Daily Camera selects must-see screenings at Boulder International Film Festival – Boulder Daily Camera
To say that I am a movie fan is an understatement.
If someone walked into my pantry, they would find a supply of Twizzlers, a myriad of thrift store coffee mugs, and around 150 DVDs – concert documentaries, cult classics and, yes, even a sprinkle of romantic comedies because that some days my uterus takes over me.
The truth is, I don’t even have a DVD player or TV for that matter. Until last month I watched them on my old MacBook Pro, but a necessary upgrade revealed that they just don’t make laptops with DVD drives anymore.
And, yes, I’m the girl who, despite having SiriusXM radio in my car now, just can’t separate from my black binding CD case which besides containing gems like “Tidal” By Fiona Apple and “Blue,” claims burnt mixed compilations – silvery, lightly striped orbs whose selected song tracks are scribbled in Sharpie by people from my past.
When I lived on James Island, Charleston, SC, I often went to the Terrace Theater – an independent arthouse theater – for a serotonin boost. Just stepping through the doors was an instant mood change. This is where I saw “Boyhood”, “The Florida Project”, “The Big Sick”, “American Honey”, “The Beguiled” and as a pre-Halloween release “Rocky Horror Picture Show” – with a cast of live theater standing in the middle of the screen, pushing their hearts.
Last summer – during times of social distancing – my owners decided to mount a large square piece of white painted wood to the side of my shed. With their projector, at nightfall, that slick piece of wood turned into a screen where we watched “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World ”and the stoner classic“ Dazed and Confused ”by filmmaker Richard Linklater, with whom I share a birthday.
I’ve seen Cameron Crowe’s “Almost Famous” and “Singles” so many times that I could probably play both at this point as a one-woman show. The scripts are forever planted in my brain, along with the lyrics to “Fever Dog” by Stillwater.
During the lockdown, before my original computer died, my DVDs served me well. Quite honestly, I think they even got me through the pandemic. With gigs on hold, face-to-face interviews in limbo, and no designated real “pod”, I took comfort in revisiting movies I’d seen a dozen times before.
With the vaccine series dispersed, we can finally all come together. It’s summer so you won’t sleep – and with it comes the return of the Boulder International Film Fest. The long-running event – normally held during the colder months – takes a different form this year and why wouldn’t it? Coming out of quarantine and reappearing with a new vibe after surviving a real pandemic is something we should all embrace.
While this year’s lineup of films is impressive and worthy, I’ve picked a few that I think should be on everyone’s radar.
In 2000’s “High Fidelity” – based on the 1995 Nick Hornby novel – the concept of “top-five” is brought up in regards to records, devastating breakups and music store owner Rob’s dream jobs. Gordon – played by John Cusack.
So without further ado – in no particular order – here are my top five BIFF picks.
“Summer of Soul (Or, when the revolution couldn’t be televised)”, Friday, 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Auditorium Chautauqua – Everything the Roots musician Questlove is involved in has to be good, but this doc performed by the skilled drummer seems to be on another level. I’ve watched the trailer a few times and with each viewing I’m more excited about this release which features never-before-seen footage from the Harlem Cultural Festival. For six weeks in the summer of 1969, people gathered to admire spellbinding sets from Stevie Wonder, Sly and the Family Stone, The 5th Dimension, Nina Simone and many more. It pains me to think that this epic event was not mentioned at all in my elective course on rock ‘n’ roll history during my college days, but I’m grateful to learn more now. .
The 4 p.m. slot is the film screening only ($ 37.83). The Green Carpet Gala and Opening Night Screening consists of a gala starting at 5:30 p.m. followed by the film at 7:30 p.m. ($ 100.92).
“Tom Petty, somewhere you feel free” Saturday, 8 p.m., Auditorium Chautauqua – How not to love the late Tom Petty? Seeing the man play Bonnaroo in 2006 forever solidified my adoration for him and he’s from my hometown – Florida – so I guess it’s natural to feel a kinship. In Mary Wharton’s documentary, we see rare footage of the “American Girl” singer in the early 90s, a time when he was making the emotionally raw and highly listenable album “Wildflowers”.
Director Mary Wharton and producer Dan Braun will participate in a post-film Q&A led by Ron Bostwick. ($ 17- $ 18)
“Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain”, Saturday, 4:15 p.m., Auditorium Chautauqua – While not a musical doc, this one gives viewers an intimate look at Anthony Bourdain – who approached life in and out of the kitchen with a certain punk-rock edge. Heck, the conductor had a long friendship with Marky Ramone, and the drummer even wrote a tribute to Bourdain in Rolling Stone. For foodies and those who are simply hungry for a living, eager to travel and experience the good things, his death was incredibly personal. Morgan Neville’s film highlights his journey from celebrity chef and author to TV travel host. Several of his relatives comment on the sensitivity of the culinary icon.
Director Morgan Neville will receive the BIFF’s first Career Achievement Award in documentary filmmaking after the screening. Meet there at least 10 minutes before the screening to have the opportunity to purchase an additional stand-by ticket.
“Us Kids”, Saturday, movie starts at 9 p.m., doors open at 7 p.m., music at 7:30 p.m., Q&A at 8 p.m., Boulder High Soccer Field – A chilling and powerful look at the steps young leaders are taking to respond to the gun violence that has rocked this country, this documentary features the teenage activists who emerged in the wake of their own shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Florida A free event is held in memory of Jody Waters, who was killed in the March 22 shooting south of Boulder King Soopers. Donations for thewatersfoundation.org, an organization her family started to perpetuate their love and support for dogs, are encouraged.
Free, but registration is required. Director Kim A. Snyder and Parkland survivor and activist Samantha “Sam” Fuentes will participate in a pre-film discussion and discussion.
“Mission: Joy – Finding Happiness in Troubled Times”, Sunday, film at 7:45 p.m., awards ceremony at 7:30 p.m. – The past year has taken its toll on so many people and it looks like we could all use a few tips on how to find the silver lining when the days are dark. Former Boulderite Louie Psihoyos, takes a step back from making an action-packed environmental documentary and instead focuses on the often playful relationship between the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu in this latest iteration.
Ron Bostwick will lead a question-and-answer session with Louie Psihoyos after the film. ($ 37.83)