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Signs of life

A full slate of compelling fare at the 11th annual Newport International Film Festival
COMING OF AGE: Shulman and LeGros in Sherman’s Way.

Life. Support. Music (2007) USA Thursday June 5 | 1 pm | Opera House 1
Friday June 6 | 7 pm | Opera House 2
Sunday June 8 | 3 pm | Cable Car Cinema

Speed & Angels (2008) USA
Friday June 6 | 7 pm | Jane Pickens Theater
Saturday June 7 | 3 pm | Jane Pickens Theater

Secrecy (2007) USA
Wednesday June 4 | 5 pm | Cable Car Cinema
Friday June 6 | 3 pm | Opera House 1
Saturday June 7 | 9 pm | Opera House 1

The Flyboys (2008) USA
Saturday June 7 | 6:45 pm |
Opera House 3
Sunday June 8 | 12 pm | Jane Pickens Theater

Hotel Very Welcome (2007) Germany
Wednesday June 4 | 2 pm | Opera House 3
Friday June 6 | 9:15 pm | Opera House 1

Sherman’s Way (2008) USA
Wednesday June 4 | 9 pm | Opera House 3
Saturday June 7 | 2:45 pm | Opera House 3

Gone are the days when documentaries were regarded as the scruffy relatives of “real” films. This year the 37 feature-length selections at 11th annual Newport International Film Festival, which runs June 3 through 8, are nearly evenly divided between documentaries and narrative films.

The opening night film will be Man On Wire, about Philippe Petit’s 1974 high-wire stroll between the World Trade Center twin towers. It was named best documentary by the jury and audience at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. The Utah festival’s best dramatic feature, Frozen River, will also be screened. Closing the festival will be The Wackness, a dramedy with Ben Kingsley and Famke Janssen.

Premieres with local connections include two by Brown grads, DJ Paul’s B.O.H.I.C.A. and Jonathan Levine’s The Wackness, and RISD alum Jake Mahaffy’s Wellness, a feature in documentary style about a modern-day snake oil salesman which won a Grand Jury Award at the SXSW Festival.

Four programs of documentary and narrative shorts are also scheduled, plus more than two dozen features and shorts in a children’s series. In addition to the Jane Pickens Theater and the Opera House, two new sites have been added: the Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport and the Cable Car Cinema in Providence. This year NIFF has a new executive director: Louisa Percudani, formerly managing director of the Sedona Film Festival. For her programming director she chose Eric Bilodeau, who selected films at the Cable Car for the past 18 years.

Most tickets are $10. The box office is at Empire Tea & Coffee, 22 Broadway, Newport. For online ticket purchases and the complete schedule, go to

Several NIFF narrative feature selections have won awards at other festivals, including Frozen River, about two single mothers drawn to smuggling across the Canadian border, and Jose Padilha’s The Elite Squad, winner of 11 awards, about fighting drug dealers in the slums of Rio.

For lighter fare, Woodpecker is a mocumentary that follows a search for the supposedly extinct ivory-billed woodpecker, and actress Mary Stuart Masterson’s comedic drama The Cake Eaters is about a hometown return that stirs up the past.

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  Topics: Features , Entertainment, Jesse James, Jonathan Levine,  More more >
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