The first SOMA Film Festival, dedicated to innovative independent films, will take place Feb. 12-14 at the South Orange Performing Arts Center. You can get more information at somafilmfestival.com, or see the schedule at somafilmfestival.com/film-schedule, but below is an assortment of trailers for some of the 40 films (both shorts and full-length features) that will be shown.
SOMA, by the way, stands for South Orange and Maplewood — neighboring towns with a high concentration of filmmakers and other artists among its residents — though all the screenings will be in South Orange.
“In Transit,” which screens at 10 a.m. Feb. 13, is a documentary feature, co-directed by the late Albert Maysles, about Amtrak’s Empire Builder train — which runs from Chicago to the Pacific Northwest — and the people who ride it. Critic Stephen Whitty will moderate a post-screening discussion with co-directors Lynn True and Nelson Walker.
“Mother’s Day,” which screens at noon Feb. 13, is a narrative short about a hospitalized mother (Oscar winner Melissa Leo) and her son.
“A Box Came to Brooklyn,” which screens at 4:15 p.m. Feb. 13, is a narrative short in which Brooklynites argue over the possibility that a plain brown box that shows up on their street could be a terrorist’s weapon.
“Some Kind of Spark,” which screens at 10 a.m. Feb. 14, is a documentary feature about seven inner city youths studying music at Juilliard.
“Among the Believers,” which screens at 3 p.m. Feb. 14, is a documentary feature about Pakistani cleric Abdul Aziz Ghazi, who supports ISIS and is waging jihad against the Pakistani state. Documentary makers Sarah Klein and Tom Mason will lead a post-screening discussion with co-directors Hemal Trivedi and Mohammed Ali Naqvi.
“Odd Brodsky,” which screens at 4:45 p.m. Feb. 14, is a narrative feature about a woman who quits her job and tries to become an actress.