By Erin Casper, 2011 Fellow

On May 1st, my boyfriend Adam and I headed up to Sommerville, Massachusetts to spend the day at Independent Film Festival Boston. Thanks to Adam Roffman and the generous staff at IFFB, I was given a Chrome Pass to enjoy the festival, and we were more than happy to leave our hectic work schedules behind and spend the day at the cinema. The films we had time to see (there were so many more films playing later in the week, but were at the mercy of work!) were playing in the Sommerville Theater back-to-back and we wasted no time jumping in. All told, we took in three films with some time to grab snacks and mingle with local filmmakers in the lobby before retreating back into the theater. We saw Bobby Fischer Against the World (more on that in a minute), followed by Raising Renee, the story of famed artist Beverly McIver’s emotional journey to fulfill her promise to care for her mentally disabled older sister following the death of their mother. Then we saw the indie sci-fi drama Another Earth, just before a late dinner and trip back to New York.

As I’ve traveled for the Fellowship, one thing that’s happened is that several of Karen’s friends—and she made them everywhere she went—have taken the time to meet and get to know me. At IFFB, Lucia Small—Karen’s close friend and director on My Father, the Genius—generously spent the day with Adam and me and introduced us to many of the Boston colleagues she and Karen have in common. We also saw Bobby Fischer together—Karen’s last film—which was an intense and cathartic experience.

While Adam and I had a great day of watching films at IFFB—we’re already plotting our return next year—getting to know Lucia and her friends and colleagues made the trip truly special. Hearing great stories about Karen and getting acquainted with the Boston community showed me the deep impact Karen had on her friends.

Traveling home from IFFB, it started to sink in that the Fellowship has helped me not only feel connected to Karen in another realm outside of her work, but also facilitate new relationships of my own.