Farewell to David Kleiler

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BUFF is heartbroken over the loss of our founder and friend David Kleiler. From his days at the Coolidge, to Rear Window, to even his living room, David made a permanent mark on Boston’s film culture. There would certainly be no Boston Underground Film Festival without him. We are devastated. RIP David.

A personal message from our Artistic Director, Kevin Monahan:

Fifteen years ago, Anna Feder and I met with David Kleiler in his living room to discuss the fate of the Boston Underground Film Festival. We met David about three years prior, working our way up the food chain on the Northampton Independent Film Festival, which he directed. David had a lot of projects on his plate at the time, and to him at this point, BUFF was a worrisome burden. But to us, then-26 year-old genre fans, it was the sexiest car in his garage. And we walked out of his Brookline apartment that night holding the keys.

Looking back, it’s kind of weird that he entrusted it to a couple of kids with no programming experience. It was and is a huge honor regardless. It’s also a testament to David’s intuition that, through the conversations we had, he was able to glean that we were the right people for the job and we would do right by his creation. Anna went on to program Emerson’s Bright Lights series. I still run BUFF with Nicole McControversy and Bryan McKay.

David’s legacy is enviable. The Coolidge Corner Theatre still stands, and BUFF is not only still alive but thriving. But I’m still sad that he’s not around to approve of our shenanigans. I’m sad that I’m not going to get another phone call from him ever (David was one of only two people I would answer the phone for. The other is my girlfriend). Sad that we’re not going to meet up for beer & oysters at Matt Murphy’s. Sad that I’m not going to hang out in his living room to watch a movie with him and everyone else. David was a friend and a mentor, and while I guess a lot of people can say that, he gave me the opportunity that has shaped my life ever since. I’m going to miss him terribly.

My heart goes out to David Jr. and his family.