Writer-director and longtime Massachusetts resident Robert D. Krzykowski knew the title of his debut feature would grab people’s attention. Now “The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot,” shot in the Western Massachusetts town of Turners Falls last year, comes home for its New England premiere Nov. 15, at 8 p.m. at the Somerville Theatre.
The movie stars Sam Elliott as haunted World War II hero Calvin Barr, who’s recruited to battle with a mythical monster. Members of the cast and crew are scheduled to attend a pre-event reception and a post-screening discussion. Although Elliott is busy shooting his Netflix series “The Ranch” and won’t be in attendance, there will still be plenty of star power in Somerville. Besides Krzykowski, guests scheduled to participate include visual effects pioneer Douglas Trumbull, visual effects supervisor Richard Yuricich, and composer Joe Kraemer.
The post-screening chat with the cast and crew will be moderated by Carol Patton, of Imagine magazine, a local film industry guide, and Jan and Mikhaila Waldman, of Critter Casting.
Krzykowski describes “The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot” as “a sweet, melancholy, heartfelt character study with a bonkers genre element. It was always the point that the title would be a Trojan horse for deeper ideas.”
Nabbing Elliott to star was a key to finally getting the project made, says Krzykowski. “Sam called me within 24 hours of reading the script and said, ‘I want to do it.’ It reminded him of his father; and of the decency that’s fading in the world. We became fast friends and collaborators.”
Renowned indie director John Sayles also boosted the project’s credibility when he signed on as one of the film’s executive producers. Sayles was a fan of Krzykowski’s 2016 short film, “Elsie Hooper,” which Krzykowski based on his comic strip of the same title. Krzykowski drew the strip while studying journalism at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. There was some interest from Hollywood in adapting the strip into a feature film, he says; even though that never happened, it’s what turned Krzykowski into a screenwriter. He nurtured “The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot” for 12 years, before financing and the right team fell into place.
“I always wanted to shoot in Turners Falls,” he says. “Western Massachusetts has a certain vibe and energy, a Norman Rockwell sensibility that was so important to the movie.” The entire film was shot in Turners Falls, except for the scenes in “Hitler’s castle” which were filmed at Ventfort Hall, in Lenox, a Gilded Age mansion built in 1893.
Future of film
Audiences can get a look at the work of young filmmakers from around the world at the sixth annual Boston International Kids Film Festival, running Nov. 16-18, with screenings at Somerville Theatre, Lesley University, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Highlights among the features, documentaries, and short films include “Wally’s Opening Day” (Nov. 17, 10 a.m., Lesley University College of Art and Design), an animated film for baseball fans of all ages that brings Wally the Green Monster to life as he readies Fenway Park for opening day; Hamilton native Bo Burnham’s acclaimed portrait of adolescence, “Eighth Grade” (Nov. 17, 7:30 p.m., Somerville Theatre), with actress Catherine Oliviere in attendance for a post-screening discussion; and the documentary “Science Fair” (Nov. 17, 3 p.m., MIT), which follows nine high school students as they compete at the International Science and Engineering Fair. Some of the film’s subjects will attend the screening.
Go to bikff.org
Beyond Boston strong
There will be a free screening of the short film “Jahar,” followed by a conversation with filmmakers Henry Hayes and Zolan Kanno-Youngs, moderated by Robin Young, on Nov. 13, 6:30 p.m., at the Cambridge Historical Society. The 12-minute documentary follows the immediate aftermath of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, as a group of Cambridge Rindge and Latin School students that includes Hayes and Kanno-Youngs must confront the truth that one of their group, Dzohkhar Tsarnaev, is responsible.Loren King can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.