Richard Linklater's 'Boyhood' Opens Sixth Annual BAMcinemaFest in Brooklyn

Richard Linklater Ellar Coltrane at Boyhood Premiere - H 2014
Andy Kropa/Invision/AP

Richard Linklater Ellar Coltrane at Boyhood Premiere - H 2014

The coming-of-age tour de force opened the Brooklyn Academy of Music's annual showcase of independent film.

Not a single seat was left empty at the BAMcinemaFest premiere of Richard Linklater's Boyhood. Brooklyn's biggest names and dedicated fans all came out to see the coming-of-age film that took 12 years to complete.

Linklater began shooting Boyhood, which debuted to stellar reviews at Sundance, when star Ellar Coltrane was just seven years old. To capture the magic of youth and maturation, Linklater continued to film a few days each year, documenting Mason's growth from first-grade youngster to high-school graduate. Patricia Arquette stars as Coltrane's mother, a divorcee who over the years juggles single parenthood, higher education and a slew of ne'er-do-well suitors. Linklater's real-life daughter, Lorelei Linklater, stars alongside Coltrane as Mason's older sister, Samantha. Longtime Linklater cohort Ethan Hawke stars as the siblings' estranged but loving father.

PHOTOS The Scene at SXSW 2014

In her opening remarks at Fort Greene's historic Harvey Theater, BAM president Karen Brooks Hopkins said that Boyhood is the perfect opener for this year's BAMcinemaFest because of its ability to embolden the possibilities of independent filmmaking. Linklater then introduced his movie, or at least tried to.

"It's kinda hard to describe this movie," he said. "But suffice to say, it's been this really fascinating life project for everyone involved. We're just kinda thrilled that people are finally getting to see it."

Coltrane, whom Linklater called "the most wonderful aspect of this whole project" was up next.

PHOTOS The Scene at Sundance Film Festival 2014

"Thirteen years [ago] now, a bunch of weirdos in Texas led by this man," Coltrane said, indicating Linklater, "decided to embark on this project and for some reason chose me to come along with them. It was an incredible process, so I really hope you enjoy it."

Boyhood's producers and regular Linklater collaborators John Sloss and Jonathan Sehring joined at the project's inception and never lost sight of how fantastic a film Boyhood could be.

"[Linklater] came to us and the idea just sounded so different," Sehring tells The Hollywood Reporter. "Out of anybody who could do this, it was Rick, so it was a really easy project to jump onboard for. And of course, you know, 12 years later, I'm glad it's still here, but there was never a moment's doubt."

PHOTOS Sundance 2014: Exclusive Portraits of Aaron Paul, Kristen Stewart, Keira Knightley, Zoe Saldana and More in Park City

Other guests at Wednesday night's New York premiere included Maggie Gyllenhaal, Amber Tamblyn, Jonathan Groff, Patrick Wilson, Jenny Slate, Gia Coppola, Jenna Lyons and Imogen Poots. The screening was followed by a late-night afterparty with Dark Horse wine and canapes at Skylight One Hanson.

The sixth annual BAMcinemaFest runs through Sunday, June 29 and showcases 27 works from both seasoned Hollywood veterans and promising up-and-comers.

Boyhood hits theaters on July 18.