lake placid film fest goes big…

(Adirondack Daily Enterprise: Photo & Article by Griffin Kelly 10/29/18 publication)

(Adirondack Daily Enterprise: Photo & Article by Griffin Kelly 10/29/18 publication)


LAKE PLACID — This was a go big or go home year for the Lake Placid Film Festival.

Though it’s still too early to say exactly how well the event fared financially, Festival Director Gary Smith expects this year’s LPFF to be a success.

Plenty of aspects changed leading up to the event, which is run by the Adirondack Film Society. Firstly, the name changed from forum to festival. The dates changed from summer to fall. A theme was added. There was a new logo. There was a new website. Thirty-eight people volunteered. Last year had only two. Marketing and advertising efforts were increased with TV commercials, newspaper inserts and sponsored screenings.

“We were fettered a little bit by our conventions,” Smith said. “One of those was ‘Film Forum.’ One of those was June. One of those was ‘how do we brand the film festival separately from the film society?’ Those are the struggles that we went through this year, and we cleared some of those hurdles.”

The number of films was also expanded. A regular year in the past would feature maybe 12 to 15. This year, the festival had almost 40 films. With foreign film, documentaries, classics, comedies, sci-fi movies and animated features, the goal was to avoid esotericism and attract as many different groups of moviegoers as possible, Smith said. The extra films booked all screens in the Palace Theatre, two rooms in the High Peaks Resort and the theater at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts.

It was impossible for ticket buyers to see every film, but there’s some good in that, Smith said. It starts conversations about what films people did and didn’t see.

“It makes people want to come back for more next year,” he said.

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Adirondack Film Society Vice President and Co-chair Nelson Page, left, gives Kathleen Carroll a plaque commemorating her work as a film critic, co-founder of the society and co-founder of the Lake Placid Film Forum Thursday night at the High Peaks Resort in Lake Placid. (Enterprise photo — Griffin Kelly)

Adirondack Film Society Vice President and Co-chair Nelson Page, left, gives Kathleen Carroll a plaque commemorating her work as a film critic, co-founder of the society and co-founder of the Lake Placid Film Forum Thursday night at the High Peaks Resort in Lake Placid. (Enterprise photo — Griffin Kelly)

LAKE PLACID — Growing up, Nelson Page, vice president of the Adirondack Film Society, had a poster for Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” hanging on his wall. The film, which chronicles evolution and man’s necessity to not only advance technology but abandon it, has been hailed as a masterpiece of filmmaking. Some call it the only true science-fiction movie. Toward the bottom of the poster, it said “New York Daily News: Three stars.”

The reviewer, Kathleen Carroll thought the movie was just alright. She said product placements such as Hilton, Howard Johnson’s and IBM made it feel like a big commercial. The minutiae and intricacies of the spacecraft, while impressive, had too much screen time and would only thrill an employee of NASA. People have written books and made documentaries about Kubrick’s 1968 film, but Carroll got her point across in less than 400 words.

“A small sphere of intellectuals will feel that Kubrick has said something, simply because one expected him to say something,” she wrote in ’68. “Others will be disappointed but will have to admire his technical grasp of the subject.

“Most moviegoers will only wish that Mr. Kubrick would come back down to earth.”

In 2018, Carroll said, “I don’t know where I got the guts to write stuff like that.”

The Adirondack Film Society, friends and family honored Carroll at a gala Thursday night at the High Peaks Resort. More than 100 people showed up to celebrate.

“It’s quite shocking,” Carroll said of the gala in her honor. “To be honest, I wasn’t really prepared for it.”

Carroll, originally from Lake Placid and now living in New York City, was a film critic and journalist for the New York Daily News for more than 30 years. She also co-founded the Adirondack Film Society in 1999 and the Lake Placid Film Forum (now a festival) in 2000, bringing a liveliness to the cinematic arts in the North Country.

Not too many women were making a living as film journalists in the early 1960s, so she was a pioneer for her era. The Daily News was also regarded as the every-person’s paper, but in her writing, Carroll was neither an elitist nor did she dumb things down. She challenged the reader and the paper without being a snob, not only covering the blockbusters but also foreign and independent films. The first movie she ever reviewed was a German film with no subtitles. The manager at the movie theater had to translate for her.

As the guests took their seats and noshed on plates of chicken and shrimp Thursday, a slideshow projected some of Carroll’s old news clippings and photos of her with friends and film stars. Many of her clips and interviews will soon be published in book called “My Life in the Dark.”

Pictures of Carroll with Robert Shaw and fellow critic Rex Reed flashed on the screen, but the one that garnered the biggest reaction was Carroll with Reg Clark, the owner of the Palace Theatre who died this summer. She smiled, pointed and clapped.

At one point, state Sen. Betty Little congratulated Carroll. She read from a future proclamation from the state Legislature. It will put Carroll in the history books for New York, she said.

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Lake Placid Film Festival 2018

October 26, 2018, 1:30 pm at High Peaks Resort, 2384 Saranac Ave, Lake Placid, NY 12946, USA

Price: $15 per screening; $79, all-festival pass

Phone: 518-523-3456

More than 30 films, seven screens, three venues and one weekend in the mountains: welcome to the 2018 Lake Placid Film Festival!

Formerly known as the Lake Placid Film Forum, this year marks the 18th incarnation of the event. Previous attendees will recall the festival was traditionally held in June; this year it’ll run Friday through Sunday, October 26-28. There will be four screens at the historic Palace Theater, two at High Peaks Resort, and one at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts.

Another first for the event is a theme, which is “Embracing Diversity.” With it in mind, the festival organizers have selected a number of films that explore our differences, our similarities and the struggles we all share. Whether all the films selected for the festival reflect degrees of darkness or of light, filmgoers will find compelling stories of all genres—independent features, documentaries, foreign-language titles, art films, classics, shorts and student films.

Visit for more information and to purchase tickets. Here is a sampling from the 2018 Lake Placid Film Festival lineup:

* Free Solo: Follow Alex Honnold as he becomes the first person to ever free-solo climb Yosemite's 3,000-foot-high El Capitan Wall. With no ropes or safety gear, he completed arguably the greatest feat in rock climbing history.

* Birds of Passage: During the marijuana bonanza, a violent decade that saw the origins of drug trafficking in Colombia, Rapayet and his indigenous family get involved in a war to control the business that ends up destroying their lives and their culture.

* Making Montgomery Clift: Classic film star and queer icon Montgomery Clift's legacy has long been a story of tragedy and self-destruction. But when his nephew dives into the family archives, a much more complicated picture emerges.

* Prospect: A teenage girl and her father travel to a remote moon on the hunt for elusive riches. But there are others roving the moon's toxic forest and the job quickly devolves into a desperate fight to escape.

* Gurumbe Afro-Andalusian Memories: With the commercial exploitation of the American colonies, thousands of Africans are brought to Seville to be sold as slaves. Some are exported to the colonies and others stay in the city.

* Bisbee 17: An old mining town on the Arizona-Mexico border finally reckons with its darkest day: the deportation of 1200 immigrant miners exactly 100 years ago. Locals collaborate to stage recreations of their controversial past.


LAKE PLACID, NY — A “Godfather”-like saga about the impact of the Colombian drug trade on one indigenous, desert-dwelling family that is Colombia’s nominee for the foreign-language film Oscar, a French animated film for children and adults of all ages that hearkens back to the heyday of the Looney Tunes, and a “magical realist” documentary described as both a cross between Agnes Varda and Wes Anderson and a new way of doing nonfiction story-telling are among the films to be screened at the 17th Annual Lake Placid Film Festival (LPFF). The festival will take place Thursday through Sunday, October 25-26, 2018 at venues that include the historic Palace movie theater in the heart of the Olympic Village’s downtown shopping and restaurant district, the venerable Lake Placid Center for the Arts (LPCA) and the High Peaks Resort, which this year is serving as Film Festival Headquarters.

The first five titles to be officially announced are:

● “Birds of Passage” (narrative feature, Colombia, in Spanish with English subtitles; run time: 2 hrs., 5 mins.): This crime drama spins the dark tale of the Colombian drug trade, as seen through eyes of an indigenous Wayuu family that becomes involved in the booming business of selling marijuana to American youth in the 1970s.

● “Becoming Astrid” (narrative feature, Sweden, in Swedish and Danish with English subtitles; run time: 2 hrs., 3 mins.): The drama depicts the early years of Swedish author Astrid Lindgren, the world’s third most-translated children’s writer, credited for more than 100 books, including “Pippi Longstocking,” “Emil of Lönneberga” and “The Six Bullerby Children.”

● “Big Bad Fox and Other Tales” (animated narrative feature, France, in French with English subtitles; run time: 1 hr., 20 mins.; rated G): The countryside isn’t always as calm and peaceful as it’s made out to be, and the animals on this farm are particularly agitated: a fox who mothers a family of chicks, a rabbit who plays the stork, and a duck who wants to be Santa Claus. The movie is a hilarious, heartwarming trio of interrelated stories about animal misfits from the creators of the Best Animated Feature Oscar-nominated “Ernest & Celestine,” adapted from co-director Benjamin Renner’s acclaimed graphic novel.

● “Monrovia, Indiana” (documentary feature, USA; run time: 2 hrs., 23 mins.): This film explores a small town in rural, mid-America and illustrates how values like community service, duty, spiritual life, generosity and authenticity are formed, experienced and lived along with conflicting stereotypes. In the 43rd documentary he has directed since 1967, celebrated filmmaker Frederick Wiseman (“High School,” “Meat,” “The Store,” “Ex Libris – The New York Public Library”) offers a complex and nuanced view of daily life in Monrovia and provides some understanding of a way of life whose influence and force have not always been recognized or understood in the big cities on the East and West Coasts of the United States—most conspicuously in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

● “306 Hollywood” (documentary feature, USA; 1 hr., 22 mins.): When siblings Elan and Jonathan Bogarín undertake an archaeological excavation of their late grandmother's house, they embark on a magical-realist journey in search of what life remains in the objects we leave behind. The first documentary ever to be included in the Sundance Film Festival’s NEXT section, “306 Hollywood” transforms the dusty fragments of an unassuming life into an epic metaphor for the nature of memory, time, and history.

To learn more about the 2018 event and the films selected for it, including movie trailers, ticketing info and regular updates as we draw nearer to show time, please visit

Professionalizing the Film Selection Process

The films chosen are also the result of a new approach to film selection that is just one of several significant changes being made to the planning, development and anticipated management of the film festival, which, for the first time in its nearly 20-year history is taking place not in early June but in the Fall—Thursday through Sunday, October 25-28, 2018, to be precise. Other major changes include the naming of a Festival Director—Gary Smith, a member of the board of directors of the Adirondack Film Society (AFS), the nonprofit organization that presents the annual event; the adoption of a theme—diversity—which, like the creation of the Festival Director position, is an historic first for the LPFF; and, perhaps most significantly, rechristening the event the “Lake Placid Film Festival” from its longtime moniker “Lake Placid Film Forum.”

The changes are all intended to help boost attendance at this year’s event, enhance the film-going experience of everyone who attends the 2018 festival and continue the LPFF’s journey on the path toward once again being considered one of the country’s top-tier film festivals, said AFS co-founder John B. Huttlinger, Jr., Chair of the organization’s Board of Directors and one of the festival’s principal organizers. “Take the approach to film selection this year,” he said. “It’s really an attempt to professionalize the way we choose films for the festival by empowering a single professional—in this case, film consultant and veteran LPFF alum Dylan Skolnick—to select the bulk of the films for the 2018 edition.”

Mr. Skolnick, who through his many contacts among film distributors has helped with booking films for the past several LPFFs along with serving as a member of the previous Programming Committees, is Co-Director of the Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington, Long Island, one of the New York Metropolitan area’s top “art” houses and venues for alternative film. He is also a consultant and film buyer for several cinemas across the United States, including the Hollywood Theater in Pittsburgh; the Lyric Theatre in Stuart, Florida; and the Circle Cinema in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

In addition to those being picked by Dylan, several of this year’s films will be chosen by AFS-LPFF co-founder and current Artistic Director Kathleen Carroll, a gala tribute to which will kick off the 2018 film-fest on Thursday evening, October 25th. Ms. Carroll is being honored not only for her indispensable service to the Film Society and its major annual event, but also to her many contributions to film and the film industry writ large. As film critic for the New York Daily News for approximately three decades extending into the 1990s, Kathleen interviewed many of the biggest names in movies ranging from Robert Redford and Mel Brooks to Joan Crawford and Gloria Swanson; attended and reported on such major film festivals as Cannes, Sundance and Toronto as well as New York; and was ahead of her time in recognizing the importance of directors such as Federico Fellini, François Truffaut, Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen and Clint Eastwood.

Read full article:’18-making-its-way-back-top-tier-slew-diverse-cutting-edge

Lake Placid Hosting Film Festival This Weekend

By Pat Bradley Oct 25, 2018

WAMC Northeast Report

The 17th annual celebration of film is being held in Lake Placid this weekend. The Lake Placid Film Festival made a few changes this year including its name and when it’s held.

The film festival begins tonight with a gala to honor co-founder and former New York Daily News film critic Kathleen Carroll. Screenings start Friday.  The festival features a number of changes this year – including its name. Until this year it was the Lake Placid Film Forum. It’s now the Lake Placid Film Festival.  Organizers also moved the event from June to October. Festival Director Gary Smith says they felt attendance had been compromised by good weather.  “We felt we were constantly competing with the weather. And although that’s a great time to be up here there are many things competing so we decided to move it to a time of year when it wasn’t so compelling to be outside.”

This is the first year the film festival features a theme because Smith says it needed something to help link the stories. The theme is “Embracing Diversity”.  “Diversity was a topic that needed addressing up here in the Adirondacks we thought. And so we’ve brought films from all different regions and illustrating whether it’s economic diversity, whether it’s racial diversity, whether it’s people trying to get out of Columbia to make it to the U.S. all these kind of things. We honestly came to believe that there was no better genre or way of depicting these varying areas of diversity than on film. So that’s why we chose a number, but not all, but a number of the films are on that theme.”

This is the third year author and film historian Jeremy Arnold has picked a classic film and will host a discussion after its showing.  Arnold  says “The Lion in Winter” doesn’t appear often at festivals or classic film showings.  "It’s celebrating its 50th anniversary which is the kind of anniversary that always makes us like to look back on certain films. It really holds up well. It also has a brilliant reputation. But I don’t know that it really has been shown and seen that much in recent decades. It’s not something that somehow seems to pop up all the time on television or in revival. And it has such a powerhouse cast and it’s such an entertaining movie you know it’s fantastic to see with an audience. And I just thought it would be a good choice for all those reasons."  

Arnold says he’s drawn to this festival because of its eclectic mix of films.  "I like how the lake Placid Film Festival incorporates them so that they’re all on an even playing field. You could see “The Lion in Winter” or you could see “Ramen Shop” or “Monrovia, Indiana” none of them are presented as outlier to the festival as a whole. It’s all integrated. That’s what I really like about it. And also the Lake Placid setting the sense of community here is very strong."

Forty films will be shown over three days on seven screens at three venues. They include “Free Solo”,  “Bisbee 17”, “The Children Act”, “The Heiress” and “The Last Suit.”

“Festival of Lights…Camera…and Action”

By: Fred Balzac

Fall 2018 Edition

(Click on the logo to read the complete article.)

Adirondack Almanac

Feb 22, 2018

The Adirondack Film Society (AFS) is moving the Lake Placid Film Forum from early June to late October.  Through various meetings the the appointment of a new festival director, Gary Smith, the AFS board picked dates to follow three major film festivals.

The October 26-28, 2018 Forum will now blend into the 2018 circuit following the Telluride, Toronto and New York Film Festivals.

According to AFS President and Chair John Huttlinger, Jr. the Lake Placid Film Forum will continue its mission of celebrating independent film. This is the first time in the Lake Placid Film Forum’s 18-year history that this celebration of the visual arts will be held in the fall.

North Country Public Radio

Feb 23, 2018

The Lake Placid Film Forum is moving its weekend of films, workshops and panel discussions to October, rather than early June this year. Since the LPFF began in 2000, it's been held in the early summer. But the Adirondack Film Society, which organizes the annual film-related event, announced this week that the event will be held at the end of October in hopes of attracting more moviegoers and a wider selection of films. The LPFF will be held October 26 to the 28.

The Adirondack Film Society's Fred Balzac says the switch to late fall offers several advantages over June in that autumn is prime-time for film festivals.

Adirondack Daily Enterprise

Feb 21, 2018

LAKE PLACID — The Adirondack Film Society has some changes for this year’s Lake Placid Film Forum.

Since the Film Form began in 2000, it was held during the summer. However, the AFS board thought it would be a good idea to move the forum to the fall. The 2018 LPFF will be held from Oct. 26 to 28, featuring more than 20 films.

Though initially against it, AFS Chair John Huttlinger agreed to the time switch and said, “It’s hard to get people to stay inside and watch movies all day after they’ve been cooped up all winter.”

The day of the press conference happened to have scattered showers and gray skies.

From left, Adirondack Film Society representatives Fred Balzac, Heather Clark, John Huttlinger and Gary Smith pose at the Palace Theater in Lake Placid during a press conference regarding the annual Lake Placid Film Forum. (Enterprise photo — Griffin Kelly)

From left, Adirondack Film Society representatives Fred Balzac, Heather Clark, John Huttlinger and Gary Smith pose at the Palace Theater in Lake Placid during a press conference regarding the annual Lake Placid Film Forum. (Enterprise photo — Griffin Kelly)

“We’re hoping for a day just like this one,” said AFS Treasurer Gary Smith with a chuckle.

The fall dates also come after other major film festivals such as those in New York, Telluride, Colorado, and Toronto. Members of the AFS will attend these festivals for prospective screenings.

“We’ll be positioned to have a better shot at acquiring some of the best films whose release[s] [are] timed to coincide with these and other leading fall film festivals — and to bring along, as guest presenters, some of the filmmakers who created these works,” AFS Operations Manager Fred Balzac said in a press release.

For the second year in a row, film historian and Turner Classic Movies contributor Jeremy Arnold will represent the AFS at the International Festival of New Latin American Cinema in Havana, Cuba, where he’ll search for prospective movies and make connections with international film makers.