BNFF FILM REVIEWS

 

Granted [2013] – Artvoice 4-4-13


It has become commonplace for independent films to wear how little they cost as a badge of honor. And it’s certainly one to be proud of in an era where Hollywood movies costing $100 million are not unusual. Still, it often serves as an unspoken plea for lowered expectations—“Don’t expect too much from our movie, we only spent $489 on it!”

That’s not the case with Granted, which calls itself the first made in Buffalo feature to be 100 percent crowd-funded (via IndieGoGo). A drama about an up-and-coming musician (Brian Bernys) whose life falls apart when he is unable to move past a personal tragedy, it’s a tightly crafted film that seldom takes a wrong step. Heading a team that has been working together for a few years, including some entries in the annual 48 Hour Film Challenge, director Anthony Vescio has put together a commanding showcase that all can be proud to have on their resumes.

Granted will have its hometown premiere next Friday, April 12 at 9pm, at the Market Arcade Film and Arts Center, as part of the Buffalo Niagara Film Festival, which runs April 10-14. The Friday screening will be followed by a panel on crowd-funding that should be useful to filmmakers and anyone else who has to depend on outside money.
For full review & trailer

 

Seadrift Vs. The Big Guy – Post Magazine [2013]


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Living River: The Ganges [2011]

“She is worshiped by Demons and Gods alike” Having just been to India last summer, the pollution of the Ganges in Vinit Parmar‘s documentary Living River: The Ganges is something I witnessed first-hand. Taking a gondola ride down the ghat-filled bank of Varanasi’s portion of the holy river, I saw hundreds of men, women, and [...]
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Caught [2011]

“I don’t cheat” Using baseball as the metaphor to an underdog life of disrespect, the short film Caught utilizes a recreation league’s championship game as the release of starting catcher Hannah’s (Lori Martini) naïve reliance on her family for a love they’ll never share. Trash-talking her brother Robbie (Daniel Braver)—stuck in a leg brace and [...]

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buffalo niagara film festival, film features, film festival, film reviews, horror, shorts
Fractured Minds [2011]
“Sometimes I want to smash your face into a window” The horror genre has been used to speak on political matters, mask psychological traumas, signify an internal struggle through manifested pain, and to just plain scare audiences with a healthy portion of blood and guts. Frank Battiston‘s Fractured Minds wants to feed into the more [...]

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buffalo niagara film festival, comedy, drama, film features, film festival, film reviews, romance, shorts
Beware Pickpocket [2010]
“How did you get it?” We all strive to be pure, to be worthy of those we love. Oftentimes, however, such illusions of grandeur are nothing more than a façade to hide who we really are. Even in dream the titular petty thief (David Amito) of Beware Pickpocket sees himself as the bloodied punching bag [...]

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Kaziah the Goat Woman [2010]
“Maybe because I picked up the brush I can leave a little love behind” Up in Manti, Utah lives a woman for which the word eccentric doesn’t quite do justice. Emotional, spiritual, joyful, and without regret, Kaziah Hancock has overcome a hard life to become an American treasure cherished by those unfortunate families dealt the [...]

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buffalo niagara film festival, drama, film features, film festival, film reviews, shorts, suspense/thriller
Aloneliness [2011]
“I’m at the front door” It’s hard to believe that Sid Bodalia‘s Aloneliness is a student film. After living in New Jersey and eventually attending the Maryland Institute College of Art for degrees in design and painting, the young artist moved all the way to Mumbai, India in order to pursue a career in filmmaking [...]

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buffalo niagara film festival, drama, film features, film festival, film reviews, shorts, suspense/thriller
Dot Got Shot [2011]
“Stop walking me home” Making its rounds through underground film festivals, Honey Lauren‘s Dot Got Shot brings a relevant psychological punch with its ultra low-budget aesthetic. The acting is not the greatest and the cinematography choices may be a bit too artsy at times, but the story of Dot—a decorated policewoman haunted by the nightmares [...]

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buffalo niagara film festival, drama, film features, film festival, film reviews, shorts
Tarantula Moonrocket [2011]
“Break a paparazzo’s camera; smash up a hotel room” Before he moved to Los Angeles to live the dream, I had the pleasure of seeing Jack Hunter perform the Richard Burton role in a local Buffalo production of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? His turn contained a perfect amount of gravitas while the intimate setting [...]

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buffalo niagara film festival, drama, film features, film festival, film reviews, foreign, shorts
Departures [2011]
“Ne’ wick?” It’s the kind of story you hear about often—spouses separated by continents in order to work towards making a better life for their family. A breadwinner wins the opportunity for immigration to the United States while his/her second half must remain home for years before the chance for reunion presents itself. But whether [...]

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Yert: Your Environmental Road Trip [2011]
“We’re driving the bed, right?” With a goofy acronym for a name—YERT: Your Environmental Road Trip—and a tagline promising to be ‘An Environmental Documentary That’s NOT Depressing!’, you can imagine a lot of eye-rolling and trepidation when sitting down to see just how true a statement that marketing line could be. But then you meet [...]

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buffalo niagara film festival, documentary, film features, film festival, film reviews
Ordinary Joe [2012]
“For an easier path we give up life” Men like Joe Sciacca are a rare breed. A blue-collar roofer from Long Island, NY, Joe is a Vietnam War veteran who has returned each year for months at a time to facilitate charitable donations by his community and bring smiles to the impoverished and sick he [...]

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buffalo niagara film festival, comedy, film features, film festival, film reviews, romance
BNFF12 REVIEW: Moon Point [2012]
“My grandmother doesn’t let me out of the house without coupons” If quirky indie had a handbook, Moon Point would be a film ripped from its pages. Beginning with a handmade credit sequence of cardboard Valentine’s cards with names of the cast and crew a la Napoleon Dynamite‘s geek chic, you know what to expect [...]

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buffalo niagara film festival, documentary, film features, film festival, film reviews
Chercher le courant [Seeking the Current] [2011]

“The nationalization of energy” The documentary Chercher le courant [Seeking the Current] is a very interesting project. Both a labor of love to document the gorgeous natural expanse of the 500-kilometer Romaine River in Quebec as well as a look into the alternative energy methods that could replace its forthcoming destruction, we are educated on [...]

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action/adventure, buffalo niagara film festival, comedy, film features, film festival, film reviews
10Terrorists! [2012]

“What’s the difference between a terrorist and a person?” It’s not a matter of if we’ll ever get to the point where reality television tackles a subject like terrorism for entertainment, but when. Preempting that unfortunate day, writer/director Dee McLachlan gives us the very funny and timely game show entitled “Who Wants to be a [...]

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THE DELRAY STORY [2011]
“What the Sam Heck?” Shot on $3000 to satisfy his graduate thesis, Nelson Cuellar‘s The Delray Story is a love letter to a bygone era of music. In a world filled with electronic beats and rehashed styles, where the kids fawn over celebrity images instead of good voices and quality sounds, accepting that the music [...]

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Brother Time [2012]

“Better to sleep in the cold than be killed” Westerners look at a country like Kenya and see turmoil, violence, and poverty. Most could care less about what happens in Africa because it doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of their lives. But watching a documentary like Wesley Shrum‘s Brother Time shows how universal humanity [...]

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Dan Zimmerman: Musician, Painter, Cosmic Patriot [2009]

“The phrase that each of us is unique and irreplaceable is so powerful” A man caught between the spiritual world of his faith and the material one of his craft, Dan Zimmerman has lofty ideals to support his work and life. In Thomas Florek‘s short documentary Dan Zimmerman: Musician, Painter, Cosmic Patriot, we experience the [...]

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buffalo niagara film festival, comedy, film features, film festival, film reviews, romance

The Pact [2011]

“You officially have a stalker—ME!” It’s the kind of gentlemen’s agreement you can see yourself making in the heat of a drunken bout with self-pity: swear off the opposite sex for a year in order to cleanse your soul of the one who left. For brothers Grant (Neil Brookshire) and Ancel Fox (Aaron Toronto) it’s [...]

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buffalo niagara film festival, drama, film features, film festival, film reviews, shorts, suspense/thriller

2 Kings [2011]

“You Left Me” After reading the letter that came with my screener for Jon Alex‘s 2 Kings, I was excited to see what magic was wrought by this young creative who wrote, directed, starred, and did everything but write the song. The praise was high and the name-dropping intriguing—both Norman Mailer and James Cromwell made [...]

 

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buffalo niagara film festival, film features, film festival, film reviews, shorts

Shuffle [2010]

“What was he doing up anyway?” The last line of a Steve McQueen quote used as an epilogue to Garrett Bennett‘s Shuffle sums the theme of the film up nicely: “I was always kind of a coward until I had to prove it to myself.” These are words I believe everyone could relate to—whether you [...]

 

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White Knuckles [2010]
“Why don’t you give me something to be joyful about?” Love can seem so easy from the outside. Two people: completely enamored with each other, their smiles easy, serene, and unmistakably genuine. You look at them and think 40-years of marriage would be pure bliss, a harmonious dance that could never last as long as [...]

 

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