IFFBoston Announces Its 2021 Lineup

The Independent Film Festival Boston (IFFBoston) is right around the corner. This year’s festival will be a virtual event taking place May 6th – May 16, 2021. Earlier today, the IFFBoston team revealed this year’s festival slate. Having seen a few titles headlining IFFBoston 2021, I will guarantee that virtual festivalgoers are in for a treat.

Check out this morning’s press release for all the details.


The Independent Film Festival Boston (IFFBoston) announced today the full lineup of films that will be screened at the 2021 festival. The festival will take place virtually from May 6th – May 16, 2021. Tickets will be on sale for the general public beginning on or about April 29th.

IFFBoston will take place online this season instead of at our longtime partner cinemas (the Somerville Theatre in Davis Square, the Brattle Theatre in Harvard Square, and the Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline) which remain closed due to current public safety concerns. Events will include online screenings with many filmmaker Q&A sessions, panel discussions, and a virtual lobby experience as part of an overall event that showcases the best in current American and International cinema.


Summer of Soul review
Summer of Soul

“SUMMER OF SOUL” directed by Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson will open the festival on Thurs, May 6th.

In his acclaimed debut as a filmmaker, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson presents a powerful and transporting documentary—part music film, part historical record created around an epic event that celebrated Black history, culture and fashion. Over the course of six weeks in the summer of 1969, just one hundred miles south of Woodstock, The Harlem Cultural Festival was filmed in Mount Morris Park (now Marcus Garvey Park).  The footage was never seen and largely forgotten–until now. SUMMER OF SOUL shines a light on the importance of history to our spiritual well-being and stands as a testament to the healing power of music during times of unrest, both past and present. The feature includes never-before-seen concert performances by Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Sly & the Family Stone, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Ray Baretto, Abbey Lincoln & Max Roach and more.

Summer of Soul premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, where it won both the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award. It will stream on Hulu in conjunction with Disney’s new BIPOC Creator Initiative; Searchlight Pictures will release it theatrically.


“HOW IT ENDS” directed by Zoe Lister-Jones and Darryl Wein will close the festival on Sunday, May 16th.


On the day an asteroid is scheduled to obliterate Earth, freewheeling Liza (Zoe Lister-Jones) scores an invite to one last wild gathering before it all goes down. Making it to the party won’t be easy, though, after her car is unceremoniously stolen, and the clock is ticking on her plan to tie up loose ends with friends and family. With a little help from her whimsical younger self (Cailee Spaeny), Liza embarks on a journey by foot across Los Angeles as she seeks to make peace with her regrets—and find the right company for those last few hours.

Alum writer/directors Daryl Wein (BREAKING UPWARDS, IFFBoston 2009) and Zoe Lister-Jones (BAND AID, IFFBoston 2017 Closing Night Film) assemble an impressive all-star cast—including Helen Hunt, Olivia Wilde, Fred Armisen, Lamorne Morris, and Nick Kroll—for this uproarious and charming pre-apocalyptic comedy. Both playful and empowering, HOW IT ENDS channels the kind of optimistic nihilism we could all use more of right now. The end of the world may be coming, but no one anticipated it could be this much fun.

Other notable films screening at the festival include:

  • Documentaries by local filmmakers include A RECKONING IN BOSTON directed by James Rutenbeck; WEED & WINE directed by Rebecca Cohen-Richman; SPRING VALLEY directed by Garrett Zvegetis
  • Local Feature Narrative LAST NIGHT IN ROZZIE directed by Sean Gannet
  • The first documentary by director Edgar Wright, THE SPARKS BROTHERS about Ron and Russell Mael, the eccentric duo behind the band Sparks. Film Courtesy of Focus Features.
  • Directors Emily Kunstler and Sarah Kunstler’s WHO WE ARE: A CHRONICLE OF RACISM IN AMERICA interweaves archival footage and interviews to highlight ACLU Deputy Legal Director Jeffrey Robinson’s groundbreaking lecture on the history of anti-black racism in the United States.
  • Critically acclaimed film LUZZU directed by Alex Camilleri. It is the first film from Malta to compete in major film festivals.
  • RIDERS OF JUSTICE directed by Anders Thomas Jensen and starring Mads Mikkelsen. Film courtesy of Magnolia Films.


IFFBoston will team up with the Mass Production Coalition to present the Fourth Annual Student Short Film Showcase, where short films selected by and representing local colleges will be screened.


90.9 WBUR is the Presenting Radio Media Sponsors of the 2021 Independent Film Festival Boston.


Narrative Features
THE DOG WHO WOULDN’T BE QUIET directed by Ana Katz
DREAM HORSE directed by Euros Lyn
THE DRY directed by Robert Connolly
FIRST DATE directed by Manuel Crosby Crosby & Darren Knapp
HOLLER directed by Nicole Riegel
HOW IT ENDS directed by Zoe Lister-Jones & Darryl Wein
I WAS A SIMPLE MAN directed by Christopher Makoto Yogi
LAST NIGHT IN ROZZIE directed by Sean Gannet
LUZZU directed by Alex Camilleri
RIDERS OF JUSTICE directed by Anders Thomas Jensen
STRAWBERRY MANSION directed by Kentucker Audley & Albert Birney
WE ARE ALL GOING TO THE WORLD’S FAIR directed by Jane Schoenbrun

Documentary Features
FRUITS OF LABOR directed by Emily Cohen Ibañez
THE GIG IS UP directed by Shannon Walsh
HOMEROOM directed by Peter Nicks
THE OXY KINGPINS directed by Nick August-Perna & Brendan Fitzgerald
POLYSTYRENE: I AM A CLICHE directed by Celeste Bell & Paul Sng
A RECKONING IN BOSTON directed by James Rutenbeck
SABAYA directed by Hogir Horori
THE SPARKS BROTHERS directed by Edgar Wright
SPRING VALLEY directed by Garrett Zevgetis
SUMMER OF SOUL directed by Ahmir Thompson
WEED & WINE directed by Rebecca Richman Cohen
WHO WE ARE: A CHRONICLE OF RACISM IN AMERICA directed by Emily Kunstler & Sarah Kunstler
THE WITMANS directed by David Petersen


Narrative Shorts
BALLS directed by Steven Ross
BLOCKS directed by Bridget Moloney
BOYS & TOYS directed by Kevin P. Alexander
BROKEN BIRD directed by Rachel Harrison Gordon
THE CHASE directed by Mike Doyle
CLAIRE AT SEVEN MONTHS directed by Jacob Halpren
COFFEE SHOP NAMES directed by Deepak Sethi
FADING STAR directed by Adam Santiago
FROM THE TOP directed by Neal Suresh Mulani
GIRLS ARE STRONG HERE directed by Scott Burkhardt
I’M [NOT] OKAY directed by Samantha Pestana-Markey
INCONVENIENCE directed by Nick Garcia-Belong
IT’S NOTHING directed by Anna Maguire
JUNK directed by Amanda Rosa
LITTLE CHIEF directed by Erica Tremblay
OSUBA directed by Federico Marsicano
RHINESTONE BLUE directed by Aisha Schliessler
ROPE-A-DOPE directed by Luke Jarvis
STAND STILL directed by Isabella Wing-Davey
STRAWBERRY SHAKE directed by Dianne Bellino
THIS FOG directed by Jeff Stern
TIRED EYES directed by Ryan Martin Brown

Documentary Shorts
ABORTION HOTLINE, THIS IS LISA directed by Mike Attie & Barbara Attie & Janet Goldwater
AFTER LIFE directed by Jeff Liu
ASHES TO ASHES directed by Taylor Rees
BEKOJI 100 directed by Alistair Wilson & Julia Hanlon
CRESCENDO! directed by Alex Mallis
ELEVATOR PITCH directed by Martyna Starosta
FREEDOM PREP directed by Elle Ginter
THE GREAT FAIR directed by Andrew Wonder
KNOCKING DOWN THE FENCES directed by Meg Shutzer
LET THE BLONDE SING directed by Rachel Knoll
LOCKSHOP directed by Cara Feinberg
THE MATCH directed by Phillip Kibbe
MOMMY’S NIGHTMARE directed by Jonathan Wayne Napolitano
MUSIC FOR PEOPLE IN JAPAN directed by Kevin Belli
NAME CREW: TINY TOONES directed by Arestia Rosenberg
RAISING BABY GREY directed by Alex Mallis
SONNIE directed by Sam Mirpoorian
WELCOME STRANGERS directed by Dia Sokol Savage

Memberships, some including priority film and party access, are on sale now. Individual film tickets will be available for sale on the festival website on or about April 29th.