The Massachusetts Independent Film Festival is coming to Worcester April 13-16


WORCESTER — The Massachusetts Independent Film Festival moves to Worcester this year from April 13-16 with screenings of shorts, features and documentaries as well as discussions at three locations.

The Shawna E. Shea Memorial Foundation Inc. manages the film festival and has also announced plans to increase its presence in Worcester.

MassIFF will screen films at WCUW 91.3 FM Studio, 910 Main St.; Hilton Garden Inn Worcester, 35 Major Taylor Blvd; and Traina Center for the Arts at Clark University.

Highlights will include a special test screening of Omar Sosa’s “88 Well-Tuned Drums,” a feature-length documentary about the life and music of Cuban-born pianist and composer Omar Sosa; a special screening of “Execution” (in which a group of renegade women stage an execution of rapists and killers in a classroom) and a discussion with filmmaker Stavit Allweis; and a performance by Boston percussionist, composer and producer Julian Loida after screenings of a block of shorts, including his own, “Gentle Harp.” Several local films will be screened. Tickets for most screening blocks are $10.

MassIFF has shown new independent feature films, shorts, documentaries and acclaimed foreign films every year since 2011 in the Boston area. It was announced last year that the festival would come to Worcester as part of a merger with the Shawna Shea Film Festival.

“We are in partnership with Mass Indie, but we will be hosting the festival and it will support the Shawna Shea Memorial Foundation, Inc.,” the foundation’s executive director, Skip Shea, said last year.

The Shawna E. Shea Memorial Foundation was founded by Skip Shea, a Uxbridge-based filmmaker, writer, director and producer, in memory of his daughter Shawna E. Shea, a student at Uxbridge High School and a young, creative and artist who died at the age of 16 in a car accident in 1999.

The foundation has managed the Shawna Shea Film Festival for several years. Last year it was held in Sturbridge.

In a new announcement, Skip Shea said: “Our goal of establishing our programs in Worcester has been achieved: we have partnered with WCUW 91.3 FM radio and Clark University to host our screenings and these opportunities will grow with our flagship SSFF (Shawna Shea Film Festival) film festival in September. We look forward to these collaborations.”

Shea also said, “Speaking of WCUW, we’ll also be holding monthly screenings there, focusing on independent, genre, and arthouse films. And at this point, combining the monthly screenings with our festivals there, we’ll be the busiest cinema in Worcester.”

The Shawna Shea Memorial Foundation is a nonprofit organization that supports young people, especially women, in filmmaking, performing arts, and other artistic and cultural pursuits through financial assistance, of collaboration scholarships, mentorship and educational opportunities.

For this year’s MassIFF schedule, visit


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