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Scene Here | Local films, festivals, and faces

Boston festivals include films from Turkey, Ireland, the underground, and elsewhere

The Boston Turkish Film Festival will feature the North American premiere of the digitally restored “Mr. Muhsin.” Boston Turkish Film Festival

The 16th annual Boston Turkish Film Festival, running through early April at the Museum of Fine Arts, continues this event’s tradition of showcasing emerging and established Turkish filmmakers.

Acclaimed filmmaker Ugur Yücel, this year’s recipient of the Excellence in Turkish Cinema Award, will attend a ceremony following Friday’s North American premiere of his digitally restored “Mr. Muhsin” (1987), considered a Turkish cinema classic. Yücel costarred as Ali Nazik, a young man who dreams of becoming a folk singer. Sener Sen plays the producer who takes Nazik under his wing.

The BTFF will screen two other Yücel features, his 2004 directing debut, “Toss Up” (also showing Friday), about a pair of physically and emotionally scarred soldiers trying to adjust to civilian life, and the 2010 thriller “Dragon Trap” (March 30) about a serial killer who hunts down pedophiles.


Other highlights include an animated feature for adults, “Bad Cat” (Wednesday), from co-directors Mehmet Kurtulus and Ayse Ünal; Çigdem Sezgin’s “Wedding Dance” (Thursday), about a couple whose relationship is threatened by an old flame; Özcan Deniz’s unlikely romance “Second Chance” (March 26); and “The Search Engine (March 29), a largely improvised story centered on a small village in the heart of Anatolia.

The festival concludes April 2 with director Zeki Demirkubuz in person to discuss his latest film, “Ember” (2016), a psychological drama about a struggling Istanbul seamstress who rekindles an old friendship that escalates into an affair.

For more information go to www.bostonturkishfilmfestival.org.

Down under

Also unspooling this week is the 19th annual Boston Underground Film Festival. Running March 22-26, it kicks off at the Brattle Theatre at 7 p.m. with “Prevenge,” British director-writer-star Alice Lowe’s comedy about the recently widowed and very pregnant Ruth (Lowe), who embarks on a homicidal rampage. The fest’s many unusual features and shorts include the Australian crime thriller “Hounds of Love” (Thursday); first-time filmmaker Bill Watterson’s comedy “Dave Made a Maze” (March 26), which uses puppetry, stop motion, and optical illusions to dazzling effect; appearances by several BUFF alums including Steven Kostanski and Jeremy Gillespie with their modern horror film “The Void” (Saturday); and Massachusetts-based filmmaker Skip Shea’s semi-autobiographical first feature, “Trinity” (March 26), filmed mostly in Western Massachusetts and Rhode Island, about a man who confronts his childhood sexual abuse by a priest. The event closes with “Bitch,” director-writer-actor Marianna Palka’s bitingly funny fourth feature about a suburban mom who goes off the rails.


For more information go to www.bostonunderground.org.

Irish eyes

Many filmmakers from Ireland will be on hand as the 17th annual Irish Film Festival Boston returns to the Somerville Theatre March 23-26. Actor Dominic MacHale will appear with the opening-night feature, the caper comedy “The Young Offenders.” It’s paired with the short film “Gridlock,” a thriller set during a traffic jam on a country road, which will be presented by its producer, Simon Doyle.

Cast members Seána Kerslake and Tara Lee will be in attendance for the US premiere of “A Date for Mad Mary” (Friday), a dramedy about friendship, first love, and female empowerment. It plays with “Terminal,” a short about Irish women who have to travel to England to get abortions, with director Natasha Waugh in attendance for a post-screening talk. The festival presents two programs of New Irish Shorts on March 25 and March 26, the latter in association with GAZE International LGBT Film Festival Dublin.


For more information go to www.irishfilmfestival.com.

Local spotlight

Actor Logan Miller, star of Matt Sobel’s drama “Take Me to the River,” will be honored by the Chlotrudis Society for Independent Film at its 23rd annual Chlotrudis Awards ceremony Sunday at the Brattle Theatre. Miller will attend the event, which pays tribute to the best indie films and performances of the year as selected by the longtime organization of film enthusiasts.

For a complete list of nominees go to www.chlotrudis.org .

Around the world

Belmont World Film’s 16th annual International Film Series begins Sunday with “Tanna,” one of this year’s Oscar nominees for best foreign language film. It’s about the transition from the old ways to the new among the Yakel tribe of the Vanuatu Islands in the Pacific. Co-directors Bentley Dean and Martin Butler will engage in a post-screening discussion via Skype from Australia. The series presents eight additional films through May 15 at the Studio Cinema in Belmont.

For more information go to www.belmontworldfilm.org.

The war at home

Boston-based filmmaker Rahman Oladigbolu and members of the cast and crew of his feature “Theory of Conflict” will be at the Coolidge Corner Theatre on Wednesday for a discussion following the film’s 7 p.m. screening. A scripted drama based on true events, “Theory of Conflict” is about a diverse group of students at a Boston college who must confront tensions that erupt on campus due to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This event is free.

For more information go to www.coolidge.org.

Loren King can be reached at loren.king@comcast.net.