fb-pixel Skip to main content
Scene Here | Local films, festivals, and faces

Scene Here: Granite State screenings, orchestral efforts, (Lonely) Seal of approval

Adam Sandler stars in “Uncut Gems”A24

Foliage isn’t the only attraction New Hampshire offers this month. Cinephiles are more likely to head to the Granite State for the 19th annual New Hampshire Film Festival, running Oct. 17-20, at the Music Hall, in Portsmouth, with additional screenings at other venues throughout the city.

Among the feature films, shorts, and documentaries are two highly anticipated new releases, both with strong New Hampshire ties. “Uncut Gems” (Oct. 18), a crime thriller directed by brothers Josh and Benny Safdie, stars Manchester native Adam Sandler in a role that is earning the actor some of the strongest reviews of his 30-year career. Set for release in December, “Uncut Gems” is about a New York jeweler (Sandler) whose life spirals out of control after a series of high-stakes bets. Former Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett plays himself (the film is set in 2012, when Garnett was still an active player) and figures in a major setup scene involving an opal and Garnett’s NBA championship ring.


“The Lighthouse” (Oct. 19) is an atmospheric horror film directed by Robert Eggers, a Lee, N.H., native, who made an impressive directing debut with the period horror film “The Witch” (2015). His latest, set for release later this month, is about the solitary lives of two lighthouse keepers, played by Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe, who are the sole inhabitants of a New England island in the late 19th century. Pattinson starred in the Safdie brothers’s previous film, “Good Time” (2017).

Other NHFF features, with screening times to be announced, include the documentary “The Cave,” from Oscar-nominated director Feras Fayyad (“Last Men in Aleppo”) and director Jessica Hausner’s “Little Joe,” which earned star Emily Beecham best actress honors at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

Go to nhfilmfestival.com.

Making music

The documentary “Orchestrating Change” is about the Me2/Orchestra, based in Boston and Burlington, Vt., the only classical music organization in the world for musicians with mental illnesses. Co-directed by Margie Friedman and Barbara Multer-Wellin, the film chronicles music director Ronald Braunstein’s formation of the orchestra in 2011 after his conducting career was cut short when he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. The film follows orchestra members who faced similar challenges and found a creative home and support system with the Me2/Orchestra.


There will be a free screening Oct. 12, at 2 p.m., at the Boston Public Library, in Copley Square, with co-directors Friedman and Multer-Wellin present for a post-screening discussion, along with Braunstein and Me2/Orchestra executive director Caroline Whiddon; a musician from the orchestra; and Aubry D. Threlkeld, assistant professor of education at Endicott College.

There will be additional screenings of the film followed by discussions with the filmmakers and subjects Oct. 16, 6 p.m., at Bunker Hill Community College, in Charlestown; Oct. 17, 4 p.m., at McLean Hospital, in Belmont; Nov. 13, 5:30 p.m., at the Waltham Public Library; and Nov. 14, 5:30 p.m., at Boston Public Library, Grove Hall Branch.

Go to www.orchestratingchangethefilm.com.

Only the lonely

The focus is on inclusion and diversity when the second annual Lonely Seal International Film, Screenplay and Music Festival returns to Arlington’s Regent Theatre, Oct. 11-13. Minority filmmakers and those with physical challenges are prominent among directors and writers whose fictional features, documentaries, short films, Web series, and music videos will unspool during the event.

Among the films is “Secret Music” (Oct. 12), part of a group of films dealing with art. The documentary profiles Pulitzer Prize-winning American composer David Del Tredici, who writes what he calls “gay music,” a repertoire that celebrates the joys and honors the struggles of his life as a gay man. Directed by Daniel Beliavsky, “Secret Music” examines Del Tredici’s personal journey to express his sexuality creatively and the complexities that arise when identifying an art form as gay. “Spin the Plate” (Oct. 12) is director Eric Eastman’s Boston-shot indie drama about a survivor of childhood sexual abuse (Becki Dennis) as she navigates a new romance and a chance to transform her life. Director Stanislav Todorov Rogi’s “Bubblegum” (Oct. 13) concerns a couple in their 30s who reminisce about growing up in communist Bulgaria in the 1980s.


Go to www.regenttheatre.com.

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