The following films are the award winners for the 2014 Buffalo Niagara Film Festival. Congratulations to all award winners! BEST FEATURE FILM – “Puzzle For A Blind Man” by Andrei Zinca BEST CANADIAN FILM – “Lawrence & Holloman” by Matthew Kowalchuk BEST WESTERN NEW YORK FILM – “Elizabeth Bathory” by Elizabeth Nixon BEST DOCUMENTARY FILM – “Tough Ain’t Enough: Conversations With Albert S. Ruddy” by Lee Anthony Smith & Gregory J. Bradley BEST SHORT FILM – “Les Esclaves” by Jesse Mast BEST CANADIAN SHORT – “Bent” by Amy Jo Johnson BEST ANIMATION – “The Wheatfield” by Alexander Smith AUDIENCE AWARD – “Generation Iron” by Vlad Yudin BEST COMEDY IN A FEATURE FILM CATEGORY – “Vampie” by Ming Ballard BEST COMEDY IN A SHORT FILM CATEGORY – “5 Ways 2 Die” by Daina Papadaki BEST CRIME DRAMA IN A FEATURE FILM CATEGORY– “Dirty Shield” by Edgar Jimz BEST CRIME DRAMA IN A SHORT FILM CATEGORY– “Seasick Sailor” by Torre Catalano BEST STORY IN A FEATURE FILM CATEGORY – “Hide Your Smiling Faces” by Daniel Patrick Carbone BEST STORY IN A SHORT FILM CATEGORY – “Niagara” by Chie Hayakawa BEST DIRECTION IN A FEATURE FILM – Andrei Zinca for “Puzzle For A Blind Man” BEST DIRECTION IN A SHORT FILM – “Kindling” by Glenn Kalison MOST INNOVATIVE DOCUMENTARY – “Patterns Of Evidence: The Exodus” by Tim Mahoney BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE – Adrian Titieni for “Puzzle For A Blind Man” BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE – Skovran Tunde for “Puzzle For A Blind Man” HONORABLE MENTION FOR ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE – Lynn Mancinelli for “Broken Side Of Time” HONORABLE MENTION FOR ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE – Audria Ayers for “Broken Side Of Time” BEST COMEDIC ACTING – Ben Cotton for “Lawrence & Holloman” BEST ACTION/ADVENTURE SCENES IN A SHORT FILM CATEGORY – “The Compass Rose” by Emily Dell HONORABLE MENTION IN A FEATURE CATEGORY – “The Wingman” by Jim Garrison HONORABLE MENTION IN A FEATURE CATEGORY – “Nobody’s Perfect” by Derrick Simmons HONORABLE MENTION IN A DOCUMENTARY CATEGORY – “Femme” by Emmanuel Itier HONORABLE MENTION IN A DOCUMENTARY CATEGORY – “Honoring Home” by Changhee Chun HONORABLE MENTION IN A SHORT CATEGORY – “Phoenix Song” by Kate Marzullo HONORABLE MENTION IN A SHORT CATEGORY – “Love At First Sight” by Mark Playne HONORABLE MENTION IN A SHORT CATEGORY – “Dissent” by Helmut Dosantos HONORABLE MENTION IN A SHORT CATEGORY – “Cat Scratch” by Christian de Rezendes
Via The Buffalo News When Angelo LoGalbo knew he would be able to realize his life-long dream of making a film, one thing was certain: He wanted to show it in his hometown of Buffalo. So when it came time to film his romantic comedy “Seasons of the Heart,” he knew he had to make the city a character in the movie as well. “I knew I wanted to show the film in Buffalo and thought it would be cool that the backdrop would be all Buffalo,” LoGalbo said of his film that debuts at 7 p.m. Friday in the Market Arcade Film & Arts Centre as part of the Buffalo Niagara International Film Festival. “I wanted to go through the seasons and show the hidden treasures of Buffalo. ” Among the many Buffalo treasures seen in the film are Chef’s Restaurant, Anderson’s Frozen Custard, Canisius College, the Century Grille and Niagara Falls. A first-date scene was filmed at Pizza Plant; the final scene was in Russell’s Steaks, Chops & More. Look for cameos by such famous Buffalonians as Lou Billittier Jr. and Russell Salvatore. “Anything that is Buffalo, we tried to get in there,” said LoGalbo who wrote, directed and stars in the film, as well as composed much of its music. The movie is loosely based on the true story of a young man having to choose between pursuing his dream job or being with his dream love. “The more I would share the idea, the more I learned it resonated with people. They had a dream they wanted to pursue but the timing is bad because they’re in a relationship. It comes time to make the choice,” he said. “The relationship is a metaphor for Buffalo. People leave for various reasons but they come back for the food, for family, for the four seasons.” BNFF screenings continue at 4 p.m. today through Saturday. A full schedule is atwww.thebnff.com. Here are some highlights: “The Power of Few,” at 5 p.m. today, has an intriguing backstory that involves “audience participation” and an impressive ensemble cast including Christopher Walken and Christian Slater. The anthology film, told from multiple perspectives, allowed people to contribute to the story and editing via online tools. In the press kit, writer and director Leone Marucci called his film “a multiperspective mystery that explores the varying influences on a single event, so inviting the world to join in with their own perspective came as a natural extension of the central theme. I took a no restrictions approach and discovered endless possibilities for fan involvement.” Another film with Buffalo connections is “My Dream Beside Me,” based on a true story of an “end of life” romance between Paul Rich and Mary Kay Slesinger Rich. It screens at 3 p.m. Saturday. A short film showcase starting at 9 p.m. Friday includes actress Amy Jo Johnson’s directorial debut, “Bent,” based off of her feature-length script called “Crazier Than You.” The documentary “Generation Iron,” which chronicles seven bodybuilders as they train to compete in the 2012 Mr. Olympia, screens at 1 p.m. Saturday. A live bodybuilding performance takes place at noon.
Via The Buffalo News A documentary celebrating the 30th anniversary of the filming of “The Natural” in Buffalo is one of the highlights of the Buffalo Niagara International Film Festival. In all, more than 140 movies – feature-length, documentary and short films – will be shown as part of the BNFF, which continues with daily screenings through May 3. “The Natural: The Best That Ever Was,” a feature-length retrospective directed by festival founder Bill Cowell, will screen at 7 p.m. Friday. Cowell spent the past year interviewing cast and crew members from the film, including stars Robert Redford, Kim Basinger and Wilford Brimley; cinematographer Caleb Deschanel; director Barry Levinson; and composer Randy Newman. “It was really great,” Cowell said about interviewing the cast and crew in their homes, offices and studios. “These are all great, down-to-earth people. The film had groundbreaking roles for a lot of these actors. It launched many of their careers.” Those interviewed shared fond memories of “The Natural” and filming in Buffalo, with a particular emphasis on food. “Everybody loved Buffalo and loved the food and the people here,” Cowell said. “Wilford Brimley, Caleb Deschanel and others loved the beef on weck. One of Kim Basinger’s favorites was spinach bread. They had a blast here.” Another festival highlight is “Saving General Yang.” One of the festival’s biggest films as far as budget and name recognition, this 2013 war epic comes from director Ronny Yu, known for such big hits as “Jet Li’s Fearless,” “Freddy vs. Jason” and “Bride of Chucky.” It’s based on a Chinese legend of the Yang clan, about seven brothers who fought the Khitan army to rescue their father. A full list of films and screenings can be found here. Here are a few other upcoming movies: Buffalo native Amelie Mc- Kendry co-stars in “NYC Rooftop Story.” The film is a romantic comedy about an Ivy League educated writer who contemplates a fateful decision on a rooftop where he meets a gorgeous model. The film was written and directed by Ricardo Catalan Jr. McKendry, who lives in New York City, also was an associate producer on the film and did all of the marketing and promotions. She will attend the screening with the film’s lead actress, Lana Asanin, and they will take part in a Q&A after the screening. “William’s Lullaby” is a drama by Toronto filmmaker Nicholas Arnold that explores the grief and depression of a single father struggling to raise his young son. Arnold and lead actor Richard Roy Sutton will be in attendance. “Tough Aint Enough: Conversations with Albert S. Ruddy” is a documentary about two-time Oscar-winning producer Albert S. Ruddy, who tells the stories behind his iconic films, including “The Godfather” and “Million Dollar Baby.” “Steel Earth,” is an educational, funny and award-winning docu-series that follows host J. Paris as he travels America’s wilderness and state parks looking for abandoned machines and scrap metals to restore or recycle. The film has been nominated for three regional Emmy Awards.
Via the Niagara Gazette Night & Day — When the earliest motion pictures were shown, in newly built “cinema auditoriums” and repurposed vaudeville houses, folks on the Niagara Frontier were quick to jump on the bandwagon. As silent films transitioned to sound, scores of downtown and neighborhood theaters in both Niagara Falls and Buffalo were built to satisfy the demand for movies. A lot of those old motion picture palaces are gone, but the region still maintains its love affair with cinema. Ever-changing ways of watching films at home has caused this question to be asked: Will movie theaters survive? If you judge by how many films open every weekend, these brick and mortar showplaces may actually still be around years from now. Truth be told, no one really knows. Even in the offices at the major studios in Hollywood, the production chiefs don’t have the answer. For example, in our area on Friday, April 11, eight new features debuted. This is great fun for a critic, but it’s still difficult to review everything by opening day. Here in “Night & Day,” I was able to write about four of the movies. On WECK radio that morning I talked about the six of the eight that I had seen. Two of the films were not screened in advance for critics. The bottom line? Movies are still being shown the traditional way, and one of the best ways to see new films is at a festival, which allows for the camaraderie of other movie lovers enjoying morning to night screenings The metro area has three large-scale film festivals, two with international in their name. There’s the Buffalo Niagara International Film Festival (BNFF), the Buffalo International Film Festival (BIFF), and the Buffalo Dreams Fantastic Film Festival, which is one of the most interesting and best-run genre-specific movie marathons in the United States. All three festivals encourage submissions by local filmmakers. The Buffalo Dreams team has found its niche: horror, fantasy, and science-fiction, and has scored well with it. Both BNFF, run in the spring, and BIFF, run in the autumn, program similar movies, including multiple-genre, fictional and documentary works. Should these two competitors merge? Probably. It makes sense that at some point in the future, their respective executive directors should have a meeting with each other. Right now, it’s BNFF’s time to showcase its offerings. The festival runs today through May 3, with more than 100 features and shorts unreeling at the Market Arcade Film & Arts Center at 639 Main St. in downtown Buffalo. Attending a film festival is always an enjoyable experience, especially if you’re willing to take chances with what you want to see. You will always be surprised. A number of the documentaries interest me, including, “Tough Ain’t Enough: Conversations With Al Ruddy” by Gregory J. Bradley and Lee Anthony Smith, which is about Albert S. Ruddy, the famed producer of such celebrated movies as “The Godfather.” (7 p.m. Sunday). There’s also “Chew On This: Dangers Of The American Diet Exposed” by Gary Null, which takes a serious look at factory farming and the genetic engineering of crops and the role they play in the health of Americans. (11:30 a.m. Sunday).
“NYC Rooftop Story” Supporting Actress & Associate Producer Amelie McKendry recently sat down with WNY Tonight for an interview to talk about the film. Skip to the three-minute mark of the video for the start of the interview. “NYC Rooftop Story” will be showing at the Buffalo Niagara Film Festival on Saturday, April 26th at 9pm at The Market Arcade Film & Arts Center. Tickets for the film are now available.
Buffalo Niagara Film Festival continues to attract international artists. Canadian filmmaker Katarzyna Kochany returns for the third time with a film based on her story HORSE FOR SALE that was a semi-finalist script in 2007. When asked why she keeps coming back to Buffalo, Ms Kochany says, “Buffalo Niagara Film Festival is an ambitious event that showcases interesting stories. There are accomplished industry guests, yet the festival remains friendly and accessible. I respect the vision of the festival founder Bill Cowell and his team, especially their commitment to revitalize the community with creative and economic impact. Toronto became a movie town because of passionate individuals who demonstrated this kind of commitment. It’s exciting to see Buffalo emerging on the movie map.” “This year, there are five terrific venues in Buffalo, Niagara Falls, Tonawanda and North Tonawanda. I am pleased to screen HORSE FOR SALE for this audience.” With heart and a kick of action, HORSE FOR SALE is the kind of movie the whole family can enjoy together. “It is a great family movie,” Coalition for Quality Children’s Media KIDS FIRST! wrote in a glowing review. The Dove Foundation awarded the film a Family Approved Seal, calling it a “unique short story.” HORSE FOR SALE is about two farm girls whose family is so broke that they have to sell their beloved horse. There is a happy ending but not before we meet a moped-riding country mailman, a funny bickering old married couple, and two sisters who love each other even when they fight. You can see the preview trailer at vimeo.com/dustbunnies. Ms Kochany says, “This new 2014 release is a completely re-edited version of a 2008 movie with the same name. Audience feedback can be very helpful in making a great movie, and it made HORSE FOR SALE better.” The original played at a number of events, including International Family Film Festival in Hollywood. The new version is off to a great start; screenings include: ReelHeART in Canada, High Desert Film Festival in Nevada and Big Island Film Festival in Hawaii. Just a few weeks ago the film won Best International Award at Neo Relix Film Festival in Texas. Ms Kochany says, “It was a long road from a script in 2006 to the honor of endorsements from The Dove Foundation and KIDS FIRST! in 2014.” Looking back, Ms Kochany believes the journey was a lesson in waiting on God’s timing. “In those eight years I got to be a part of some amazing projects and learned from remarkable people who had nothing to do with movies. It softened my heart and taught me humility, the kind you don’t learn in the film industry.” “Whatever success HORSE FOR SALE earns, I have to give credit where credit is due. God will put you where you are supposed to be. Sometimes you won’t like it one bit. Sometimes you will be part of a miracle.” After training with directors on TV series Doc and Sue Thomas F.B. Eye, Ms Kochany’s own projects earned 30 award endorsements and over 100 official selections in Africa, Canada, USA, Argentina, Austria, Australia, Cyprus, Denmark, Greece and Italy. Ms Kochany has a special place in her heart for country stories. HORSE FOR SALE screens on Sunday, April 27 at 1 pm at The Market Arcade Film & Arts Center in Buffalo. Tickets for the film are now available.
The short, “Niagara,” which will be showing at the Buffalo Niagara Film Festival, has been nominated for two different awards at other festivals. At the Cannes Film Festival 2014, “Niagara” was among only nine short films from a selection of 3,450 to be nominated for the 2014 Short Films Competition. Additionally, the film was one of 27 among an original 406 films to be nominated for the Asian Short Film & Video Competition at the 15th International Women’s Film Festival In Seoul. Congratulations to Chie Hayakawa on both nominations! “Niagara” tells the story of an 18-year-old orphan girl YAMAME who comes to know that her grandpa killed her parents 15 years ago and has been on death row. She collects sounds to send her grandpa who has been in prison completely closed out from the outside world. BNFF will be the first international film festival to show the film, when it screens on Friday, May 2nd at 8PM at the Market Arcade Film & Arts Center. Tickets for the showing are now available.
On Wednesday, April 30th at 7PM at the Market Arcade Film & Arts Center, Frank Muggia, who has 25 years of experience as an attorney / producer in the entertainment industry, will be heading a Film Finance Forum along with a special guest. You will be getting some of the best feedback possible from one of the pros, it’s an event you won’t want to miss! This event is FREE of charge, with limited seats provided on a first come first serve basis. We’ll see you there!
The documentary short “Happy Hands“, which will be featured at the Buffalo Niagara Film Festival, has won the award for Best Documentary Short at the 17th Sonoma International Film Festival. The documentary tells the story of how Hollywood icon, Tippi Hedren, personally conceived and provided the means for twenty of the first Vietnamese refugees to establish themselves as manicurists. Together they established a new industry that became a Vietnamese American Dream. So a big congratulations goes out to Honey Lauren on the win! “Happy Hands” will be shown at the BNFF on Sunday, April 27th at 7PM at the Market Arcade Film & Arts Center. Tickets for the showing are now available.