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Buffalo International Film Festival, Week 2

Starry Starry Night

In its second week, Buffalo’s film festival heats up

The sixth edition of the Buffalo International Film Festival kicks into high gear this weekend with 25 presentations.

Except as noted, all BIFF presentations will be held at the Screening Room in Amherst. Other venues are the Lockport Palace Theater (2 East Avenue, Lockport) and Casa De Arte, (141 Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo).

Side By Side

Thursday, September 27

7pm: SIDE BY SIDE—Keanu Reeves hosts a surprisingly engrossing documentary about the death of 35-millimeter and the rise of digital in Hollywood film production. Featuring interviews with many top directors, cinematographers and editors, including David Lynch, Lars von Trier, Michael Ballhaus, George Lucas, Danny Boyle, James Cameron, David Fincher, Walter Murch, Christopher Nolan, Martin Scorsese, Steven Soderbergh, the Wachowskis, and Vilmos Zsigmond. (Also showing Saturday at the Lockport Palace.)

7pm: THE STORY OF FILM: AN ODYSSEY—The first three episodes of the epic documentary by Irish film critic Mark Cousins, an ambitious history of cinema that covers the global filmmaking community from the 1890s through the present day. If you don’t have four years to spend in film school, this is the next best thing. The rest of the fifteen-part series will be shown through the fall at the Screening Room. (Lockport Palace Theater)

6pm: EL MINISTRIO Y YO (Mexico, 1976)—First in a series of free screenings celebrating the Centennial of Mexican comedian Cantinflas. (Casa De Arte)

9pm: A CASE OF DECEIT—From Canada, a crime story about a cop attempting to take down a notorious crime lord discovers a double crossing deal that becomes the catalyst for uncovering an even deeper conspiracy.

Friday, September 28

2pm: MADE IN BUFFALO—Four hours of short films and featurettes made in Western New York. Some filmmakers will be present to introduce their films.

7pm: ALIVE INSIDE—Documentary about neurologist Oliver Sacks’s attempts to reach elderly patients with Alzheimer’s disease through the use of music from their youth.

7pm: AHI ESTA EL DETALLE (You’re Missing the Point, 1940)—Part of the Cantinflas Centennial Celebration. (Casa de Arte)

7pm: CARIS’ PEACE—Gaylen Ross (Killing Kasztner) directed this documentary about Caris Corfman, a successful Broadway performer who determines to return to the stage after a brain tumor destroys her short-term memory, making it impossible for her to memorize dialogue. (Lockport Palace)

9pm: LAST CALL AT THE OASIS—Erin Brockovich is one of the activists who contributed to this documentary about the future of water access, which has a particular thrust: expect the drought to hit the United States as hard as any Third World countries.

My Neighbor Tortoro

Saturday, September29

9am: HISTIO-WARRIORS—Premier of a documentary by Buffalo native Melissa Berger about histiocytosis, an extremely rare form of cancer.

Noon: 21 BROTHERS—Filmed in Ontario, this story of the Canadians 21st Battalion preparing for the battle of Courcelette in World War One was shot in a single take and is a contender for the Guiness Book of World Records.

1:30pm: MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO—Rare 35mm screening of Hayao Miyazaki’s classic 1988 animated film about the adventures of two young girls with the woodland spirits who live near their ailing mother’s house. Don’t count on ever getting another chance to see this masterpiece in this format (Lockport Palace)

2pm: GOD’S FIDDLER: JASCHA HEIFITZ—Documentary on the life of the great violinist, including footage that Heifitz himself shot on his world travels.

4pm: THE ACKERMONSTER CHRONICLES—Updated version of film shown as an “in progress” work at last year’s BIFF about Forrest J. Ackerman, the man who inspired a generation of kids in the 1960s and 1970s to become movie buffs as the editor of Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine. Filmmakers Jason and Sunni Brock will be present.

7pm: RAY HARRYHAUSEN: SPECIAL EFFECTS TITAN—Premier of a new documentary with Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, Ray Bradbury, and others talking about the creator of stop-motion effects whose name was often more prominent than the titles of the films he worked on.

7pm: SIDE BY SIDE—See Thursday. (Lockport Palace)

7pm: CONSERJE NE CONDOMINIO (1974)—Part of the Cantinflas Centennial Celebration. (Casa de Arte)

9pm: TRUE BROMANCE—Adrian Grenier and comic Jim Norton are featured in this comedy about a man obsessed with meeting and marrying Condoleeza Rice!

The Island President

Sunday, September 30

Noon: THE ISLAND PRESIDENT—Documentary about Mohamed Nasheed, who can legitimately claim to be the human being most concerned about global warning: he is the president of the Maldives, the lowest-lying nation in the world and therefore the most threatened by any rise in the world’s ocean level.


2pm: SOMEWHERE BETWEEN—Documentary about four Chinese girls adapted by American couples who set out to discover the murky nature of their pasts.

4pm: FILMMAKING WORKSHOP—Guest filmmakers (to be announced) will show clips from their films and answer audience questions on topics including independent film financing and production.

4pm: MADE IN BUFFALO FILMS—See Friday. (Lockport Palace)

7pm: POR MIS PISTOLES (1968)—Part of the Cantinflas Centennial Celebration. (Casa de Arte)

7pm: STARRY STARRY NIGHT—The closing night film is a family drama from Taiwan that received numerous awards for its special effects. When a young girl’s world is changed forever by her parents’ divorce, she seeks comfort in a marvelous fantasy world inspired by her grandparents. Followed by Closing Night Party and announcement of Audience Awards.

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