Niagara region film buffs face a wonderful dilemma over the next nine days, trying to determine which of 300 films to watch during the 12th annual Buffalo Niagara Film Festival which began Wednesday.

The 12th annual festival, being held exclusively in Niagara Falls for the first time, is being presented at a single location, the Four Seasons Cinema on Military Road, just a few blocks north of the Fashion Outlets of Niagara.

Bill Cowell, founder of the festival, said this year’s offering of films has tripled thanks to the six screens in the Four Seasons, which allows more submissions from around the world. “The filmmakers are so good these days that a lot of them cannot get picked for festivals,” Cowell said. “This is an opportunity to give them the right spot and some creditability.”

“It’s bringing more attention to us,” he added. “People are coming from everywhere, including the Philippines, Thailand and China.”

Special guests at the festival include: Lynn Lowry of “Shivers, “Model Hunger” and “The Crazies,” Frank Dux of “Bloodsport,” “The Quest,” and “Lionheart,” Jon Van Ness of “The Hitcher,” “The Natural,” and “The Postman Always Rings Twice.”

Also: John Steppling of “Animal Factory,” “52 Pick-Up,” and”Age of Kali,” Nikki Moore of “Sorority Row,” “The Babymakers,” and  “Crawlspace,” Catherine Oxenberg of “Watch Over Me,” “The Lair of the White Worm,” and “Dynasty,” and Holley Fain of “Grey’s Anatomy,” Gossip Girl,” and “The Astronaut Wives Club.”

Buffalo native Matt Wayne, now a stand up comic in New York City who has been featured at the Bridgetown Comedy Festival, the Laughing Skull Comedy Festival, and on Comedy Central, will also be attending the festival.

Special events on the schedule include:


• 7 p.m. Showing of the eight-minute, award-winning film in local competition for area students and panel discussion with on the making of the film with Mayor Paul Dyster, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, BNFF filmmakers, and more.

• 9 p.m. Film “Elements Of Matter” with Q&A with cast and crew and Actress Holley Fain.


• 11:30 a.m. Workshop, “The Harmony of Music and Cinema”  presented by Raymond Rolak. The object of this short workshop is to motivate emerging and innovative filmmakers into building alliances with like-minded composers and music makers. Rolak has over 35 year’s experience in sports broadcasting and film production. He is specialist in the marketing and strategic planning of global syndication and is currently working on a textbook about the history and evolution of product placement in the motion picture industry.

• 5 p.m. “Creating the Ultimate Suspense: Hitchcock Style” Tickets are $30 or $20 for students, seniors and veterans.

Keeping your audience from getting bored is more vital for today’s filmmakers than ever before.  Explore techniques for heightening suspense that you can use in your next film, based on the master, Alfred Hitchcock.

• 6 p.m. “Dogmouth”  Film showing with Q&A with screenwriter John Steppling.


• 1 p.m. “The Legal In’s & Outs about Financing and Making a Motion Picture” – Free

Attorneys Mark A. Costello and Alan S. Lockwood will discuss fundraising do’s and dont’s and will cover legal issues relating to production of a motion picture. The attorneys will address how to prepare a private placement memorandum.


• 6 p.m. “From Concept To Completion” – Free

Sept. 28

• 8 p.m. Short films “The Neighbours,” “The Peripheral,” an Q&A with starring actress, Lynn Lowry.

• 9 p.m. Closing feature film “Highly Functional,” with Mike Starr and Judge Reinhold; preceded by short animated film “Cauboi Faykand And The Wild West.”

Sept. 29 

• 5 p.m. Awards Day Celebration at the Sheraton at the Falls Hotel, Niagara Falls, with a 6 p.m. award announcements with special guests and industry leaders in attendance.

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