Artvoice: Buffalo's #1 Newsweekly
Home Blogs Web Features Calendar Listings Artvoice TV Real Estate Classifieds Contact
Previous story: Monty Python: Almost the Truth
Next story: Where The Wild Things Are

Buffalo International Film Festival: Week Two

Buffalo International Film Festival goes Disney for two days, then turns eclectic

The Buffalo International Film festival kicks into high gear this week with two days of programming for Disney buffs, timed to coincide with the opening of the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco. Thursday features a screening of the documentary Walt and El Grupo, chronicling a visit by Disney and some of his staff to South America to research some films they were asked to produce by the US government. The screening will be hosted by Disney expert J.B. Kaufman, author of South of the Border With Disney: Walt Disney and the Good Neighbor Program, 1941-1948.

(Should you be reading this after Thursday, the film will have a week’s run at the North Park theater beginning on October 23. Buffalo is the only city outside of New York and Los Angeles where it will be screened theatrically.)

Kaufman will be present for a second program on Friday featuring The Three Caballeros, one of the animated films made based on the South American trip.

On Saturday afternoon at 2pm, the North Park hosts a special program designed to recreate the experience of a Saturday matinee in the golden age of movie theaters. A Buck Rogers serial and the cartoon “Mr. Gallagher and Mr. Shean” open the show, which is a 3D print (glasses included) of It Came From Outer Space, based on a story by Ray Bradbury. Bradbury himself will make an appearance on a video shot for the BIFF, in which he answers questions posed by members of the Buffalo Film Society.

Saturday evening’s film is Proud, filmed primarily in Buffalo harbor on the USS The Sullivans. A cast of local actors, along with Ossie Davis, Aidan Quinn, and Stephen Rea, are featured in this story of the USS Mason, the only African-American crewed Navy warship that went into combat in World War II. The film will be presented by writer-director and Lorenzo Defau, the last surviving crew member of USS Mason.

On Sunday at 3pm, the experience of attending a storefront movie theater in the early years of the 20th century will be recreated on the site of the world’s first permanent movie theater at the Ellicott Square Building. Film scholar and pianist Rick Altman’s performance, “The Living Nickelodeon,” mixes a reel of period films (copied from paper prints in the Library of Congress) and illustrated song slides.

You don’t have to be a fan of comic art to enjoy Monday’s feature, Will Eisner: Portrait of a Sequential Artist. This documentary about the artist who arguably created both comic books and graphic novels is fascinating for anyone with an interest in popular culture of the last century. The film features interviews with Eisner made shortly before his death in 2005, and with Jules Feiffer, Kurt Vonnegut, Michael Chabon, Art Spiegelman, Frank Miller, Stan Lee, and others. It will be presented by director Andrew Cooke.

At 6pm on Wednesday, cult filmmaker Charles Band of Full Moon Studios presents a 35mm studio archive print of Doctor Mordrid (1992), a fantasy adventure starring Jeffrey Combs loosely adapted from the “Dr. Strange” comic books. An 8:30pm program is still in the planning stages; check out for more information.

Thursday’s film is A Pearl in the Forest, the North American Premiere of a film from Mongolia that takes place in 1937, when Stalin’s purges killed thousands of ethnic Buryats. The beautifully photographed scenery compensates for the story’s dramatic weaknesses, all of which are wrapped up in an emotionally satisfying conclusion. It will be introduced by the filmmakers, writer, and performers.

Except where noted, all events are at 7pm in the Market Arcade Film and Arts Center, 617 Main Street. Tickets can be purchased at the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra Box office or from the BPO Web site (all ticketing fees benefit the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra); from the BIFF Web site (, or at the screening venue before each film.

blog comments powered by Disqus