The Independent Film Festival Boston (April 27-May 4) has always championed local documentary filmmakers. This year’s selection is especially impressive.
Winner of last year’s Works-in-Progress Award from the UMass Boston Film Series, “Best and Most Beautiful Things” (screens April 30, 2 p.m., Somerville Theatre) tells the uplifting and remarkable story of Michelle Smith, a young sight-impaired woman from rural Maine who attended Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown and found support for her self-empowerment from what is described as “a surprising sex-positive community.” The filmmakers are a Boston-based team that includes director-producer Garrett Zevgetis.
Boston filmmaker Michal Goldman’s “Nasser’s Republic, The Making of Modern Egypt” (May 2, 7:30 p.m., Somerville Theatre) accomplishes something that most media covering events in the Middle East don’t even attempt: She provides an historical context. As Goldman demonstrates, Gamal Abdel Nasser, leader of Egypt from 1952 to 1970, was committed to promoting Arab progress, African liberation, and an end to Western colonialism. But he neglected to establish the makings of democracy, becoming Egypt’s first military dictator, a precedent that has plagued the country ever since.
Billerica-based Barry Frechette explores another overlooked aspect of history in his documentary “Paper Lanterns” (May 1, 4:45 p.m., Somerville Theatre). Shigeaki Mori was only 8 when the atomic bomb fell on his hometown of Hiroshima in 1945. He survived, but 100,000 people died, including 12 members of the US Army Air Force being held in the city as POWs. Mori felt compelled to track down the stories of the American victims and provide closure for their families. Frechette focuses on Mori’s investigation into the life of Normand Brissette of Lowell, who survived the initial blast, but, like thousands of others, died days later of radiation poisoning.
For more information go to iffboston.org .
Unpacking ‘A Trunk’
Provincetown in the first decades of the last century was the site of a lively art movement. Among those who would spend summers painting there was the lesbian artist Edith Lake Wilkinson, whose work and fate have until recently been neglected or forgotten.
In “Packed in a Trunk: The Lost Art of Edith Lake Wilkinson,” Edith’s great-niece, Jane Anderson tells the story of how Wilkinson was committed to an insane asylum in 1924. She would spend the rest of her life there, while her collected works were stored in a nephew’s attic where they remained for 40 years. Anderson’s film celebrates her great-aunt’s art work and searches for the truth about what happened.
“Packed in a Trunk: The Lost Art of Edith Lake Wilkinson” will be available on Tuesday across all digital platforms and on DVD via WolfeOnDemand.com.
Peter Keough can be reached at email@example.com.