The Roslindale Village (Walkable) Film Series has received an immediate and enthusiastic response from the community. We spoke with Kevin Tobin, one of the organizers, about who he is and how the film series came to be.
Film buff, movie nerd, cinephile — all in all, I love the audio-visual experience.
When did you realize that you were really into movies, more so than other people? Was there a particular movie that marked a turning point for you?
My mother was always a big movie and book person. Always reading, always watching something. I remember we would always go to Hellas Video, Arborway Video, and Videosmith, and I was just drawn to everything about them — the cover designs on the VHS, the previews, the behind the scenes, and of course, the movies themselves. There weren’t a lot of kids in my neighborhood when I was younger, so I was always watching movies and constantly re-creating movies I would watch through pretend.
I guess the “separation” came with films like Wild America (1997) and Adaptation (2002) which were films about film-making (or the process), that inspired me to try to do my own, and really get invested into the film/video world.
How did the Roslindale Village (Walkable) Film Series come to be and what is your particular role in it?
Steve Gag — what a guy. I had hiked with him and my father last summer and had expressed interest in trying to create a Roslindale film society, or something similar. Meanwhile, Adam Kessel and Matt Lawlor of WalkUP-Roslindale, had spoken with Steve about doing some sort of “walkable” or walking-inspired series of films. Steve and Laura Gang had hosted films at their home in the past, and, being such amazing organizers and community members, put the two ideas together and started talking to groups and business owners to try and make it happen. And a fine job they have both done! My particular role has been curation (coming up with movies and networking with the filmmakers/producers for access), poster design, and I will be moderating the series. Andy Cross, an old friend, has done a great work inventing surreal sketches and art for each individual film.
How did you pick the movies being shown?
Steve, my father Greg, and I would meet at Fornax every few weeks to come up with appropriate films. More often than not, films and their filmmakers require a screening fee (average $200), so we couldn’t show anything we wanted given our “no-budget” circumstances. I’m a documentary-fanatic, so I pushed a lot of social justice films, while Steve and my dad were interested in local fare. The list we came up with is a nice mix of male and female directed, Boston-based, progressive documentaries, that deal, community building, and our footprint in the global spectrum.
You must have many favorite movies but which are your top three for showing folks who seem like they are movie lovers and just starting to get into film?
The typical “film school” movies they teach are Citizen Kane, Casablanca, Bergman, Kurosawa or John Ford films. There’s just so much to dissect about those guys — the problem I have with the typical “film school” movies are they are mostly (not all, but mostly) American films, and they are more often than not directed by men (often white men). I know I’m not answering this question directly, and I could list dozens of movies that I loved and blew my hair back and made me re-think my context in the world and as an artist, but, I would not recommend any films to any one person in that capacity — like any other piece of art, it has to call out to you, or present an opportunity for you to see it, and it’s your responsibility to take the time or not take the time for the particular art. There’s so much out there at this point, it makes it really hard to narrow this into a list — everyone gets inspired by different people, different things.
What is your one guilty pleasure movie or movie aspect? Mine is that I’ll watch anything with The Rock (a.k.a. Dwayne Johnson) in it. Really, anything.
Oh, no, I’m going to be laughed at for this one — Pauly Shore movies. I’m a product of 1990s culture and The Weasel was one of my favorites (to my parents’ disapproval and dismay).
For a schedule of the films and up-to-date information about the film series, be sure to keep checking walkuproslindale.org/film.