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Boston Film Festival takes center screen

From the Hub's famous strangler, to water wars and the man who will always hold a candle for Jessie, this week's movie madness should not disappoint.

For the next few days, the Hub will be illuminated with movie magic, as the 28th Annual Boston Film Festival brings filmmakers, actors and cinephiles out of hiding, and into Theater One at the Revere Hotel in Boston Common.

The five-day film fest kicked off Thursday night, and culminates Monday night with the world premiere of "Stranglehold: In the Shadow of the Boston Strangler," a home-grown documentary about the investigation of the city's most infamous serial killer.

Boston-area native and "Captain America" actor Chris Evans lends his voice to reading letters in the film, and is expected to swing by Monday night's screening.

"I grew up with (Evans). I don't know many actors," Director Myles Jewell said, laughing. "I contacted him, saying I thought it’d be cool to get him involved. He called me back and said, 'Yeah, whatever you need,' " Jewell said.

The film delves into Jewell's grandfather's homemade detective archive to reveal never-before-seen details about the strangler investigation.

"For me to walk in after he did the leg work was pretty awesome," Jewell said, adding, "To see a film that is set in your hometown really pulls you into the story. You know the pain that people went through over the years. There is a camaraderie. I think that makes it really special."

"We're excited about the mix of films this year. The topics are so varied and we have everything from comedy -- which we love to have because it's entertaining for people -- to some socially important messages for the environment," said Boston Film Festival Executive Director Robin Dawson.

One such socially important film - "A Dark Truth," which was spawned from director Damian Lee's research into the privatization of water.

"I think we need physical intensity in film. They are moving pictures, so I think the pictures have to move. Otherwise we're looking at paintings," Lee said. "Otherwise how can we entertain and enlighten? If we can do both well, I think we've filled an audience with awe."

As far as entertainment goes, ladies and gentlemen, we have Rick Springfield, a 30-plus-year multi-skilled star with a loyal fan following.

You might know him as the man who really wished he had Jessie's girl.

And he has a documentary to show for it, "An Affair of the Heart," by director Sylvia Caminer, which has its east coast premiere on Saturday at the festival.

"It was intense. It got a little intense at times," Springfield said of being filmed. "Other times, it was a little fun. We'd stumble out of the car after an 18-hour journey and there would be cameras in our faces. Some great stuff. It really takes a unique direction."

Dawson considers the festival a "unique opportunity" for movie lovers to take part in the film making process, because they can connect with the cast after some screenings.

"We want people here to see these types of film and have these discussions. We find that people are delighted, not only from film community but just generally throughout Boston and New England."

 
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