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David Kleiler, key part of Boston's independent film community, dies at 79

The Arts Fuse says farewell to David Kleiler, who helped save the Coolidge Corner Theatre, founded the Boston Underground Film Festival and taught at Babson, Emerson and UMass Boston. His son, David Kleiler, Jr., reported the news and reports there will be a marquee ceremony at the Coolidge Corner at 6 p.m. today.



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I never get there anymore since moving to other areas of Boston, but years ago attended a lot of films there, especially loved when they showed classics on that huge screen. There was a time back then that there was talk of the theatre closing, many thanks to David Kleiler for keeping it alive.

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I ran films for his roving film society, the Rear Window, for a couple of years. I'd go to his apartment in Brookline Village, pick up a 16mm projector, a screen, and whatever film the evening's program consisted of, haul it out to the Brookline Arts Center or TT the Bear's or wherever the show was supposed to happen, and run a cultish title like The Seventh Seal or Performance for whatever audience showed up. It was a very small scale operation, and sometimes nobody would come, but David was devoted to it and he was very much a known quantity among the Boston film crowd. Somehow this town seems to have lost its taste for film culture, which I never understood - we couldn't mount a really great annual film festival that got world attention like Toronto, for one. But never mind, David was one local guy you'd always see at the interesting screenings, and I'm sad that he is gone.

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