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Another Big Weekend of Film
by M. Faust
The Buffalo International Film Festival's rich program finishes strong
As I said last week, if you haven’t found something you want to see at the fifth edition of the Buffalo International Film Festival, which wraps up this weekend, you haven’t read the schedule very well.
Sunday brings a tribute to local photographer Milton Rogovin, who died earlier this year, with a program of four short films exploring his career as an archivist of working people. Named Best Short Documentary at the 2003 Tribeca Film Festival, “Milton Rogovin: The Forgotten Ones” follows the completion of Rogovin’s the Lower West Side photographic series, made between 1972 and 2002. “Be Filled With the Spirit” uses the words of Dr. W. E. B. Du Bois and archival music recordings to bring to life Rogovin’s photos of storefront churches. “Picture Man,” directed by Mark Rogovin, links poems his father wrote in the 1990s to express his feelings about his best known photographs. Made for England’s Channel 4 in 1992, “The Photography of Milton Rogovin” focus on Rogovin’s documenting of the lives of steel workers and miners, including footage shot in the steel mills. Introduced by Mark Rogovin, Nancy Weekly, and Michael Frisch, the program will be shown Sunday at 12:30pm.
At the other end of the spectrum: If you’ve ever dipped your toes into the weird, intoxicating, and exhilarating world of Hong Kong cinema, from martial arts epics to John Woo shoot-’em-ups to hopping vampire comedies, you owe a debt of thanks to Ric Meyers, the man most responsible for exposing Americans to the output of one of the world’s largest film industries. His book Great Martial Arts Movies was the main English-language guide to Hong Kong cinema, and is now the source for the documentary Films of Fury. Meyers will be present to introduce his film and, if I can hazard a guess, to tell some stories about the glory days. It screens Saturday at 7pm.
Most films will be shown at the Screening Room, where your admission for any of the 7pm screenings includes a pre-show reception at 6pm. (Cheap date alert: free food!) Screens (formerly the HD Video Café) in Williamsville will be running a series of made-in-Buffalo productions and international short films.
Friday, October 21
NYU STUDENT FILMS—From the school that gave the world Martin Scorsese, Spike Lee, Oliver Stone, and many others. Screening Room, 10am
FILMS MADE IN BUFFALO—A program of locally produced short films. Screening Room, 12:30 pm
FILMS OF FURY—See above. Screening Room, 7pm
HENRY’S FUTURE—Locally made romantic comedy about a lonely bachelor who puts his faith in the words of a psychic who predicts that he is about to meet the woman of his dreams. Starring Jason Gelsomino, Amelie McKendry, and Brendan Orrange. Directed by DonnaMarie Vaughan. Screens, 7pm
SHOCK CORRIDOR (1963)—Samuel Fuller’s classic about an ambitious journalist who gets himself confined to an insane asylum to investigate a murder, only to find himself trapped there. The film will be introduced by Charles Dennis, who produced the special features for the Criterion DVD of the film and whose short “Atwill” will open the program. Screening Room, 9pm
SWIMMING UPSTREAM—Documentary detailing the funding struggles of the Buffalo and Erie County Library System. Screens, 9pm
Saturday, October 22
MEET THE PROS—Workshop featuring Emmy Award-winning documentarians David Heeley and Joan Kramer. Screening Room, 10am
FLATLAND—Animated adaptation of Edwin Abbott’s science fiction novel set in a two-dimensional world inhabited by geometrical shapes, where a political and social upheaval ensures when a visitor from a third dimension arrives and introduces the concept of “height.” Introduced by filmmaker Ladd Ehlinger Jr. Screening Room, 12:30pm
VITASCOPE THEATER: 115TH BIRTHDAY PARTY—Did you know that Buffalo is the home of the world’s first permanent movie theater? Learn more about the Edison Vitascope Theater (and have some cake!) on the site where it once stood. Ellicott Square Building, 1pm
FRANKENSTEIN—Mary Shelly’s novel was first adapted to film in 1910 by Edison Studios. This rare screening of the rediscovered short film will be introduced by Frederick C. Wiebel, Jr. Screening Room, 3pm
AMERICAN GRINDHOUSE—Entertaining compendium of trailers and scenes from exploitation films, including interviews with Joe Dante, Jack Hill, Don Edmonds, David Hess, and others. Introduced by Ric Meyers. Screening Room, 4:15pm
SHORT FILMS FROM INDIA—Screens, 4pm
GALLANTS—Named Best Film at this year’s Hong Kong Film Awards, this tribute to Kung Fu movies of the 1970s follows the efforts of three guys to save a dojo from being razed by a real estate developer. Introduced by Ric Meyers. Screening Room, 7pm
THE EXPERIENCE and BADFISH—A double feature from Buffalo’s Nickel City Films. The Experience is a documentary about cultural identity filmed in Ghana. Badfish is a mockumentary featuring many Buffalo locations about two guys participating in a national goldfish-eating competition. Screens, 9pm
HIVE MIND—World premiere of a science fiction story set in a future where a right-wing talk show host is the last survivor in a world now populated by nudist zombies. Introduced by filmmaker Ladd Ehinger Jr. Screening Room, 9:15pm
Sunday, October 23
A TRIBUTE TO MILTON ROGOVIN—See above. Screening Room, 12:30pm
FRANKENSTEIN—See above. Screening Room, 3pm
FOR THE LOVE OF MOVIES—Gerald Peary, long-time film critic for the Boston Phoenix, directed this documentary about the history of American film criticism and its uncertain future in an age when the internet has turned everyone into a critic. Screening Room, 4pm
WESTERN NEW YORK SHORT FILM PROGRAM—Screens, 4pm
ROMANTICS ANONYMOUS—A box office hit from France about two shy people (Benoît Poelvoorde and Isabelle Carré) who find love working together in a chocolate company. Screening Room, 6:30pm
CLOSING NIGHT PARTY AND AWARD ANNOUNCEMENTS—Screening Room, 8:30pm
The Screening Room, Northtown Plaza in Century Mall, 3131 Sheridan Drive, Amherst (837-0376)
Screens (formerly HD Video Café), 5445 Transit Rd, Williamsville (688-4933)
Tickets can be purchased by phone from the Screening Room or online at buffalofilmfest.eventbrite.com.
For more information and announcements of additions, visit buffalofilmfestival2011.sched.org.
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