The Independent Film Festival Boston (IFFB) kicks off its 13th year tonight with the New England premiere of The End of The Tour, a surprise hit at Sundance earlier this year about the road trip journalist David Lipsky took with writer David Foster Wallace just before his novel Infinite Jest blew up and turned the literary world upside down. Actor Jason Segel, who plays the late Wallace, will be in attendance.
And while that appearance is making headlines, there are plenty more on the docket of nearly 100 films showing that are worth heading to Somerville Theatre or the Brattle Theatre between tonight and April 29.
Here are some on our radar:
Heaven Adores You
Brattle Theatre — Friday, April 24 @ 7 p.m.
Highly anticipated and several years in the making, Heaven Adores You is an intimate journey into the life and music of the late singer/songwriter Elliott Smith. It threads the music of Smith through the dense and often isolating landscapes of the three major cities he lived in; Portland, New York City, Los Angeles. The documentary marks Nickolas Rossi directorial debut.
Morphine: Journey of Dreams
Brattle Theatre — Saturday, April 25 @ 7:15 p.m.
Straight-outta-Cambridge jazzy alt-rockers Morphine, fronted by the spectacular bass playing singer/songwriter Mark Sandman, are the focus of this doc. The group’s surviving members and associates tell their story inter-cut with passages from saxophonist Dana Colley’s vivid tour journals. Rare live performances from throughout their career woven into the story display why their unique and mesmeric sound that came crashing down in July of 1999 when Sandman died after having a heart attack onstage while performing at a music festival in Italy.
I Am What I Play
Somerville Theatre (Screen 1) — Sunday, April 26 @ 12:30 p.m.
Billed as “a feature length documentary about the heyday of rock radio,” this film focuses on five disc jockeys from five different cities, including Boston’s very own Charles Laquidara, who was the morning man for WBCN for over 25 years and was among the highest paid radio personalities in the country. Pat O’Day of Seattle’s KJR, Toronto’s David Marsden of CHUM-FM in the early 1970s and then as program director of one of North America’s first alternative rock stations CFNY, and legendary New York DJ Meg Griffin are also profiled. The doc takes a look at how the on-air talent adjusted as the medium changed over the years and where they are now (Hint: Laquidara split the Boston winters for Hawaii).
Made in Japan
Somerville Theatre (Screen 5) — Sunday, April 26 @ 3:15 p.m.
After a successful premiere at SXSW this year where it was named one of the breakout films of the festival by Variety, Made in Japan hits the IFFB. Tracing the history and influence of country music in Japan, the film follows the remarkable journey of Tomi Fujiyama, the first Japanese female country singer. While exploring her journey from USO tours during the Korean War to a legendary performance at the historic Grand Ole Opry, Made in Japan looks at the cultural and historical connections of the U.S. and Japan while examining the changes that have taken place in the country music business over the years as she trues to make it back to that legendary Nashville stage one more time.
Theory of Obscurity: A Film About The Residents
Brattle Theatre — Sunday, April 26 @ 8:45 p.m.
Theory of Obscurity: A Film About The Residents tells the story of the renegade sound and video collective known as The Residents. It’s a story that spans 40 years and is clouded in mystery. Many details surrounding the group are secret, including the identities of its members, as they always perform wearing masks and costumes, which is part of their magic. This documentary tries to break down the walls with unprecedented access along with interviews from Devo, Primus, Ween, Talking Heads and Pinback about what makes the Residents so enigmatic.
Tickets for the above and all of the IFFBoston films can be purchased through the festival’s website.