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    Scene Here | Local films, festivals, and faces

    The fictional side of Belmont World Film’s Family Festival

    “Master Spy” screens at Belmont World Film’s Family Festival.
    “Master Spy” screens at Belmont World Film’s Family Festival.

    While Peter Keough has the documentary side of Belmont World Film’s 15th annual Family Festival covered, I’m here to tell you about fictional films in the lineup. Featuring more than 30 animated and live-action films from around the globe, the festival (Jan. 12-15 at the Regent Theatre in Arlington, Studio Cinema in Belmont, and the Brattle Theatre in Cambridge) is popular with adults as well as kids, from toddlers to teens.

    Opening night at the Regent Theatre features the North American premiere of the Dutch spy-caper comedy “Master Spy,” a James Bond-like adventure (kid-friendly version) about a 10-year-old boy who wakes up a secret agent after being in cryofreeze since 1973. Other films include the East Coast premiere of “Tales From the Lakeside” (Jan. 13 at Studio Cinema), an animated coming-of-age tale from Hungary about the green Verdies, tiny but brave guardians of the lakeside; and from Spain there’s “Zip & Zap and the Captain’s Island” (also Jan. 13 at Studio Cinema), which follows the adventures of brothers and Spanish comic book heroes Zip and Zap.

    Two films for older kids screen Jan. 14 at the Regent Theatre: first, it’s the East Coast premiere of “Cloudboy,” about a shy skateboarder living with his father in Belgium. The boy reluctantly agrees to help herd reindeer during a summer in Lapland with his estranged mother, who lives among an indigenous people known as the Sami. It’s followed by “Windstorm and the Wild Horses” about a teenage horse whisperer who travels to Spain with her beloved black stallion.


    The festival celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. Day Jan. 15 at the Brattle with several dramatic offerings, including the New England premiere of “Hero Steps.” Co-presented by Reelabilities Film Festival, “Hero Steps” is about a 10-year-old Colombian boy with a passion for soccer. The North American premiere of “Oskar’s America” centers on a boy’s attempt to row a boat from Norway to America to visit his mother.

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    Epic disaster

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    The release of the critically lauded “The Disaster Artist,” directed by and starring James Franco as Tommy Wiseau, who wrote, directed, and starred in the so-bad-it’s-good movie “The Room,” has spurred renewed interest in the 2003 cult classic. The Coolidge Corner Theatre has been showing “The Room” at midnight screenings for years; now FathomEvents gets on board with a one-night-only screening of “Tommy Wiseau’s ‘The Room’ ” in 500 theaters across the country Jan. 10 at 8 p.m.

    Locally, “Tommy Wiseau’s ‘The Room’ ” will screen at Fenway Stadium 13. In addition to the full-length feature, moviegoers will get a look at the trailer for “Best F(r)iends,” a new film starring Wiseau and his “The Room” costar Greg Sestero, who wrote the 2013 memoir “The Disaster Artist” and who’s played in Franco’s film, which chronicles the making of “The Room,” by Franco’s brother, Dave Franco.

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    Loren King can be reached at