IFFBoston: 2016's Top Ten Must-See Films

James Canellos ’17 / Emertainment Monthly Executive Movies Editor
With spring finally arriving in Boston, so is the Independent Film Festival Boston. From April 27th- May 4th IFFBoston is screening numerous films that have made waves at Sundance, SXSW and the Venice Film Festivals. These great films will be screening at the Somerville Theatre, the Brattle Theatre and the Coolidge Corner Theatre Previous entries in IFFBoston have included Boyhood, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, Dear White People and The Look of Silence to name a few. There’s no telling which film will be the standout of the festival, but we sure can try to pick the ten best bets.
1. High-Rise

Tom Hiddleston in High-Rise. Photo Credit: Magnolia Pictures.
Arguably one of the most sought after film this year, High-Rise is director Ben Wheatley’s ultra stylish adaptation of the J.G Ballard novel of the same name. The film stars Tom Hiddleston as a resident of an extremely convenient high-rise as the tenants begin to realize that they are trapped inside the tower. This containment causes the residents to slowly begin to adapt to a more savage way of living.
2. Little Men
Michael Barieri and Theo Taplitz in Little Men. Photo Credit: Magnolia Pictures.
Ira Sachs’ last film Love Is Strange was one of the most delightfully beautiful films of 2014 and his streak of tender New York City stories continues with Little Men. Having already premiered at Sundance, the film has been showered with praise. The titular Little Men are Jake (Theo Taplitz) and Tony (Michael Barieri) two Manhattanites whose friendship is tested due to a feud between their parents. Sachs’ films have a certain subtlety that’s so charming you can expect people to be talking about Little Men.
3. Newtown 
A still from Newtown. Photo Credit: Sundance Film Festival.
Unfortunately one of the most relevant conversation starters at this year’s festival is Newtown. This Grand Jury Prize nominated documentary explores the and examines the lives of the victim’s families and community members of Newtown after the Sandy Hook shootings in 2012. The pain and grief from such a tragedy is addressed in Kim A. Snyder’s heartbreaking film and is bound to strike up arguments about gun control in America.
4. Don’t Think Twice 
Mike Bisbiglia, Kate Micucci, Chris Gethard, Keegan-Michael Key, Gillian Jacobs and Tami Sagher in Don’t Think Twice. Photo Credit: Cold Iron Pictures.
Actor and writer turned director Mike Birbiglia earned wide acclaim in 2012 for his semi-autobiographical film Sleepwalk with Me. The triple threat returns with his second feature Don’t Think Twice about an improv comedy troupe trying to stay together after one of them lands a job at a TV show. If Sleepwalk was any indication Don’t Think Twice is bound to be another brutally honest look at modern day comedians.
5. Hunt For the Wilderpeople 
Julian Dennison and Sam Neill in Hunt For the Wilderpeople. Photo Credit: The Orchard.
Taika Waititi has been writing, directing – and occasionally starring- in off beat indie comedies for nearly fifteen years now. His previous film What We Do In the Shadows was one of the funniest films of the year and he’s about to direct the latest Thor film. In between these notable career moments, is his latest New Zealand comedy Hunt For the Wilderpeople which follows a rebellious teen (Julian Dennison) and his adopted uncle (Sam Neill) who are the subjects to a nationwide manhunt.
6. Weiner
A still from Weiner. Photo Credit: Sundance Selects.
Sundance’s Grand Jury Prize Winner is the compelling documentary about disgraced congressman Andrew Weiner. The Sundance Film Festival describes Weiner as “A fast paced verite film that unfolds like a modern Shakespearean tragedy.” This insider look at the political campaign has been a widely talked about since its premiere at Sundance and along with Newtown is the most buzzed about documentary screening this year.
7. Morris From America
Markets Christmas in Morris From America. Photo Credit: A24.
Perhaps the most “Sundance” esque entry this year. Morris From America is Sundance’s go to coming of age story about an African-American teenager (Markees Christmas) who moves to Germany with his soccer coach father (Craig Robinson). Robinson was one of the recipients of the Dramatic Performance Award at Sundance and writer/director Chad Hartigan won the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award for their work. 
8. Under the Shadow
Narges Rashidi and Avin Manshadi in Under the Shadow. Photo Credit: Vertical Entertainment.
Babak Anvari’s Under the Shadow may be the breakout horror film of this year’s festival. The terrifying story is about a mother and daughter struggling to cope with the terrors of the post-revolution, war torn Tehran of the 80s as a mysterious evil begins to haunt their home. David Rooney from The Hollywood Reporter says “Anvari deftly builds and sustains tension throughout, crafting a horror movie that respects genre conventions, while firmly establishing its own distinctive identity.”
9. Gleason
A still from Gleason. Photo Credit: Open Road Films.
Clay Tweel’s latest documentary is an unflinching look at the effects of ALS. Through the eyes of  Steve Gleason, a former NFL defensive back, Tweel shows the decline of Gleason’s health at only 34-years old. Given two- five years to live, Gleason attempts to fight the disease with the support of his family and friends. Gleason won the Audience Award at this year’s SXSW Film Festival.
10. The Fits
Royalty Hightower in The Fits. Photo Credit: Oscilloscope.
Anna Rose Holmer’s narrative feature debut follows 11-year old Toni (Royalty Hightower) assimilating to a dance team. As Toni begins to feel accepted, forces out of her control threaten to disrupt the bonds she has formed with her dance team. The film has premiered at the Venice Film Festival and screened at Sundance this past January. The Fits stars a real Cincinnati dance team so expect amazing choreography.
Below is the full lineup (features and shorts). The festival runs April 27th through May 5th. Tickets are available on http://iffboston.org.
Narrative Features                                                                                                                                                     THE ALCHEMIST COOKBOOK directed by Joel Potrykus
ALWAYS SHINE directed by Sophia Takal
BLACKCOAT’S DAUGHTER directed by Osgood Perkins
COLLECTIVE: UNCONSCIOUS directed by collective:unconscious (Lily Baldwin, Frances Bodomo, Daniel Patrick Carbone, Josephine Decker, Lauren Wolkstein)
DISORDER directed by Alice Winocour
DON’T THINK TWICE directed by Mike Birbiglia
DONALD CRIED directed by Kris Avedisian
EMBERS directed by Claire Carré
EYES OF MY MOTHER directed by Nicolas Pesce
THE FITS directed by Anna Rose Holmer
FIVE NIGHTS IN MAINE directed by Maris Curran
FOLK HERO & FUNNY GUY directed by Jeff Grace
FREE IN DEED directed by Jake Mahaffy
HIGH-RISE directed by Ben Wheatley
HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE directed by Taika Waititi
LITTLE MEN directed by Ira Sachs
MORRIS FROM AMERICA directed by Chad Hartigan
PAPERBACK directed by Adam Bowers
RAINBOW TIME directed by Linas Phillips
TEENAGE COCKTAIL directed by John Carchietta
THERE SHOULD BE RULES directed by Linda-Maria Birbeck
TRANSPECOS directed by Greg Kwedar
UNDER THE SHADOW directed by Babak Anvari
Documentary Features
THE ANTHROPOLOGIST directed by Seth Kramer, Daniel A. Miller & Jeremy Newberger
ANTS ON A SHRIMP directed by Maurice Dekkers
ASPERGER’S ARE US directed by Alex Lehmann
AUTHOR: THE JT LEROY STORY directed by Jeff Feuerzeig
BEST AND MOST BEAUTIFUL THINGS directed by Garrett Zevgetis
BEYOND THE WALL directed by Bestor Cram & Jenny Phillips
BLUESPACE directed by Ian Cheney
BOONE directed by Christopher LaMarca
COLIN HAY- WAITING FOR MY REAL LIFE directed by Nate Gowtham & Aaron Faulls
THE DWARVENAUT directed by Josh Bishop
GLEASON directed by Clay Tweel
THE GUYS NEXT DOOR directed by Allie Humenuk & Amy Geller
HAVEABABY directed by Amanda Micheli
HIGH ON CRACK STREET: LOST LIVES IN LOWELL directed by Maryann DeLeo & Richard Farrell
HOOLIGAN SPARROW directed by Nanfu Wang
KAMPAII! FOR THE LOVE OF SAKE directed by Mirai Konishi
KATE PLAYS CHRISTINE directed by Robert Greene
LOS PUNKS: WE ARE ALL WE HAVE directed by Angela Boatwright
THE LOST ARCADE directed by Kurt Vincent
THE LOVERS AND THE DESPOT directed by Robert Cannan & Ross Adam
A NEW COLOR: THE ART OF BEING EDYTHE BOONE directed by Marlene “Mo” Morris
NEWTOWN directed by Kim A. Snyder
PAPER LANTERNS directed by Barry Frechette
THE PEACEMAKER directed by James Demo
PRIMARIA directed by Mary Jane Doherty
REAL BOY directed by Shaleece Haas
SEED directed by Taggart Siegel & Jon Betz
SKIPS STONES FOR FUDGE directed by Ryan Seitz
TICKLED directed by David Farrier & Dylan Reeve
WEINER directed by Josh Kriegman & Elyse Steinberg
WHO IS LYDIA LOVELESS directed by Gorman Bechard
Narrative Shorts
AFFECTIONS directed by Bridey Elliott
ASTER AND SIDNEY directed by Sean Temple
BABY TEETH directed by Stephanie Ellis
BALCONY SCENE directed by Jesse Beecher
BLACK CANARIES directed by Jesse Kreitzer
BLAST BEAT directed by Esteban Arango
BLOODY HENRY directed by Jean-Paul DiSciscio
BONDING directed by Tim Young
CANARY directed by Marie Schlingmann
CLEAN directed by Gabriel Wilson
COUNT directed by Jason Evans
FOREVER, YOUR FIREPLACE directed by Grant Collier
THE GHOST BIKE directed by Zachary Lee
GLOVE directed by Alexa Lim Haas & Bernardo Britto
HIT AND RUN directed by Jordan Liebowitz
HUNTER’S MOON directed by Sean Q. King
THE ITCHING directed by Dianne Bellino
JAHAR directed by Henry Hayes
KILLER directed by Matt Kazman
LIVING LEGEND directed by Alonso Llosa
MY BROTHER IS A ZOMBIE directed by Russell Yaffe
ORI & ADDISON directed by James C. Ferguson
THE RAIN COLLECTOR directed by Isabella Wing-Davey
ROUBADO directed by Erica A. Watson
TILLY directed by Rob Kotecki
TWINSBURG directed by Joe Garrity
Documentary Shorts
THE CHAMPION directed by Patrick McGowan & Brett Garamella
CLASS OF ’27 directed by James Rutenbeck
THE DEAN SCREAM directed by Bryan Storkel
EAT WHITE DIRT directed by Adam Forrester
GOING BACK HOME directed by Tim O’Donnell
GOING THE DISTANCE directed by Jessie Beers-Altman
HAZZARD’S CURE directed by C.S. Ward
IN THIS WORLD directed by Kelly Creedon
JUMP directed by Joel Ruscinski
KNOCKTURNAL directed by John J. Miller IV
A LIVING WAGE directed by Dan Albright & Andy Keyes
LOCKDOWN directed by Lauren Knapp
MISS ME: THE ARTFUL VANDAL directed by Mohammad Gorjestani
NEIGE directed by David Redmon, Ashley Sabin
PICKLE directed by Amy Nicholson
SELLING OUT directed by Beau Miller
STEP INTO THE PAGE directed by Ashley Rodholm
WELL GROOMED directed by Rebecca Stern

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