BRATTLEBORO -- The inaugural Brattleboro Film Festival will be held Friday through Sunday, Nov. 2-4, 2012 at the Latchis Theater, featuring an eclectic mix of films reflecting the unique character of Brattleboro.
In its weekend-long debut, BFF offers an assortment of 12 recent films that will be of special interest to the Brattleboro area audience and beyond. From budding starlets to nursing home escapees, dissident artists to down-and-out dogs, elevating animation to jaw-dropping cinematography, the festival offers something for everyone with events and expert-led Q&As with community partners following several offerings.
"We are pleased to be able to expand the film experience and special events we have brought you in the past," said Merry Elder, who selected films for the Women’s Film Festival for 21 years before launching BFF as an independent, volunteer-run, non-profit organization.
The Brattleboro Film Festival showcases narrative features, documentaries from the U.S. and around the world that inform, challenge, entertain and inspire, emphasizing viewpoints and characters often unseen in mainstream media. Festival organizers seek to inspire a lively dialogue in the community around films of all lengths, genres and national origins.
An opening reception with refreshments and previews will take place during Brattleboro’s November Gallery Walk on Friday, Nov. 2, at 5 p.m., at the Latchis 4 Gallery
The opening film of the festival, at 6:30 p.m., on Friday, November 2, reflects the hope and spirit of the nascent festival itself. "Once in a Lullabye" is a critically acclaimed, family-appropriate, uplifting documentary about a New York City Public School chorus’ unlikely journey to a standing ovation for their performance at the 2011 Academy Awards.
Next up is director Alison Klayman’s fascinating portrait of one of China’s most compelling public figures and dissident artists in "Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry" which screens at 8:30 p.m., on opening night.
Films continue at noon, 2, 4, 6:30 and 8:30 p.m., on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 3 and 4. Tickets are $8.50 for adults, $6.50 for students and seniors and $5 for children 12 and under and at the door of the Latchis Theater. Details and an audience blog are at www.brattleborofilmfestival .org.
BFF volunteers lead audience discussions following films when time allows, but the following are special events with BFF community partners:
* Q&A with Brattleboro Climate Protection’s Paul Cameron following the Saturday, Nov. 3, 4 p.m. screening of "Chasing Ice."
* "Bones Brigade: An Autobiography" a super exciting, coming-of age skateboard documentary directed by Stacy Peralta. Come see how Tony Hawk and other legendary skateboarders got their starts and changed the sport. It plays at noon on Saturday, Nov. 3. Working with the Boys & Girls Club of Brattleboro and Vermont Skateboards, BFF will host a skateboarding demonstration and free decks and T-shirts to some lucky winners at the Boys & Girls Club, 17 Flat St., at 2 p.m., right after the film.
* Q&A and presentation with Windham County Humane Society representatives (both canine and human) follow the 2 p.m. screening on Sunday, Nov. 4, of "One Nation Under Dog," a heartfelt documentary that explores the passionate and complex relationship America has with dogs.
* Following the screening of "Atomic States of America" Sunday, Nov. 4, at 4 p.m., special guest Kelly McMasters, author of "Welcome to Shirley: A Memoir from an Atomic Town," a key character in the film and upon whose book the film was inspired, will take Q&A.
"Starlet" continues the BFF’s interest in intergenerational themes. The film debuts 21-year-old Dree Hemingway (great granddaughter of Ernest) as well as 85-year-old Besedka Johnson in a sweet, while highly provocative, NC 17 film.
BFF’s family selection (ages 6 and older) is "Mia and the Migoo," playing noon pm Sunday, Nov. 4. A breathtaking animated family adventure, it is about a young girl’s search for her father in a tropical paradise threatened by the construction of a gigantic hotel resort. Voices include Whoopi Goldberg, Matthew Modine, Wallace Shawn and James Woods.
An animated feature for adults that will also wow lovers of jazz and all things Latino is "Chico and Rita," a love story set in 1950s Havana which shows Saturday, Nov. 3, at 8:30 p.m.
Films dealing with themes of sexual identity include two crowd-pleasing narratives: "Cloudburst" takes audiences on a Canadian road trip with Olympia Dukakis and and Brenda Fricker as an old lesbian couple who escape a nursing home to get married; "Any Day Now" tells a 1970s tale about a most unlikely gay couple who care for an abandoned boy with Down Syndrome who take-on society’s idea of what a real family is.
The festival closes Sunday, Nov. 4, at 8:30 p.m., with "A Simple Life," a warm, engaging, film that tells the story of an aging servant and her relationship with the young man she raised. This is China’s entry to the 2012 Academy Awards. The Latchis will extend the showing of this film through Thursday, Nov. 8.
The public is invited to a screening of the 2012 audience-chosen "Best in Fest" on Thursday, Nov. 8, at 6:30 p.m., at the Latchis proceeded at 6 p.m., by a festival-feedback gathering for the public, including information on how to get involved with the 2013 BFF. Details can be found at www.brattleborofilmfestival.org and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pages/Brattleboro-Film-Festival.