The Buffalo International Film Festival, affectionately known as BIFF, starts its ninth year this week under new direction, with renewed vigor, at an exceptional venue. Two dozen features and 38 shorts will flood the historic North Park Theatre, with some spillover at The Screening Room, on Thursday through Sunday, October 15-18.
That's just four short days to cram in a remarkable line-up of films including quite a few by local filmmakers. Emelie and Prescient are particularly notable. There are also seven feature films directed by women, and a Women in Film Panel & Screening on Saturday.
But wait, there's more. For those who fail to get enough of zombies and gore on Halloween, the Buffalo Dreams Fantastic Film Festival on November 5 – 12 will feature science fiction, fantasy, horror, action and thrillers from around the world, plus some slightly less bloody local flicks.
All of this festival activity coincides with a sharp uptick in moviemaking in our midst. The Buffalo Niagara Film Commission has facilitated the making of more than a dozen movies in WNY over the past year, generating a cool $15 million economic uptick, and a flurry of local movie action of late.
The Morning Sun is filming in Lewiston and Buffalo right now, using as many as 50 local folk as extras. When it goes into distribution late next year, it had better hit local theaters. The American Side, the film noir that riffs on the mysterious Tesla backstory and practically casts Buffalo as a character, may finally premiere in Buffalo next spring after getting great reviews at the Woodstock Film Festival.
Buffalo Hates You Too: A Love Story, the new documentary project by John Paget about Buffalo’s journey from rust to renewal, successfully raised more than $25,000 (with the help of a pair of Paul McCartney tickets for a lucky winner) from 179 backers via Kickstarter as of October 10. This is one of the highest profile local productions in the region and John Paget is a force of nature. He is also an excellent businessman and an artist of the first order. Expect to hear a great deal about this flick in the coming months.
We finally even have some TV action. Lukia Costello and Tilke Hill promoted Why I Murdered My Roommate, an ambitious "transmedia" project at the North Park theater two weeks ago. Their Indiegogo campaign raised $23,420 of the $35,000 goal in just two months. With any luck - and plenty of local support - we'll be watching this Buffalo-centric series soon on Netflix or HBO.
Take that, Buffalo!