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John Krasinski’s ‘The Hollars’ tops Independent Film Festival of Boston lineup

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Newton-bred John Krasinski’s “The Hollars” will headline this month’s Independent Film Festival of Boston.
Newton-bred John Krasinski’s “The Hollars” will headline this month’s Independent Film Festival of Boston.Matt Sayles

A son of Boston will headline the Independent Film Festival of Boston when it opens at the Somerville Theatre on April 27.

The latest movie from John Krasinski, raised in Newton and famous by way of TV's "The Office" and films like "Promised Land" and "13 Hours," will lead off the 14th annual edition of the festival. "The Hollars" is a comedy-drama that Krasinski directed and also stars in, along with Anna Kendrick, Margo Martindale, and Richard Jenkins.

The IFFB has by now become a rite of spring for cineastes in the area, and it's certainly among the most strongly curated of Boston's many film festivals, with a lineup of movies cherry-picked from Sundance, SXSW, and other recent events, plus the programmers' own discoveries. Nearly 100 features and shorts will unspool at various area theaters during the festival's eight days, along with panel discussions, filmmaker Q&As, parties, and other events.

"The Hollars" arrives in Boston on a wave of Sundance fellow-feeling: It's in the reliable my-crazy-family genre, with Krasinski's office drone returning to his Midwestern clan when mom Martindale falls ill. (IFFB programmers have yet to confirm whether Krasinski himself will be in attendance.) Also coming off the Sundance carousel is the festival's closing night film, on May 4 at the Coolidge Corner: "The Intervention," directed by actress Clea Duvall, is a comedy of errors in which four couples share a weekend getaway that turns awkward.


There are plenty of good bets in between. Documentarian Joe Berlinger ("Paradise Lost," "Whitey") brings his latest rabble-rouser, "Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru," in for its New England premiere, and comedian Mike Birbiglia — Shrewsbury's own — debuts his sophomore directorial comedy, "Don't' Think Twice," starring himself and Keegan-Michael Key of "Key & Peele."

"Free in Deed," Jake Mahaffy's dramatization of a Pentecostal faith-healing that goes wrong, is here after scarifying audiences at SXSW. "Weiner," a Sundance award-winner that takes viewers behind the scenes of the doomed 2013 mayoral bid by Anthony Weiner (a.k.a. "Carlos Danger"), is a masterful work of documentary schadenfreude. Werner Herzog's latest, "Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World," looks like a documentary but is actually the quixotic filmmaker's cinematic coming to terms with the Internet revolution.


One of the most salutary aspects of any IFFB is the amount of attention and screen-time given to local stories and storytellers. "The Guys Next Door," from Allie Humenuk and Amy Geller, documents a real-life modern family: A gay couple and the friend who carried their baby. Barry Frechette's "Paper Lanterns" tells the history of 12 American POWs who were in Hiroshima when the atomic bomb fell. "Primeria" is BU film professor Mary Jane Doherty's follow-up to 2014's "Secundaria," about young ballet dancers in Cuba.

A full schedule and further information can be found at www.iffboston.org. With screenings unspooling at the Somerville, the Coolidge, the Brattle, and at UMass Boston, this is by necessity a spread-out film festival. It's not just the best in town — it's the best all over town.

Ty Burr can be reached at ty.burr@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @tyburr.