The Roxbury International Film Festival is celebrating its 26th year of spotlighting local, national and international filmmakers through its various film programs, including features, documentaries and shorts.

“It’s just amazing the stories that people are telling,” said Lisa Simmons, founder of the Roxbury International Film Festival. “Independent voices are, to me, the most important voices out there right now doing film and media. I think that one of the most important things about independent film festivals is that these voices are uplifted, and you’re not going to see them in mainstream media.”

The in-person festival events are currently underway and end Friday, June 28. Films this year focus on themes such as relationships, redemption, Indigenous and native lands, fear and comedy. One of this year’s selected short films, “Of The Comics,” centers around a group of African American comedians.

“The interesting thing about it was the different generations of comics,” said Alonzo Bodden, a comedian who participated in the short film. “I was the old head in the series. The attitudes have changed. What Black comedy is has changed. They finally have realized that we are not a narrow demographic.”

For Bodden, comedy is not only a way to make people laugh but also a tool for social progress. In a polarized political climate, he said, comedians often “need humor to get the message through.”

“We talk a lot about using films as a catalyst for conversation. And I think that this particular film is an important part of that,” Simmons agrees. “This is a film where it’s going to make people talk about comedians, about what people are talking about, about the importance, like Alonzo said, of using humor. We are in such sad times that we need something to break that feeling, that intensity, that tenseness, and comedy does that.”


  • Lisa Simmons, founder of the Roxbury International Film Festival
  • Alonzo Bodden, comedian and participant in “Of The Comics”