Various locations throughout Woods Hole | 508.495.3456 | woodsholefilmfestival.org
MAINE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL | JULY 9 THROUGH 18 | As you might know, Waterville, Maine, home of this 13-year-old event, is the sister city of Kotlas, Russia, and the festival will be celebrating this connection with a sidebar of Russian films, including Alexandra, by the ever-enigmatic Aleksandr Sokurov, and Tchavdar Georgiev and Amanda Pope's Desert of Forbidden Art, a documentary about an attempt to establish a museum housing the work of 40,000 artists banned during the Soviet era. The non-Russian films are worth a look, also, such as Boston filmmaker John Gianvito's compelling documentary about militarism, Vapor Trail (Clark); Sam Green and David Cerf's impressionistic essay about ideal societies, Utopia in Four Movements; and Maple Rasza and Pacho Velez's doc Bastards of Utopia, about anarchists trying to set up such an ideal society in war-torn Croatia. I'm also pleased to see a long, overdue tribute to the great actress Julie Hagerty, who will present two classic '80s comedies in which she stars: Jim Abrahams and David Zucker's Airplane! (1980) and Albert Brooks's Lost in America (1985). As for the annual "Mid-Life Achievement Award," which in the past has gone to such notables as John Turturro, Ed Harris, and Lili Taylor, the jury is still out.
Various locations in Waterville | 207.861.8138 | miff.org
RHODE ISLAND INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL | AUGUST 10 THROUGH 15 | As befits the smallest state in the Union, and proving that size isn't everything, this festival offers a large selection of shorts among its 175 films. It is, in fact, the only festival in New England that qualifies nominees for the Short Film Academy Award through its affiliation with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. The feature-length selections stand tall, too, including One Hundred Mornings, Conor Horgan's thriller about a couple waiting out doomsday in a country cabin, and Tyler Oliver's teen-terror ghost story, Forget Me Not. These two might put you in the mood for one of the festival's many offshoots, the Rhode Island International Horror Film Festival, which takes place October 21 through 24, and includes what I consider a must-see event, the HP Lovecraft Walking Tour (of Providence) with the Rhode Island Historical Society. Beware the call of Chthulu!
Various locations throughout Rhode Island | 401.861.4445 | film-festival.org