Looking ahead to the Boston Independent Film Festival in April

For those who don’t know, Somerville has hosted the Boston Independent Film Festival (IFFBoston) for the past seven years, and on April 21, the eighth festival will begin. Just last week, Adam Roffman, program director of IFFBoston, announced that “The Extra Man” would open the festival this year right in Davis Square at the Somerville Theatre. Last year the Daily got to see many of last year’s indie hits — like “(500) Days of Summer” and “The Brothers Bloom” — months before they came out in theaters. Looking at major festival hits coming out of Sundance and South by Southwest (SXSW) has us anticipating what the lineup for this year’s IFFBoston will be when it’s finally announced in the coming weeks. Though we can’t know for sure that these films will make it to Boston early for the festival, we’ve got our fingers crossed for these select few:

“Winter’s Bone:” Coming off winning the Grand Jury Prize for dramatic film at Sundance in January, this film looks to be one of those small, sleeper hits (like last year’s “Precious,” which won the same award) that can go the distance through awards season. A young girl, Ree Dolly (Jennifer Lawrence), goes searching for her bail-jumping father after he puts up his family’s house as collateral in Ozark Mountain territory. Part detective story, part white-trash survival tale, “Winter’s Bone” would be one of the films to see at the festival should it make it into the lineup (and word on the street is that it will).

“Blue Valentine:” Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling star as a couple who fall in love and then fall apart, as Williams turns into a nagging, chubby wife and Gosling a lazy loser of a husband. The film opened to rave reviews at Sundance, despite the fact that it walked away empty-handed in terms of awards. Plus, these two actors together should provide for a tension-filled story about the perils of young love.

“Hesher:” Here’s to hoping we get a Joseph Gordon-Levitt film two years in a row. Here, instead of playing a lovesick puppy dog, Gordon-Levitt is a loafing hippie with long hair and tattoos — quite a stretch for this normally clean-shaven pretty boy. The critics were divided about the actual merit of the film, but there are a select few who passionately asserted that this film was the one to see at Sundance.

“Restrepo:” Another award winner at Sundance — this time the Grand Jury Prize for documentary — this film follows one platoon in Afghanistan for a year. While documentaries are often ignored by the movie-going crowd, IFFBoston often features many amazing nonfiction films (sometimes better than its dramatic offerings). This year’s Sundance came out with a few stand-out documentaries, including “Catfish,” a film about Facebook stalking, and “Waiting for Superman,” an in-depth look at America’s public education system — any of which would be welcome at IFFBoston.

“Micmacs à Tire-Larigot:”  Independent film festivals are some of the only places where American viewers can see foreign films. This new film from Jean-Pierre Jeunet (best know for directing “Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain” (2001), aka “Amélie”) has been making the rounds and received highly favorable reviews at this past week’s SXSW festival. We at the Daily think the more foreign films, the better (just look at last semester’s Best of the Decade list).