, will attend with members of the cast and crew, including Jeremy Traub of Newton, who shot “Conned” and Luhn’s debut feature, “Golden Legacy” (2003), and who provided the visual effects for “The House Across the Street.” Local musician Munk Duane composed the music for the film and will provide the entertainment with his band at the after-screening party at the Emerald Lounge in the Revere Hotel. Tickets are $25, available at www.eventbrite.com/e/house-across-the-street-premiere-tickets-15677090600 . The film will be released to video-on-demand on April 10.
Vermont-based filmmaker Jay Craven will be at the West Newton Cinema April 10, when his 2013 film “Northern Borders” opens following the film’s yearlong 100 Town Tour. Craven shot the film, which stars Bruce Dern and Genevieve Bujold, in Vermont and New Hampshire. Based on the award-winning Howard Frank Mosher novel, it’s about 10-year-old Austen Kittredge (Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick), who in 1956 is sent to live on his grandparents’ Kingdom County Vermont farm, where wild adventures and long-festering family secrets abound. Dern’s crusty old codger character was inspired in part by Craven’s own colorful grandfather, J. P. Hatch, who attended Boston University (as did Craven), spent a year in a Massachusetts jail for grand larceny of $140,000 from the Boston branch of the Bank of Nova Scotia, was pardoned by the governor, and went on to serve as assistant secretary of agriculture under Franklin D. Roosevelt. “Northern Borders” is the result of a partnership between Craven’s nonprofit Kingdom County Productions and Marlboro College in Vermont, where he teaches film. More than 30 students from colleges throughout New England worked as cast or crew members. Craven’s next film is also set in New England. “Peter and John,” based on a novel by Guy de Maupassant and starring Jacqueline Bisset, was shot on Nantucket in 2014 and will be released this summer.
For more information, go to www.westnewtoncinema.com
To see what the next generation of moviemakers is turning out, head to the Coolidge Corner Theatre next Thursday (7-9 p.m., Movie House 2) for free screenings of new works by student filmmakers at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Emerson College, and Boston University. The first-time event, labeled the Coolidge Film Collective, is entirely student-run and will offer as many short films (10 minutes or less) as will fit into the two-hour program. “Our goal is to give fellow students a chance to be a part of a larger community and be exposed to the work that is relevant and contemporary to the Boston film scene,” says Mel Taing, a junior in the MassArt film/video program who is one of the producers of the event. “We’re focused on showing the range of what’s being made today. There’s a pretty wide divide between conventional narratives and avant-garde experimental film, and we hope to balance both forms. We will have a range of drama, comedies, and pure aesthetic experiences.”
For more information, go to www.coolidge.org
Loren King can be reached at email@example.com.