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The 22nd Annual Boston Film Festival

Highlights from the 2006 Film Festival


By Gregory L. Amato


It’s been a couple of years since it was a good year for films.  The most recent summer lineup was another disappointment, with more than its share of sequels, remakes, and stuff we’ve already seen.  Or how about the increase in films not screened for critics?  A few that come to mind include Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector, Date Movie, Bloodrayne, Stay Alive, The Benchwarmers, and The Wicker Man, all of which were generally panned by audiences as well as critics.  Of that list, it’s The Wicker Man that sports the by far the highest rating on with 14%.  Now that’s rotten.


And here we are in September, one of the two worst movie months of the year, along with January.  That’s how Hollywood approaches it at least, but thankfully this applies in no way to the independent films shown at this year’s Boston Film Festival held September 9-15.  With a wide variety of documentaries, dramas, comedies, and others, the festival played host to an excellent lineup and a number of up-and-coming filmmakers such that any highlights list would be a long one.  “We found things that would illuminate or entertain,” said Executive Director Robin Dawson, and she was absolutely right.


Mia Goldman continued bucking Hollywood trends with Open Window, her story of a woman who is raped and how she and her family recover.  Homie Spumoni and Jam added some much-appreciated levity to the festival that also showcased two very intense documentaries in The Ground Truth: After the Killing Ends (about post-combat experiences) and Deliver Us from Evil (about the mass cover-ups concerning priestly sexual abuse).


Miramax had already snatched up Christian Volckman’s Renaissance, the black and white animated film that looks like a graphic novel.  My personal favorite was Dennis Cooper’s Ways of the Flesh, a highly underrated comedy-drama about a newly-graduated doctor who has yet to learn medicine’s intangibles.  Among the short films, Sage Stallone reigned supreme with his 30-minute entry Vic, though many of the shorts were excellent and could easily be expanded to feature length films.


Director Hayley Cloake showed the audience how to execute a good remake with her sexy take on Poe’s story in The House of Usher to end the festival on an exciting note.  Cloake, producer Boyd Hancock, and star Izabella Miko were on hand at the world premiere of the film Friday night, September 15, and helped celebrate a successful festival after the screening.


Reviews from the Boston Film Festival:

Ways of the Flesh

The Ground Truth: After the Killing Ends

Open Window


Awards Presented at the 2006 Boston Film Festival:


Best Actress: Robin Tunney (Open Window) and Rebecca Lowman (Eve of Understanding)

Best Director: Tony Goldwyn (The Last Kiss)

Best New Filmmaker: Sage Stallone (Vic)

Best Cinematography: Eric Trageser (The Houser of Usher)

Best Documentary: Amy Berg (The Ground Truth: After the Killing Ends)

Best Music: The Hip Hop Project

Audience Award: Dr. Dennis Cooper (Ways of the Flesh)

Patron of the Arts: Roger and Lynn Berkowitz (of Legal Seafoods)

Visionary Award: Christian Volckman (Renaissance)

Mass Impact Award: Amy Berg (Deliver Us from Evil)

Film Achievement Award: Chazz Palminteri (A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints)



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