For this year’s International Film Festival, event organizer Richard Paradise said instead of focusing on one common theme, he curated the selection with breadth in mind.

Utama, a short film from Bolivia, screens Sept. 10 at 1 p.m.

The lineup includes features from Bolivia, Korea, France and Iran, to name a few, with performances by border-defying stars such as Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz and Antonio Banderas. The annual short film competition also returns this year, juried by Diana Barrett, Sarah Kernochan and last year’s winner, Torfinn Iversen.

“It’s a wide swath,” Mr. Paradise said. “The idea is always to explore a variety of issues, whether they be personal or political, with an international lens, not just a U.S. lens. It gives our Vineyard community an opportunity to explore the world through film.”

The festival, which opens on Sept. 6 and runs through Sept. 11, turns 17 this year.

Mr. Paradise said his selection process begins in January, when he starts to attend film festivals around the world, including Sundance and the Berlin film festivals, to see what works are being highlighted.

“The themes run the gamut,” he said. “The only thing you won’t usually find is a lot of action or special effects. There’s nothing wrong with those, but our films tend to be more nuanced, not easily diagnosed. There’s more ambiguity.”

Waiting for Bojangles, from France, screens Sept. 9 at 1 p.m.

The festival begins on Tuesday with A Film About Couples from the Dominican Republic, but holds out until Thursday for its opening night party, which precedes the film Broker, a Korean road trip drama directed by the prominent Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda. The film earned an award at Cannes for best male lead, thanks to Parasite (2019) star Song Kang-ho. It tells the story of two men finding an adoptive home for an unwanted infant.

Similarly, Hit the Road, a feature from Iran, is a classic road trip film in many ways, Mr. Paradise said, but through a distinctly Iranian lens.

“It’s always about finding that universal in the specific,” he said.

On Friday, France’s Waiting for Bojangles hits the screen. The film has an unexpected local connection. Clare and Olivier Manchon composed and recorded the soundtrack during the pandemic while quarantining on the Vineyard. Ms. Manchon grew up on the Island (maiden name Clare Muldaur) and had decided to return to spend time with family at the start of the pandemic.

“We figured we’d stay a couple of weeks until everything blew over,” she said. “We ended up staying a year and a half.”

The film focuses on an insular family dealing with the effects of mental illness in 1950s Paris, themes that resonated deeply with the Manchons back in the spring of 2020.

“The parallels were pretty crazy, but thank goodness it didn’t end the same way,” Ms. Manchon said, avoiding spoilers.

Karaoke, a short film from Israel, screens Sept. 11 at 2:15 p.m.

The soundtrack takes inspiration from many of the trends of the 1950s, from the compositions of Henry Mancini to French “jerk” music that, in its attempts to mimic American rock music, became a genre all its own. The film’s title comes from Nina Simone’s Mr. Bojangles which, although it came out in the mid-70s, becomes an indicator of the main character’s descent into madness.

Composing the score was actually the easy part, the Manchons said, until it came time to record their compositions. Typically, films of this size would record their scores using live orchestras over the course of a couple of days, but during the pandemic it was impossible for musicians to record together live.

“Our director thought we would be done in a week,” Mr. Manchon said. “We quickly realized that was not the case.”

Instead, they recorded piece by piece, drawing from a network of musicians from across the world. While composers are usually limited to the musicians in whatever area they’re working in, the Manchons were able to gather recordings from their favorite instrumentalists regardless of location. The challenge, they said, was ensuring that each musician had a recording setup that would preserve the quality of the sound.

“Not every instrumentalist is necessarily a great sound engineer, but people were really willing to take it on,” Ms. Manchon said.

Mr. Paradise said he is excited to welcome audience members back to the theatre for the festival, after having to hold it online for the last two years.

“It’s been a frustrating and challenging past two years but we’ve persevered,” Mr. Paradise said. “Hopefully people will join us with a renewed interest in the moviegoing experience.”

Salvatore: Shoemaker of Dreams, from Italy, screens Sept. 6 at 7 p.m.

While Mr. Paradise sympathizes with the Covid-wary and recognizes the convenience that streaming provides, he sees no substitution for watching in a real theatre in the dark, surrounded by friends and strangers.

“Communal viewing has always been the reason people go to the movies,” he said. “It’s psychologically proven that people laugh harder and longer if they’re laughing with other people. There’s also something to be said about putting your phone away and experiencing the movie with no want to be totally transported and encapsulated in the story. That’s when the magic happens.”

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