Adirondack Film Society
AFS Tribute Gala 2019 Honoring Russell Banks
You Must Remember This: A Classic Is Still a Classic
Join film historian/author and Turner Classic Movies contributor Jeremy Arnold on Monday, August 12th, at the Strand in Schroon Lake and see CASABLANCA—TCM’s choice for the greatest Hollywood movie ever—on the BIG screen like it was meant to be seen!
“Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.”
—saloon owner Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) in “Casablanca”
SCHROON LAKE, NY — Following the smash success of an evening of Buster Keaton shorts with live piano scoring/accompaniment by Ben Model on July 29th—with more than 100 people in attendance enjoying the hilarity—“Summer Classics @ The Strand” continues its 2019 season at the historic Art Deco theater on Monday, August 12th, at 8 p.m. with many filmgoers’ all-time favorite movie, “Casablanca.” The evening will be hosted by film historian and Turner Classic Movies (TCM) contributor Jeremy Arnold, author of the TCM-tie-in books, “The Essentials: 52 Must-See Movies and Why They Matter” (which, of course, includes “Casablanca”) and his latest work, “Christmas in the Movies: 30 Classics to Celebrate the Season.”
One of the most romantic and iconic films ever made, “Casablanca”—released not long after America’s entry into World War II, in 1942—stars the one-and-only Humphrey Bogart as American ex-patriate saloon owner Rick Blaine and the radiant Ingrid Bergman as Rick’s long-lost love, Ilsa Lund. The Warner Brothers classic features one of the greatest casts of supporting/character actors ever assembled, most notably Claude Rains as Captain Louis Renault, Paul Henreid as freedom fighter Victor Laszlo, Peter Lorre as Ugarte, Sydney Greenstreet as Signor Ferrari, Conrad Veidt as Nazi Major Heinrich Strasser and Dooley Wilson as the piano playing Sam, who sings the movie’s signature song, “As Time Goes By.”
It is directed by Michael Curtiz, one of the more underrated directors from the Golden Age of Hollywood’s studio system, whose other films include The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) starring Errol Flynn, Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942) starring James Cagney and Mildred Pierce (1945) starring Joan Crawford—the latter two stars giving Oscar-winning performances.
“Casablanca” itself won three Academy Awards—for Best Picture, for Mr. Curtiz as Best Director and for Best Writing, Screenplay, by Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein and Howard Koch, who adapted the now-largely forgotten play, “Everybody Comes to Rick’s” by Murray Burnett and Joan Allison). It was nominated for five other Oscars: Best Actor in a Leading Role (Bogart), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Rains), Best Cinematography, Black-and-White (Arthur Edeson), Best Film Editing (Owen Marks) and Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture (Max Steiner).
In TCM’s write-up for “Casablanca” on its website, film critic Leonard Maltin hails the film as “Our candidate for the best Hollywood movie of all time.”
Tickets to the evening’s program, which is a co-presentation of the Strand and the Adirondack Film Society (AFS) are $10 and will be available at the door (cash only, please). The historic Strand Theater is located at 1102 Main Street (U.S. Route 9), Schroon Lake, NY; box office: 518-532-9077. To learn more, please contact Fred Balzac, Program Director of the “Summer Classics @ The Strand” series, at 518-588-7272 or by e-mail at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about the AFS, please visit adirondackfilmsociety.org and lakeplacidfilmfestival.org.
You’ve Seen Him on TCM—Now See Him in Person
His appearance on August 12th will mark Jeremy Arnold’s third-consecutive-summer visit to the Strand, following his hosted screenings of “Singin’ in the Rain” (1952) in 2017 and “King Kong” (1933) this past August. “Christmas in the Movies,” which is his third and latest book, was published by Turner Classic Movies and Running Press in 2018. His previous book, “The Essentials,” was published in 2016 as the companion to TCM’s Saturday night screening series of the same name. Copies of both books will be available at the screening for purchase—to be signed by the author at the purchaser's request.
Other writing work includes “Lawrence of Arabia: The 50th Anniversary,” a coffee-table book published by Sony Pictures Entertainment as a supplement to that film’s deluxe Blu-ray release; two essays in “The Call of the Heart: John M. Stahl and Hollywood Melodrama,” a recent book tracing the career of classic director John Stahl; contributions to Jeanine Basinger’s 2003 edition of “The World War II Combat Film: Anatomy of a Genre”; numerous essays and liner notes for home entertainment releases, including four Frank Capra titles; and more than 600 programming articles to date for the TCM website.
His commentating work includes nine audio commentaries for the Blu-ray or DVD release of classic films and stints as a guest host on TCM with its main host, Ben Mankiewicz. Born in Washington, D.C., Jeremy lives in Los Angeles and is a fourth-generation summer resident of Lake Placid.
This is the fourth consecutive summer that the Strand is partnering on special programming with the Adirondack Film Society—the people who bring you the annual Lake Placid Film Festival and the monthly (September through May) AFS Screening Series at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts. It was a collaboration between the two organizations resulting in a New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) grant award—along with the tremendous generosity of the Schroon Lake-area community—that helped Larry and Liz McNamara, the theater’s owner-operators, purchase and install digital film-projection equipment, enabling the Strand to continue as a first-run movie house.
“If you’ve only seen ‘Casablanca’ on TV, your laptop or even the tiny screen of your smart-phone,” says Fred Balzac, Program Director, Summer Classics @ the Strand, “this is the perfect opportunity to view the movie on the big screen—the way it was meant to be seen—in intimate, yet comfortable confines of the Strand Theater in Schroon Lake, one of the most wonderful places to see movies in the Adirondack North Country!”
(PRESS RELEASE BY FRED BALZAC, ADIRONDACK FILM SOCIETY)
The Strand Theatre
Seats $10.00 at the door
August 12, 2019; 8:00PM
January 11, 2019
For Immediate Release
ADK Film Society Screening Series @LPCA, v5.0, Presents a “Sensational,” “Riveting” and “Wildly Entertaining True-Crime Thriller” that “You Won’t Be Able to Stop Talking About”*!
LAKE PLACID, NY — “American Animals” is the unbelievable but entirely true story of four young men who attempt to execute one of the most audacious art heists in U.S. history. Spencer Reinhard, Warren Lipka, Eric Borsuk and Chas Allen are friends who live an ordinary existence in Kentucky. After a visit to Transylvania University, Lipka comes up with the idea to steal the rarest and most valuable books from the school's library. As the story starts to unfold, the would-be perpetrators question whether their attempts to inject excitement and purpose into their lives are simply misguided attempts at achieving the American Dream.
The 2018-2019 edition of the Adirondack Film Society (AFS) Screening Series at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts (LPCA), Version 5.0, continues with this critically acclaimed comedy-drama on Friday and Saturday, January 25-26, at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased in advance by visiting lakeplacidarts.org or calling the LPCA box office at 518-523-2512; they will also be available at the door. To learn more about the Screening Series or other AFS programs, please contact AFS Operations Manager Fred Balzac at 518-523-3456 or -588-7275 or email@example.com and/or visit adirondackfilmsociety.org.
The AFS is also pleased to announce the next two films in the series, both being screened on a Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m.:
● On February 15-16, the Film Society will present the regional premiere of “In Search of Greatness,” the latest groundbreaking feature documentary from award-winning filmmaker Gabe Polsky (“Genius”). It is a cinematic journey into the secrets of genius, told through the eyes of some of greatest athletes of all time. The film is based largely on original interviews with hockey great Wayne Gretzy, football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice and soccer legend Pelé and features such giants in their respective fields as Muhummad Ali, Michael Jordan and Serena Williams and non-athletes David Bowie an Albert Einstein. Mr. Polsky’s previous documentary, “Red Army”—about the creation and development of the Soviet Union’s national hockey team and its fate after the squad’s breathtaking loss to the U.S. in the 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympics—remains one of the best-attended programs in the Screening Series at LPCA. And as he did following one of the Red Army screenings back in November 2014, director Polsky will appear via Skype to participate in at least one Q&A session with the LPCA audience present for “In Search of Greatness.”
● Then, on March 15-16, the series continues with “Eighth Grade,” a comedy-drama written and directed by Bo Burnham in his feature-film directorial debut. It is told through the perspective—including via selfie videos posted on Facebook—of 13-year-old Kayla Day (played by Elsie Fisher, who was nominated for a 2019 Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Musical or Comedy) enduring the tidal wave of contemporary suburban adolescence as she makes her way through the last week of middle school—the end of her thus-far disastrous eighth-grade year. Common Sense Media hailed Ms. Fisher as “fabulous in writer-director Burnham’s poignant, sensitive exploration of the challenges of early adolescence in the age of social media and constant phone use,” while Screen Rant raved that the film “masterfully captures the emotional horror of being a Generation Z middle-schooler, yet tells a universally relatable coming of age story.”
Taking the Heist Movie into Bold New Territory
In the meantime, area film buffs and movie lovers have “American Animals” to take in—written and directed by British filmmaker Bart Layton, who is probably best known for his earlier acclaimed work, “The Imposter.” This newer film centers around two friends from the middle-class suburbs of Lexington, Kentucky. Spencer (Barry Keoghan) is determined to become an artist but feels he lacks the essential ingredient that unites all great artists—suffering. His closest friend, Warren (Evan Peters), has also been raised to believe that his life will be special and that he will be unique in some way. But as they leave the suburbs for universities in the same town, the realities of adult life begin to dawn on them and with that, the realization that their lives may in fact never be important or special in any way.
Determined to live lives that are out of the ordinary, they plan the brazen theft of some of the world’s most valuable books from the special collections room of Spencer’s college library. Enlisting two more friends, accounting major Eric (Jared Abrahamson) and fitness fanatic Chas (Blake Jenner), and taking cues from heist movies, the gang meticulously plots the theft and subsequent fence of the stolen artworks. Although some in the group begin to have second thoughts, they discover that the plan has seemingly taken on a life of its own.
Unfolding his narrative from multiple perspectives, and innovatively incorporating the real-life figures at the heart of the story, writer-director Layton takes the heist movie into bold new territory.
What the critics had to say:
*“‘American Animals’” is a high-style caper that touches a deeper chord of youthful indiscretion and moral imbalance. You won’t be able to stop talking about it.”—Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
*“Sensational…. a riveting college-boy crime caper that speeds along on pure movie-movie adrenaline, before U-turning into a sobering reflection on young male privilege and entitlement…. a wildly entertaining true-crime thriller.”—Guy Lodge, Variety
“The embrace of factuality’s slippery nature lends the film a delirious headiness, turning what might otherwise have been just another true-crime story into something more philosophical and complex.”—Michael O'Sullivan, Washington Post
“Incredible…. an expertly told, brilliant story.”—Gail Tolley, Time Out
“…One of the summer’s freshest and most entertaining films.”—Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
Genre: comedy, drama, mystery & suspense • rated R (for language throughout, some drug use and brief crude/sexual material) • running time: 120 mins.
The two screenings of “American Animals” are partially underwritten by the Law Office of Brian P. Barrett, PLLC.
And be sure to save the dates for the 18th Annual Lake Placid Film Festival (lakeplacidfilmfestival.org) —to take place Thursday through Sunday, October 24-27, 2019!
[LINK TO OFFICIAL US TRAILER FOR AMERICAN ANIMALS:]
[URL FOR OFFICIAL FILM WEBSITE:]
Friday & Saturday, January 25-26, 2019
Adirondack Film Society (AFS) Screening Series at LPCA: “AMERICAN ANIMALS.” The 2018-19 edition (Version 5.0) of the series continues with this “sensational,” “riveting” and “wildly entertaining true-crime thriller” (Variety) that “you won’t be able to stop talking about” (Rollling Stone)! Written and directed by Bart Layton (“The Imposter”), the film tells the unbelievable but entirely true story of four young men living an ordinary existence in Kentucky who attempt to execute one of the most audacious art heists in U.S. history. After a visit to Transylvania University, future ringleader Warren Lipka comes up with the idea to steal the rarest and most valuable books from the school's library—and the would-be perpetrators soon find themselves questioning whether their attempts to inject excitement and purpose into their hum-drum lives are simply misguided attempts at achieving the American Dream. 7pm; rated R (for language throughout, some drug use and brief crude/sexual material); runtime: 120 mins. Lake Placid Center for the Arts, 17 Algonquin Drive (off NYS Rte. 86, near Quality Inn). All seats $10; reservations, info: 518-523-2512, lakeplacidarts.org; AFS info: 518-523-3456, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lake Placid Film Festival ‘18:
Making Its Way Back to the top Tier with a Slew of Diverse, Cutting-Edge New Films
Dylan Skolnick, Film Programmer, Lake Placid Film Festival: ““If Wes Anderson made a documentary, it might look something like this stunningly creative movie. When their grandmother dies, Elan and Jonathan Bogarin use the objects in her New Jersey home into a stunning portrait of a life well lived. It’s a wonderful mixture of universal themes and a look at one unique life.”
(Photo: 306 Hollywood)
1st Group of Film Selections Includes “Picks Fit for Film Buffs, Cineastes & People Who Just Love Movies,” say Festival Organizers
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), which 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 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 lakeplacidfilmfestival.org.
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.
All in all, beginning with the tribute dinner Thursday evening and continuing through Sunday evening with several free panel discussions, seminars and/or workshops along with screenings of the 30+ films selected by Mr. Skolnick and Ms. Carroll, the long weekend offers the promise of the biggest and best LPFF in years, said Festival Director Smith, in announcing the first batch of film selections. “I’m especially excited about the great lineup of films we’ve chosen this year,” he said. “They amount to—in the parlance of the movie trade—picks fit for film buffs, cineastes and people who just love movies.”
The Whys and Wherefores of a Programming Director’s Picks
Asked to provide some insight into his selections for the 2018 Lake Placid Film Festival, Programming Director Dylan Skolnick offered the following thoughts on three of the films in this first batch:
● On “306 Hollywood”: “If Wes Anderson made a documentary, it might look something like this stunningly creative movie. When their grandmother dies, Elan and Jonathan Bogarin use the objects in her New Jersey home into a stunning portrait of a life well lived. It’s a wonderful mixture of universal themes and a look at one unique life.”
● On “Monrovia, Indiana”: “Frederick Wiseman is a true master of documentary filmmaking. Over the past 50 years, he has created a stunning body of work. His latest, a portrait of a small middle American town, may initially seem among his more modest works; but like a real-world version of Thornton Wilder’s ‘Our Town,’ it captures the essence of life from cradle to grave. Working, as usual, without voiceover, interviews, or even a descriptive intertitle, Wiseman weaves a vision both deeply realistic and magically poetic. It’s an honor to be showing the movie.”
● On “Birds of Passage”: “In his follow-up to the acclaimed ‘Embrace of the Serpent,’ Columbian filmmaker Ciro Guerra has crafted an epic saga of an indigenous family that gets swept up in the drug trade. Guerra combines echoes of classic gangster dramas like ‘The Godfather’ and ‘Scarface’ with the dazzling imagery of visionary works like ‘El Topo’ and ‘Performance.’ ‘Birds of Passage’ was one of the most acclaimed films at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, and we’re delighted to be bringing it to Lake Placid.”
All-session passes to the 2018 Lake Placid Film Festival (granting admission to all ticketed programs from Friday, Oct. 26, through Sunday, Oct. 28, except where noted) are $79.00 each and are available via lakeplacidfilmfestival.org. Individual tickets to each screening are $15.00, available at the door. For additional information on this year’s Lake Placid Film Festival or on the Adirondack Film Society in general, please contact AFS Operations Manager Fred Balzac at 518-523-3456 /518-588-7275 or email@example.com.
For Immediate Release 9/12/18
Contact: Fred Balzac, AFS Operations Mgr., 518-523-3456, firstname.lastname@example.org
Adirondack Film Society Awarded Grant
from Cloudsplitter Foundation for 2018 Lake Placid Film Forum - and Beyond
Recipient organization sees award representing "a vote of confidence in the Adirondack Film Society's mission, goals and programming."
LAKE PLACID, NY—The Adirondack Film Society (AFS; adirondackfilmsociety.org) is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a grant from the Cloudsplitter Foundation for the 2018 Lake Placid Film Forum (LPFF).
The funding award—which is for $2,000 this year, with the AFS being earmarked by the Foundation for subsequent grants if it meets certain criteria—resulted from a grant request submitted by the Film Society in the final quarter of 2017. The application cited the breadth and diversity of the LPFF’s programming: for example, the organizers of the 2017 edition brought a pair of filmmakers from Cuba to screen their new feature “Esteban” and a filmmaker from Russia to lead a master class on independent contemporary filmmaking in his country—in addition to the diverse group of rising independent filmmakers from the U.S. who screened their latest film or participated in panel discussions and workshops.
The grant request also stressed how the Film Forum serves a rural, underpopulated region by presenting high-quality and mostly low-budget independent films and their creators, which area residents have few opportunities to see in pubic venues, including local multiplexes and independently owned movie theaters.
The funding award from the Cloudsplitter Foundation will enable the Film Society to ensure the breadth, depth and quality of the LPFF, while helping to expand the festival’s offerings and attract more and even better-known filmmaker presenters, says John B. Huttlinger, Jr., Chair of the Board of Directors of the AFS, which he co-founded in 1999 and which has been presenting the annual Lake Placid Film Forum every year except two since 2000. “[Cloudsplitter’s] generous grant award not only provides our organization with a significant financial lift,” he wrote in a letter thanking the Foundation for its gift, “it represents a real vote of confidence in the Film Society’s mission, goals, and programming.”
Itself a 501c3 charity that has been domiciled in New York State since 1999, the Cloudsplitter Foundation (cloudsplitter.org) distributed more than four million dollars over the five years from 2012 to 2016 and requires that at least 70% of its grants go to Adirondack grantees. Areas of greatest interest for the Foundation include the environment, community building, economic sustainability, and communications and data infrastructure.
To learn more about the Adirondack Film Society and Lake Placid Film Forum, please contact AFS Operations Mgr. Fred Balzac at 518-523-3456 or email@example.com.
Lake Placid Film Forum 2017
ESTEBAN (photo courtesy of filmmakers)
Version 16.0 of the Annual Lake Placid Film Forum is Overflowing with Movies for Film Lovers and Films for Movie Buffs
Lake Placid, NY—The annual Lake Placid Film Forum (LPFF), the Adirondack region’s premier film-related event now celebrating its sixteenth incarnation, has long been known for screening great films—typically, the kinds of independent, envelope-pushing, often quirky, sometimes demanding, but always rewarding films you can’t see in your local movieplex. However, for its 2017 edition, the LPFF offers a breathtakingly diverse as well as dynamic lineup of film screenings and related programs that should whet the interest of virtually every kind of North Country moviegoer.
Since the Film Forum premiered back in the year 2000, its stock-in-trade has been the American (or sometimes English-speaking Canadian) independent narrative or documentary feature film—works that tour the now-ever-burgeoning film-festival circuit before settling in to populate “art house” cinemas across the world. And LPFF ’17 has several such films, which have always been of great interest to its core audience of adventurous filmgoers and more discriminating cineastes.
But in an effort to program some films with the potential to reach out to a wider audience of moviegoers—and also because of a recognition on the part of the Adirondack Film Society (AFS) board and staff/consultant programmers of including a program acknowledging the special nature of its home base, the Olympic Village; plus the unforeseen set of particulars surrounding the passing of one of the giants of the film directing world—the LPFF finds itself screening several wildly popular (and, at least in one case, a huge blockbuster of a) classic films.
Here’s a quick rundown of many of the films being shown at this year’s LPFF, which runs from Wednesday, June 7, through Sunday, June 11, at venues including the historic Palace Theatre downtown on Main Street, the Lake Placid Center for the Arts (LPCA), the Whiteface Lodge and Northwood School:
Crowd-pleasers: With residents of Lake Placid and neighboring communities who have been tremendous supporters of the LPFF and other AFS programs over the years firmly in mind, including winter sports enthusiasts—as well as local filmgoers who don’t typically attend AFS screenings—the Film Forum programmers have planned a special way to kick off the five-day event. On opening night of the festival, the Film Society will give a big “Thank you, Lake Placid” with a screening of the 2016 true-story hit movie, “EDDIE THE EAGLE” (Wed., 6/7, 7 pm, Palace) about the famed Olympic ski jumper Michael “Eddie” Edwards who actually trained in Lake Placid. Although the film is set largely in Europe and Lake Placid is not mentioned, the LPFF views “Eddie the Eagle” as a celebration of much of what Lake Placid stands for, with its glorious history of winter sporting events, including ski jumping, according to AFS Chair John Huttlinger. Headlining the evening among panel discussion speakers and other invited dignitaries will be former United States Ski and Snowboard Association ski jumping coach Larry Stone.
In recent years, the Film Society has wanted to offer more programming for families with children, such as the silent films with live accompaniment that’s been offered at the LPFF in 2015 and 2016—building on the successful school-day screenings of “Selma” in 2015 and, this past March, “Hidden Figures” presented in partnership with John Brown Lives! and, for this year, also the Adirondack Diversity Initiative. With even younger children in mind, as well as folks of any age who are young in heart, the AFS is thrilled to present what promises to be a truly special, even magical, program on Sunday morning: a tribute to the late, great actor, Gene Wilder, with a screening of the 1971 family classic “WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY” (Sun., 6/11, 11 am, Palace) introduced by Dr. Peter Ostrum, who played young Charlie in the film and who is now a veterinarian in not-too-far-off Lowville, NY, near Watertown. Dr. Ostrum will also participate in a Q&A session immediately following the film—so kids, ready those question, not only about Peter’s experience making “Willy Wonka” but also about the life and work of his co-star, Gene Wilder.
This year, a major running theme of the LPFF is international exchange and understanding, highlighted by the presence of directors and producers flown into the North Country from Havana, Cuba and Moscow, Russia. Along those lines, the AFS is pleased to present the second annual installment of “The Essentials’/Classic Film” program with screening of the much-beloved Gregory Peck-Audrey Hepburn-director William Wyler classic “ROMAN HOLIDAY” (Sat., 6/10, 8:15 pm, Palace) hosted by Jeremy Arnold. Mr. Arnold is a long-established Turner Classic Movies contributor (as well as longtime summer resident of Lake Placid) who in 2016 saw the publication of his book, “The Essentials: 52 Must-See Movies and Why They Matter,” a tie-in with the popular Saturday night TCM show that is returning with Alec Baldwin stepping in as host following the recent death of Robert Osborne.
Speaking of tributes, the LPFF will screen two contemporary classics by one of Hollywood’s greatest, most beloved directors, Jonathan Demme, who passed away this past April 26th and who was a guest of, and special friend to, the Film Forum: the 1991 blockbuster “THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS” (Fri., 6/9, 9:30 pm, Palace), winner of the Oscar for Best Picture, Best Actress (Jodie Foster), Best Actor (Anthony Hopkins), Best Adapted Screenplay (Ted Tally) and Best Director), hosted by film-industry expert Larry Jackson, who worked on the film while serving as an executive at Orion Pictures & was a friend of Demme’s; and, as the LPFF’s closing program Sunday evening, “STOP MAKING SENSE” (Sun., 6/11, 8:15 pm, Palace), one of the all-time great concert films—about the quintessential late 1970s/early 1980s New Wave bands, the Talking Heads.
Independent American and Canadian (English-language) narrative features:
— “PATERSON” (Thu., 6/8, 6:30 pm, LPCA), the latest work from the path-breaking indie filmmaker Jim Jarmusch (“Stranger Than Paradise”) starring Adam Driver as a bus driver named Paterson who lives in Paterson, New Jersey, and who writes poetry inspired by Paterson native son William Carlos Williams; co-presented with the Adirondack Center for Writing.
— MAUDIE” (Fri., 6/9, 7 pm & encore Sat., 6/10, 11 am, both at Palace), reported to be Atlantic Canada’s hottest movie, a romance/bio-pic set in the stunning scenic beauty of Nova Scotia about beloved folk artist Maud Lewis (played by Oscar-nominated British actress Sally Hawkins); co-starring Ethan Hawke as her husband and directed by relative newcomer Aisling Walsh.
— “TITLE VII” (Sat., 6/10, 1:15 pm, Palace), a powerful drama set in an African-American-owned consulting firm that shows why same-race discrimination cannot only ruin a company but possibly also destroy lives, directed by Nicole Franklin, who will be on hand in person to introduce her film and do a Q&A session right after it.
— “LOVING” (Sat., 6/10, 2:30 pm, LPCA), from acclaimed writer/director Jeff Nichols comes this compelling drama celebrating the real-life courage and commitment of interracial couple Richard and Mildred Loving (played by Joel Edgerton and, in an Oscar-nominated performance, Ruth Negga), whose struggle to live as a married couple in their hometown turned into the civil rights case, Loving v. Virginia, which went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court; co-presented by John Brown Lives!
— “THE DINNER” (Sat., 6/10, 5 pm & encore Sun., 6/11, 3:30 pm, both at LPCA), a mystery-drama about two sets of wealthy parents who meet for dinner to decide what to do about a crime their sons have committed; directed by Oren Moverman and starring Richard Gere, Laura Linney, Chloe Sevigny (of “Love and Friendship”) and Steve Coogan.
— “THE LOVERS” (Sun., 6/11, 1:15 pm, Palace), a romantic comedy-drama directed by Azazel Jacobs (son of legendary experimental filmmaker Ken Jacobs) about a husband and wife (Debra Winger and Tracy Letts) who, while each embroiled an extramarital affair, are sent reeling when they suddenly fall for the least likely person imaginable—each other.
— “A QUIET PASSION” (Sun., 6/11, 3:15 pm, Palace), the critically acclaimed drama starring Cynthia Nixon (“Sex and the City”) as the one-of-a-kind American genius, poet Emily Dickinson, directed by Terence Davies; co-presented by the Adirondack Center for Writing.
Follow-up news releases will focus on additional highlights of LPFF ’17, including international/foreign-language titles, feature documentaries, short films, student films, film-related programs such as master classes and collaborations with multiple film groups and other nonprofit/educational organizations. As in the past two years, admission to panel discussions, workshops and master classes remains free and single tickets to all screenings are $10 per person; however, this year the AFS is introducing an all-Forum screenings pass for $79, payable by cash or by check made out to the Adirondack Film Society. To learn more about tickets or the program overall, please contact AFS Operations Manager Fred Balzac at (518) 523-3456 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit adirondackfilmsociety.org.
*This project is made possible, in part, with funds from the Decentralization Program, a regrant of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and administered by the Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts.
North Country Public Radio is a media sponsor of the 2017 Lake Placid Film Forum.
Lake Placid Film Forum 2016
The region’s premier film-related event…
Jeremy Arnold (photo courtesy of Jeremy Arnold)
the Lake Placid Film Forum—now marking its 15th anniversary—takes place June 8-12 with its biggest & best lineup of new, recent and classic movies in years…
LAKE PLACID, NY—With its initial success as a major cultural event here in the Adirondack North Country—let alone the odds of sustaining that significance for 15 years—being as likely as the proverbial million-to-one shot, the “underdog” of film festivals is trained, prepped and ready to step into the ring once more.
Taking its cue from the boxing classic “Rocky”—the Best Picture Oscar-winner whose 40th anniversary will open the five-day event with a free outdoor screening in Mid’s Park in beautiful downtown Lake Placid Wed., June 8th (~9 pm)—the annual Lake Placid Film Forum (LPFF), presented by the Adirondack Film Society (AFS) through Sunday, June 12th, returns this year with its biggest and best lineup of new, recent and classic films in years. Venues include the venerable Art-Deco-style Palace Theatre at 2430 Main Street—soon to be celebrating its 90th anniversary—and the multipurpose, regionally cherished Lake Placid Center for the Arts (LPCA) at 17 Algonquin Drive.
Screenings include: narrative features and documentaries; international foreign-language as well as North American English-language movies; a slew of Canadian pictures, including a special double-feature on Saturday afternoon of two highly regarded new films curated by an emeritus Ontario-based film professor and AFS Board Member Tom Hanrahan; a silent film classic—Charlie Chaplin’s “The Kid”—plus a short, with live piano accompaniment by Ben Model, who frequently performs such programs at New York City’s Museum of Modern Art; and a special “Essentials” screening of one of the greatest movies ever made, Carol Reed’s “The Third Man,” starring Joseph Cotten and Orson Welles—a program that will be moderated by Jeremy Arnold, the author of the brand new book, “The Essentials: 52 Must-See Movies and Why They Matter,” which is a tie-in with the popular “Essentials” program that airs Saturday nights on cable TV’s Turner Classic Movies (TCM). Following the screening, Mr. Arnold will be joined by producer and former industry exec Larry Jackson, who worked with Welles on his unfinished film “The Other Side of the Wind” as well as “Filming Othello,” and AFS Artistic Director Kathleen Carroll, former film critic for the New York Daily News, for a discussion of “The Third Man” and what makes a film an “Essential.”
Among the documentary features are true-life stories about such subjects as:
The witty, urbane, long-established comedian, Robert Klein, who influenced at least a whole generation of comics who followed him such as Jerry Seinfeld and Richard Lewis, some of whom appear in the film;
The indigenous Onondaga people of northern New York State and their efforts to save and protect the environment of the land and planet that they regard as sacred ground;
Legendary photographer Robert Frank whose work includes a famous shot of the Village Green in nearby Jay, New York, which was published in the New York Times;
Revered filmmaker Sidney Lumet, considered one of the greatest “actor’s directors” to work in New York City as well as Hollywood, whose rich output of powerful, gritty contemporary movies includes “Twelve Angry Men,” “Serpico,” “Dog Day Afternoon, “Network” and “Verdict”;
The USA and East German women’s swim teams that competed against each other in the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal, in a narrative that details the triumph of victory and the agony of defeat until it unravels into a tale of tragedy when the East German women are shown to have been enmeshed in illegal doping during the Games; and
A fascinating take on the impact of the digital world on real life by the great German narrative feature director, Werner Herzog, known for such classic works of obsession as “Aguirre, the Wrath of God” and “Fitzcarraldo.”
Over the years, the Lake Placid Film Forum has become known for providing an intimate setting for audience members to meet well-known filmmakers as well as other film-industry professional who—while not necessarily household names—are artists of the first order in their craft and often expert at communicating about it. Expected guests this year—in person or, in one case, via Skype—include:
Film critic Marshall Fine, director of the documentary “Robert Klein Can’t Stop His Leg” (scheduled for Sat., 6/11, 8:30 pm at the Palace*);
Gwendolen Cates, the director of “The Good Mind,” about the Onondaga, who will be joined by Chief Jake Edwards, who is featured in the film (Fri., 6/10, 9:15 pm & Sun., 6/12, 4 pm at LPCA);
Laura Israel, director of “Don’t Blink,” the Robert Frank doc (Sun., 6:15 pm, LPCA), slated to be accompanied by panelist Nathan Farb, the renowned Adirondack photographer whose footage of Frank giving a lecture is included in the film;
Documentary maven Nancy Buirski, director of “By Sidney Lumet,” this year’s Closing Film (Sun., 8:30 pm, LPCA), who will appear via Skype to introduce her film;
Fifteen-time Emmy Award-winner Brian Brown, director of “The Last Gold,” about two very different approaches to Olympic women’s swimming (Fri., 7 pm, at LPCA & Sun., 7:00 pm, at the Palace); and
Pianist-organist Ben Model, who returns to the LPFF following his crowd-pleasing performance at last year’s event accompanying a Clara Bow feature and a Charlie Chase short and who, with the Chaplin classic “The Kid” plus another short, promises to top his previous Film Forum appearance (Thu., 6/9, 7:30 pm, LPCA).
Among the narrative features (or, in the case of “Where to Invade Next,” strictly speaking a documentary) that will be screened, performers and directors include: Cate Blanchett, Robert Budreau, Andrew Cividino, Stephen Elliot, Ethan Hawke, Todd Haynes, Harvey Keitel, Martin Landau, Guy Maddin, Rooney Mara, Michael Moore, Atom Nagoyan, Christopher Plummer, Paolo Sorrentino and John Turturro.
The organizers of this year’s LPFF are excited about the program and ready to roll. AFS co-founder and Chair John Huttlinger says, “We really focused on programming this year, and it has paid off: we have a bounty of great films.” Co-founder and Artistic Director Kathleen Carroll agrees: “As has been the case in recent years, it’s been the documentaries I’ve seen in festivals and screenings in New York City that have caught my eye…but it’s also been a banner year for Canadian narrative features—and we are featuring both genres.” And Vice Chair Nelson Page exclaims, “Given the lineup of films—new, classic and in between—this promises to be one of our best years yet!”
Tickets to each screening are $10 per person, available at the door, with the exception of the Canadian double feature Sat. at 1:15 pm at the Palace, for which admission is $15 for both films, $10 for the second film (space permitting). The Palace Theatre accepts only cash (518-523-9271; please visit its Facebook page); tickets to screenings at the LPCA can be charged as well (518-523-2512, www.lakeplacidarts.org). To learn more about this year’s Lake Placid Film Forum—including a complete schedule and more details about the films once both are posted, as well as periodic updates—please visit www.adirondackfilm society.org and our Facebook page; for additional info, including about the Film Society itself and its other programs and activities, please call AFS Operations Manager Fred Balzac at (518) 588-7275 or e-mail email@example.com.
*Please note: times, locations, guests and films/events are subject to change. Please check the AFS website, www.adirondackfilmsociety.org, for schedule updates.