2013 Independent Film Festival Boston
Tonight the IFFBoston (http://www.iffboston.org) wraps. In the 10 years since they started, they have become a very noteworthy film festival, one of the biggest in New England. This year, they had a bunch of movies that had just played at Sundance and SXSW. I had a great time at the films and events I made it to. Here is my review:
Meet the Insiders: Film Distribution Panel
At the Somerville Theater downstairs in the micro-cinema, they had a panel about the state of indie film distribution with David Laub of Oscilloscope Labs and Matt Grady of Factory 25. It was moderated by Jonathan Marlow of Fandor. It was a great panel and because it was a small room, there was plenty of Q&A. I took a ton of notes!
Good Ol’ Freda (http://www.goodolfreda.com/)
I have been excited to see this since I heard about it last year. It’s a documentary about Freda Kelly, who was the secretary for The Beatles from their start to their end. She also ran their fan club. On paper, this seems like it should be a for-fans-only doc, but it was so much more. She is such a fantastic subject to carry a feature-length doc. She is also such an engaging and pleasant person with so many stories about the 4 Lads from Liverpool. What’s fascinating is that a teenage girl with little experience was given the opportunity to be the biggest band of all-time’s secretary and rose to that challenge and she turned out to be the most loyal and qualified person for the job. I especially liked the structure and how it goes chronological, but interspersed throughout are her with her family and going to locations for the first time in years. It is also the story of Beatlemania, but entirely from her perspective (i.e., there is no mention of arriving in America or appearing on Ed Sullivan since she was in Liverpool during that time). Magnolia Pictures has acquired it and plans to release it later this year. This should be called Great Ol’ Freda!
Rewind This! (http://www.rewindthismovie.com)
Over at the Brattle, I caught this documentary, I’d been interested in since reading about it’s SXSW debut (full disclosure: I’ve been in touch with the director prior to the screening and a bunch of us went out for drinks after the screening). Rewind This! examines the impact VHS tape has had since it’s debut with the advent of VCRs. I worked in several video stores (Sun Coast Motion Picture Company, 1993-94; Stop and Shop video section, 1995; and Video Horizons, 1995-2002) and I grew up in the heyday of video rental stores. A lot of my early film education came from renting VHS, taping movies off TV or borrowing tapes from friends or family. I even had a Video Cassette Player I hooked up to the VCR to record and edit my own tapes. Around the late 90s when DVD came out, VHS slowly phased out as the quality was so much better on DVD. Some people hung onto them in order to tape things off of TV, but they quickly adapted to DVRs or Tivo. Now that DVD isn’t even as popular as Blu-Ray or streaming, it’s interesting to be examining VHS at this point and time. This is a fun doc that showcases the rabid fanbase of modern-day VHS collectors, the history of the VHS, and the particular elements that made it work for so long. The doc almost runs the risk of shoehorning too much into one film, but it’s weaved together so nicely that it doesn’t. Whereas records have had a resurgence with music fans who desire the greater sound quality of vinyl over CD or MP3, VHS isn’t about quality at all and this doc even admits that. I, myself, still have a dual DVD/VCR as I’m not quite ready to part with my VHS tapes altogether. I’ve been slowly converting things from VHS to DVD over the years. There’s so many VHS movies I have that aren’t even available on DVD and so many things I’ve taped over the years that I’m not ready to throw away. I’ve even rented some VHS movies from the library in recent years that aren’t available on DVD. For folks who only stream movies on Netflix or Itunes, this doc will likely be looked at as a dinosaur subculture that can’t let go or move on. But the doc shows the communal element of VHS screening parties held all over and how collectors constantly go to flea markets or Goodwill to find just the VHS tape they’ve been searching for all these years. There’s a real sense of community to this film. While I’m not nearly as fanatical about VHS (I’ve now more passionate about Blu-ray these days), it is cool to see film geeks keeping their format of choice alive and well. This is a must for film lovers! Watch for its release later this year.
SFIFF56 Art & Music Flicks
Artists, musicians, creatives, and art lovers alike looking to find their SFIFF56 picks should check out our festival selections - from the Beatles to Peaches, magic to playwrights, and pop art to Dalí. Check out our arts & music film trailers here and don’t miss them at the festival!
FIND IT: Good Ol' Freda
Freda Kelly was just a shy Liverpudlian teenager when she was asked to work for a local band hoping to make it big. Though she had no concept of how far they would go, Freda had faith in The Beatles from the beginning, and The Beatles had faith in her.
History notes that The Beatles were together for 10 years, but Freda worked for them for 11. Many people came in and out of the band’s circle as they grew to international stardom, but Freda remained a staple because of her unfaltering loyalty and dedication. As the Beatles’ devoted secretary and friend, Freda was there as history unfolded; she was witness to the evolution – advances and setbacks, breakthroughs and challenges – of the greatest band in history.
In Good Ol’ Freda, Freda tells her stories for the first time in 50 years. One of few documentaries with the support of the living Beatles and featuring original Beatles music, the film offers an insider perspective on the beloved band that changed the world of music.
Read more about the film and the film makers here.