Programmer Profile: Adam Roffman, IFF Boston

Adam RoffmanMy name: Adam Roffman My current festival: Independent Film Festival of Boston (IFFBoston)

My title: Program Director

Other fests I've worked for: Past/Forward Film Series (Chinatown, Boston - 2002), Member of IATSE Local 481 film union 1998-present, Advisory Board Member - Women in Film & Video/New England, 2008-present

Movies that best represent my personal tastes: DIG!, The Cruise, Man On Wire, Miller's Crossing, Brick, The Kid Stays In The Picture, Day Night Day Night, The Puffy Chair, The Hole Story, Frownland and Decasia: The State of Decay.

When I'm not watching movies I like to: Do set decoration on or produce feature films:

A movie I recently programmed that I consider to be a great personal discovery: This isn't very recent, but the movie that stands out the most in my mind as a great personal discovery was Alex Karpovsky's The Hole Story. This film hadn't played anywhere yet when I got it and I was immediately taken with its originality, its humor, and its perfect blend of documentary and fiction. I thought it was unlike any other film we had shown at the festival at that point and was excited to bring it to Boston audiences. I was so taken with the film that I called other program directors around the country to recommend the film and have since produced Alex's next two films.

When filmmakers ask me "What's different about your film festival?" I say: IFFBoston takes great pride in our reputation as one of the most filmmaker-friendly and well-run film festivals around. Before starting this festival we visited numerous other festivals, among them Sundance, Slamdance, SXSW, Toronto, Hamptons, Cleveland, and Seattle. We studied each of them, seeing what we thought did and didn't work and we talked with the filmmakers, audience members, and festival staffers and volunteers to find their likes and dislikes and designed our festival based off of all this information. We continue to try to find new ways to improve the festival and make it as enjoyable as possible for the filmmakers, audience, and our loyal group of volunteers.

One thing that is different from our film festival that I don't usually tell filmmakers is that IFFBoston is the only film festival of its size where the entire staff, all 100% of them, work on a completely volunteer basis on the festival. The fact that the entire staff works year-round for free on the festival is a indication of the passion that has gone into the formation and continuation of this festival.

Our festival audience has come to expect: Quality films, fun parties, lines around the block, and many very interesting Q&As, all at a very affordable price.

We program the following categories of films:

1)NARRATIVE FEATURE - This includes live-action and animation, as well as sub-sections AFTER DARK (horror, sci-fi, kung-fu, and generally twisted films) and NEW ENGLAND FOCUS (films made in New England, by New England filmmakers, or about New England subjects) 2)DOCUMENTARY FEATURE 3)SHORT FILM - This includes experimental film, animation, documentary, and live-action narrative

A recent trend I have noticed in submissions of which I disapprove: A trend that I have noticed in submissions that isn't necessarily recent, but seems to be getting worse, is filmmakers putting all of their eggs in one basket by submitting to one festival which they consider their top priority festival and then waiting until they hear from that festival before applying anywhere else. For example, many filmmakers make the mistake of waiting until they've heard from Sundance about their submission before they will apply to any other festivals under the misguided notion that their film will get into Sundance, land a distributor, and they won't need any other festivals. The reality is that most films don't make it into Sundance, most that do don't land distributors or at least not right away, and many of those films then miss the Spring lineup of festivals, the strongest part of the festival season. Waiting up until the very end of the final deadline or waiting until after the final deadline and then trying to get the festival to bend the rules and still take the submission at that point are good ways to kill a film's festival run before it begins.

If I could impart one thing to filmmakers about submitting to my festival, it would be: It is better to send a mostly done rough cut than to wait till the very end of submissions to send a final cut. If things such as the color correction or the soundtrack aren't quite done yet it is highly unlikely that that would determine whether a film gets into IFFBoston or not. Our programmers are able to look past such minor flaws if there is a note of some sort indicating that that work still is being done and we have had films that we accepted when they were works-in-progress end up winning awards at our festival.

The submissions period for our next festival is: Our submissions opened back in August, but our upcoming deadlines are: November 30th - Regular Deadline, December 31st - Extended Film Submission Deadline, January 7 - Withoutabox Extended Film Submission Deadline

Filmmakers can contact me here:

Twitter account (if any): @adamroffman and @iffboston

Last words: I think we have created at IFFBoston (with very few resources and in a very short time) one of the more fulfilling festival experiences for filmmakers. We provide luxury hotel accommodations at the Liberty Hotel, flights via JetBlue Airways, nightly parties and events, sold-out screenings, more food than anyone could possibly eat every day at our filmmaker lounge, press interview areas, panel discussions, on-field tours of Fenway Park, a filmmaker-only candlepin bowling night, and a friendly staff that will promote alumni film whenever they come out theatrically, on dvd, or on television. The Independent Film Festival of Boston has become the highest-attended film festival in New England and it takes place in the top arthouse theaters around Boston; the Somerville Theatre, the Brattle Theatre, the Coolidge Corner Theatre, and the Institute of Contemporary Art.