NANTUCKET FILM FESTIVAL | JUNE 17 THROUGH 20 | Since its inception in 1996, Nantucket has championed the importance of script and story in the filmmaking process, and every year holds a Screenwriter Tribute to distinguished giants in the field. This year, the winner is writer/director/producer Barry Levinson, who will mark the occasion with a showing of his debut hit Diner (1982). Also honored is Michael Arndt, who wrote the screenplay for Toy Story 3, which opens the festival, and Davis Guggenheim (Oscar winner for An Inconvenient Truth), whose documentary about the ongoing crisis in education, Waiting for "Superman," will also be screened.
Actors will get their due, too, as the festival presents its Compass Rose Acting Award to Robert Duvall, star of Aaron Schneider's debut feature, Get Low. Could this be a harbinger of Oscar gold for Duvall? After all, The Hurt Locker, the Oscar winner for Best Picture, and The Cove, winner for Best Documentary, were both featured here last year.
Various locations throughout Nantucket | 508.325.6274 | nantucketfilmfestival.org
FRENCH FILM FESTIVAL | JULY 8 THROUGH 25 | We might not always have Paris, but we do have French movies, 24 of them in all, to be exact, at what is one of the top events on the Boston film calendar.
The selections include a pair by venerable, inexhaustible New Wave veterans: Claude Chabrol, whose Bellamy stars Gérard Depardieu in the title role of a police commissioner embroiled in a no-doubt-Hitchcockian murder mystery; and Jacques Rivette's Around a Small Mountain, in which a pair of travelers fall in love in the creepy setting of a rural circus. Other formidable auteurs include Bruno Dumont, whose Hadewijch pursues the dark implications of a young fundamentalist's vocation, and Claire Denis, whose White Material features Isabelle Huppert as the owner of an African coffee plantation who refuses to abandon her harvest amidst the throes of civil war. Out of Africa it's not.
465 Huntington Avenue, Boston | 617.267.9300 | mfa.org
ROXBURY INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL | JULY 29 THROUGH AUGUST 1 | After 12 years, this energetic and ambitious festival has added the word "international" to its name, underscoring its expanding focus and growing success. Though the programming has yet to be finalized, among the confirmed films is Contract from Cape Verdean filmmaker Guenny Pires. Also scheduled is an appearance by screenwriter Peter Allen (Takers) and Hollywood acting coach Troy Rowland, who will be conducting workshops in their respective crafts. Expect an eclectic mix of about 60 shorts, features, and documentaries from local, Hollywood, and foreign filmmakers, topped off by "Dinner & a Movie" at the Haley House Café, which will be featuring Sasha Krane's Machete Joe, served up with appropriate entrées.
Various locations throughout Boston | 617.541.3900 | roxburyfilmfestival.org
Phillip the Fossil
WOODS HOLE FILM FESTIVAL | JULY 31 THROUGH AUGUST 7 | For some people Woods Hole is the place where you pick up the ferry to Martha's Vineyard (which, by the way, hosts its own film festival September 9 through 12). But this charming seaside town boasts some attractions of its own, not the least being the eponymous festival, which, now in its 19th year, is the oldest on the Cape. The programming highlights local filmmakers, such as Garth Donovan, whose feature Phillip the Fossil is a tragicomedy about a craggy hedonist who doesn't know that it's time to grow up. Other intriguing selections include Louder than a Bomb, a doc about Chicago high-school students entering a poetry slam by Jon Siskel, son of the late critic Gene Siskel, and Roots in Water, a short film by Domenica Cameron-Scorsese, daughter of Martin Scorsese. As is their tradition, the festival has invited a cinema giant to participate as its Filmmaker-in-Residence. This year, it's the documentarian Barbara Kopple, who won an Oscar with her Harlan County, USA (1976). She'll host a retrospective of her films, conduct a panel discussion, and teach a workshop.