Coming Attractions: October is film festival time in Buffalo (from Buffalo Spree)

The BIFF crowd gathers outside the North Park Theatre before the premiere of Trew Calling in 2016
BIFF PHOTO BY SUMMER OLIVER

I’m getting to this one a little late … but there’s still time for many of these screenings. Here’s my October 2017 Coming Attractions column from Buffalo Spree.

Film festivals are plentiful in Western New York, but two of the best happen in October. Check out these and more here in this month’s screenings rundown.

riverrun Global Film Series: Cuban films and filmmakers are the focus of the second installment of riverrun, a unique series that aims to “create a dialogue between the local community and institutions of higher education in Buffalo through a selection of films that provide a better understanding of our present existence in the globalized networked world.” William & Mary professor Ann Marie Stock is keynote speaker during the festival’s first night, October 12. The evening includes a screening of Tomás Gutiérrez Alea’s Memories of Underdevelopment, a 1968 feature recently restored by Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Foundation. October 13 features films by and about women, a poetry reading, and Cuban music and dance. And October 14 looks at old and new Cuba via films about the environment (the “nuclear narrative” of 2015’s The Project of the Century) and Cuba’s AIDS crisis (2016’s The Companion). There is much more planned; for a complete rundown of films, speakers, and events, visit globalfilmseries.wordpress.com. (October 12-14 at the Burchfield Penney Art Center, 1300 Elmwood Ave.; globalfilmseries.wordpress.com)

Buffalo International Film Festival: In the last few years, BIFF has emerged as Western New York’s most exciting, best-curated film festival. Any fest that would open with a screening of Tony Conrad: Completely in the Present, as BIFF16 did, is hard to top. In 2017, BIFF will again be held entirely within the City of Buffalo, at the North Park Theatre, Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, Squeaky Wheel Film and Media Art Center, and additional venues still to be announced. Be sure to peruse titles and find times and locations at buffalointernationalfilmfestival.com. One highlight to make special note of is a screening of Marshall, the Thurgood Marshall biopic shot in Buffalo. It screens at 7 p.m. on October 7 at the North Park Theatre. Another is a screening of El Topo director Alexander Jodorowsky’s latest, Endless Poetry. It screens at 5:30 p.m. on October 7 at the Burchfield Penney Art Center. (October 6 to 9; buffalointernationalfilmfestival.com)

Rocky Horror Picture Show Party at the Riviera Theatre: A pre-Halloween screening of cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a tradition at North Tonawanda’s Riviera Theatre. The party includes a pre-show at 10 p.m., a costume contest, and several other events allowing attendees to do the time warp. (9:30 p.m. doors at the Riviera Theatre and Performing Arts Center, 67 Webster St., N. Tonawanda; rivieratheatre.org)

Thursday Night Terrors—The Craft, Halloween III, and Creepshow: There’s something for just about every horror fan this October thanks to Thursday Night Terrors. First is a surprising (and very cool) selection, the 1996 teenage witchcraft favorite The Craft. It’s scheduled for October 12, and should draw a mix of 1990s enthusiasts and newbies. Meanwhile, October 26 offers a double feature: Halloween III: Season of the Witch and Creepshow. Michael Myers and George Romero, six days before Halloween? Bloody perfect. (The Craft: 7:30 p.m. on October 12; Halloween III and Creepshow: 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., respectively, on October 26; at the Dipson Amherst Theatre, 3500 Main St.; facebook.com/thursdaynightterrors)

Buffalo Film Seminars: The heavy hitters are coming out for the BFS this month. First up is Robert Altman’s still-innovative M*A*S*H on October 3. Next, on October 10, is Alan J. Pakula’s timely (ahem) Watergate classic All the President’s Men. Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1983 drama Nostalghia screens on October 24, followed by Wim Wenders’s soaring Wings of Desire on October 24. And on October 31, BFS presents Mike Nichols’s Postcards from the Edge. The latter was written by the late Carrie Fisher, and based on her own novel. It’s a gem, and Meryl Streep and Shirley Maclaine have rarely been better. (7 p.m. on October 3, 10, 17, 24, and 31 at the Dipson Amherst Theatre, 3500 Main St.; csac.buffalo.edu/bfs.html)

Noir EssentialsIn a Lonely Place: The new film noir series at the Dipson Eastern Hills offers another great: Nicholas Ray’s In a Lonely Place. There’s an argument to be made that Humphrey Bogart gives his best performance, as a screenwriter accused of murder. (7:30 p.m. on October 18 at the Dipson Eastern Hills Cinema, 4545 Transit Rd., Williamsville; dipsontheatres.com)

Roycroft Film Society—Autism in AmericaMany critics consider this 2015 documentary to be the strongest film yet about autism. It’s another unique Roycroft pick. (4 p.m. on October 8 at Parkdale Elementary School, 141 Girard Ave., East Aurora; roycroftcampuscorp.com)

TCM Big Screen Classics—The Princess BrideFans of Rob Reiner’s adventure-filled love story don’t just like it. They love it. I suspect many of them will be in attendance to commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of the film, which stars Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin, Christopher Guest, and, of course, Andre the Giant. (2 and 7 p.m. on October 15 and 18 at the Regal Elmwood Center, 2001 Elmwood Ave., and Regal Transit Center, 6707 Transit Rd., Williamsville; fathomevents.com)

GKIDS Presents Studio Ghibli Fest 2017—Spirited AwayThis ongoing Fathom Events series has now arrived at one of Hayao Miyazaki’s most acclaimed and important films. Spirited Away is a whimsical delight that still enchants viewers of any age. (Dubbed version: 12:55 p.m. on October 29; subtitled version: 7 p.m. on October 30; at the Regal Elmwood Center, 2001 Elmwood Ave., and Regal Transit Center, 6707 Transit Rd., Williamsville;fathomevents.com)

Free films courtesy of the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library: The Town of Collins Public Library has scheduled a free screening of Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween on October 6, while the Central Library’s free family film screening is again set for the first Saturday of the month. (1 p.m. on October 6 at the Town of Collins Public Library, 2341 Main St., Collins; and 1 p.m. on October 7 at the Central Branch, 1 Lafayette Square;buffalolib.org)

Norma and The Magic Flute at the Fredonia Opera House: The latest “Live at the Met” broadcast at the Opera House is a new production of Vincenzo Bellini’s Norma on October 7, while Julie Taymor’s production of Die Zauberflote (The Magic Flute) screens on October 14. (Norma: 1 p.m. on October 7; The Magic Flute: 1 p.m. on October 14; at the Fredonia Opera House, 9 Church St., Fredonia; fredopera.org)

TCM Presents The Natural at the North Park: It’s a month of unique and exciting film screenings, but the October 21 presentation of The Natural at the North Park Theatre might top the list. Presented by Turner Classic Movies, this special “TCM Backlot” screening  of the Buffalo-shot baseball favorite will be hosted by TCM’s Ben Mankiewicz and feature a live appearance from the film’s director, Barry Levinson. Tickets are required for this free screening, but prepare to arrive early; a ticket does not guarantee a seat. (7 p.m. on October 21 at the North Park Theatre, 1428 Hertel Ave.; northparktheatre.org)

Beloved and Cameraperson, presented by Cultivate Cinema Circle: One of the late Jonathan Demme’s most unjustly ignored films is Beloved, the 1998 Toni Morrison adaptation starring Oprah Winfrey. On October 24, Cultivate Cinema Circle presents the film in conjunction with Morrison’s Babel series visit to Buffalo on November 9. Also this month, CCC presents a screening of Kirsten Johnson’s stunning documentary, Cameraperson(Cameraperson: 7 p.m. on October 4 at Squeaky Wheel Film & Media Arts Center, 617 Main St.; Beloved: 7:30 p.m. on October 24 at Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, 341 Delaware Ave.;cultivatecinemacircle.com)

Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde and Nosferatu at the North Park: This double feature of silent horror classics on October 11 will feature live musical accompaniment from Austin band the Invincible Czars. (Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde: 7 p.m.; Nosferatu: 9:30 p.m.; both at the North Park Theatre, 1428 Hertel Ave.; northparktheatre.org)

Old Chestnut Film Series: China Seas: The long-running classic film series presents a season of Clark Gable and Greta Garbo. First up is Gable, in the 1935 drama China Seas(7:30 p.m. on October 13 in the Community Room of the Phillip Sheridan School, 3200 Elmwood Ave., Kenmore; oldchestnut.com)

October at the Screening Room: It is possible that this month is one of the busiest in the history of Amherst’s Screening Room Cinema. There are documentaries, like Swim Team, which opens September 29 and also screens on September 30, October 1, and October 3. There are classics, like John Ford’s The Grapes of Wrath, which screens on October 7, 8 and 10. (The October 7 screening will also feature a live performance titled The Movin’ Dress: A Dust Bowl Story.) There’s a local fare from Buffalo State College, at the Studio 716 Film Festival on October 6. And there is a lengthy list of scary (and scary-funny) favorites, as the Halloween Horrorfest features films like Carnival of SoulsNight of the Living Dead, Plan 9 From Outer Space, and Young Frankenstein. Remember to check screeningroom.net for times and a full schedule of films and events. (The Screening Room, 880 Alberta Dr., Amherst; screeningroom.net)

October Coming Attractions: Celebrate ten years of the Buffalo International Film Festival, and prepare for Halloween with The Shining

buffalo-international-film-festival-stefan-ludwig-photography-buffalo-ny-10-0c8ca90c

Check out my ‘Coming Attractions’ column from the October 2016 Buffalo Spree.

October features some cinematic kingpins—Fellini, Kubrick, the Marx Brothers—but it’s highlighted by the tenth installment of one of Western New York’s strongest film festivals. 

Buffalo International Film Festival: Last year was a thrilling one for the Buffalo International Film Festival (BIFF), highlighted by a screening of Emelie, Michael Thelin’s well-reviewed thriller. The 2016 fest is set for October 7 through 10, and for the first time in the festival’s ten-year history, every entry will be screened in a venue located in the City of Buffalo. The opening night centerpiece at the North Park will be Tyler Hubby’s new feature documentary Tony Conrad: Completely in the Present. That’s huge, especially for the late artist and UB professor’s legions of local fans. The lineup includes numerous interesting films, so peruse the entire lineup and find times and locations at buffalointernationalfilmfestival.com(October 7 to 11; buffalointernationalfilmfestival.com)

Buffalo Film Seminars: Bruce Jackson and Diane Christian open October with three heavy hitters: Joseph L. Mankiewicz (All About Eve, October 4), Federico Fellini (La Dolce Vita, October 11), and Orson Welles (Chimes at Midnight, October 18). Still, the most intriguing pick of the month might be Sarah Elder and Leonard Kamerling’s 1977 documentary Drums of Winter, which screens on October 25. The hugely acclaimed, award-winning film about the Yup’ik people of central Alaska is listed in the Film Preservation Registry by the Library of Congress. And there’s a wonderful local link here, since Elder is a media study professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo. (7 p.m. at the Dipson Amherst Theatre, 3500 Main. St.; csac.buffalo.edu/bfs.html)

Oasis—Supersonic: A documentary about Noel and Liam Gallagher’s Oasis, the battling Britpop supernovas behind “Wonderwall” and “Champagne Supernova,” from the producers of Oscar-winning Amy Winehouse doc Amy? Yes, please. A24 is releasing Supersonic in America, and the distributor has scheduled one-night-only screenings for October 26 nationwide. Whether you love the Gallaghers or not, watch the trailer at supersonic-movie.com and tell me you’re not intrigued. This could turn out to be one of the most entertaining documentaries of 2016. (7 p.m. on October 26 at the Dipson Amherst Theatre, 3500 Main. St. ;dipsontheatres.com)

TCM Big Screen Classics—The ShiningHave you watched the documentary Room 237? If not, get on that. (I’ll wait.) The exploration of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining and its many (probably incorrect) interpretations is utterly mind-melting. It also reminds us that Kubrick’s film is far more than a scary Stephen King adaptation with an unhinged Jack Nicholson screaming, “Here’s Johnny!” Instead, The Shining is one of the most complex, influential movies ever made. But it is scary, as well, so kudos to the TCM Big Screen series for making the film its October selection, just in time for Halloween. (2 and 7 p.m. on October 23 and 26 at the Regal Transit Center, 6707 Transit Rd., Williamsville; fathomevents.com)

Fredonia Opera House: Arthur Miller and the Marx Brothers have genius in common, and two of their finest works grace the Fredonia Opera House screen in October. First is a simulcast of Miller’s View From the Bridgeat 1 p.m. on October 1. This 2016 Tony winner for Best Revival of a Play stars the always stellar Mark Strong. Meanwhile, on October 7, the Opera House screens the classic Marx Brothers’ comedy Duck Soup at 7:30 p.m. The screening is part of Fredonia State College’s annual “Freedonia Marxonia Festival.” And in a nice touch, admission is “Free.” (Fredonia Opera House, 9 Church St., Fredonia; fredopera.org)

Roycroft Film Society—About Elly: Anyone who’s seen Asghar Farhadi’s A Separation and The Past will likely agree that the Iranian filmmaker ranks near the top of international cinema’s best. His latest effort, The Salesman, earned him Best Screenplay honors after premiering at the Cannes Film Festival in May. That one will be released soon, but this month the Roycroft Film Society offers a chance to catch 2009’s About Elly. The story of the mysterious disappearance of a kindergarten teacher is considered one of Farhadi’s greatest works, and that’s saying something. (4 p.m. on October 9 at Parkdale Elementary School, 141 Girard Ave., East Aurora; roycroftcampuscorp.com)

Nichols High School Movie Night at the North Park: The students at Nichols have darn good taste in cinema, as evidenced by this stellar series. The lineup features Buster Keaton’s The Cameraman and Charlie Chaplin’s The Bank on October 2; Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn in Bringing Up Baby on October 17; Hitchcock’s bold, experimental Rope on October 24; and King Kong on October 31. (The Cameraman/The Bank: 11:30 a.m. on October 2, all others at 7 p.m. on October 17, 24, and 31, at the North Park Theatre, 1428 Hertel Ave.; northparktheatre.org)

North Park Theatre: In addition to the aforementioned Nichols’ screenings the North Park’s October lineup includes the George Hamilton-starring indie Silver Skies at 7 p.m. on October 4 and a tenth anniversary presentation of Mike Judge’s prescient satire Idiocracy at 9:45 p.m. the same night. (Both will feature live satellite Q-and-As.) The silent horror classic Nosferatu is scheduled for 7 p.m. on October 12, and will feature a live score by the Invincible Czars. (North Park Theatre, 1428 Hertel Ave.; northparktheatre.org)

riverrun Global Film Series: Iran is the “Country in Focus” for this free three-day presentation of films and lectures. The series will include a short film from late Taste of Cherry director Abbas Kiarostami, as well as Bahram Beyzaie’s recently restored 1972 drama Downpour. Also scheduled is Notes on Blindness, a project with both a documentary and a virtual reality component. (Sept. 29 to Oct. 1 at the Burchfield Penney Art Center, 1300 Elmwood Ave.; globalfilmseries.wordpress.com)

Burchfield Penney Art Center: In addition to the riverrun Global Film Series mentioned above, BPAC has October screenings of the documentary All the Difference, a film exploring issues related to African-American manhood, and Korey Green’s Buffalo-set (and shot) gangster film The Romans(Difference: 7 p.m. on October 13; Romans: 7 p.m. on Oct. 20; 1300 Elmwood Ave.; burchfieldpenney.org)

Thursday Night Terrors—Fright Night: This great new horror film series continues in October with 1985’sFright Night, Tom Holland’s thrilling and funny vampire tale. Ignore the so-so Colin Farrell-starring 2011 remake, and instead head to the Dipson Amherst. (7:30 p.m. on October 27 at the Dipson Amherst Theatre, 3500 Main St.; facebook.com/thursdaynightterrors)

Cultivate Cinema Circle: The fall CCC season includes a focus on Robert Altman, and for October, that means a screening of his underrated ensemble piece A Wedding. Also planned is Audrie & Daisy, a documentary about sexual assault that garnered high praise at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. (A Wedding: 7 p.m. on October 6 at the Dipson Amherst Theatre, 3500 Main St.; Audrie & Daisy: 7 p.m. on October 12 at Burning Books, 420 Connecticut St.; cultivatecinemacircle.com)

Rocky Horror Picture Party: It wouldn’t be Halloween month without a screening of cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show. This event is an annual Rivera Theatre favorite. (9:30 p.m. on October 28 at the Riviera Theatre, 67 Webster St., N. Tonawanda; rivieratheatre.org)

Call Her Applebroog: Artist Ida Applebroog’s daughter, filmmaker Beth B., directed this personal portrait of the provocative painter. (7 p.m. on October 12 at Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, 341 Delaware Ave.; hallwalls.org)

Old Chestnut Film Society—The Lady EveThe films of Barbara Stanwyck and Clifton Webb are the focus for the latest installment of the long-running Old Chestnut Film Society series. December’s selection is a goodie, as The Lady Eve is one of Preston Sturgess’s finest comedies. (7:30 p.m. on December 9 in the Community Room of the Phillip Sheridan School, 3200 Elmwood Ave., Kenmore; oldchestnut.com)

The Screening Room: Amherst’s Screening Room has so much happening this month that I barely know where to begin; remember to visit screeningroom.net for the full listing. Halloween-centric highlights include the John Landis horror favorite An American Werewolf in London on October 7, 8, 11, 14, and 15; Mel Brooks’sYoung Frankenstein, starring the late Gene Wilder, on October 22, 25, and 28; Mario Bava’s cult classicHatchet for the Honeymoon on October 22; John Carpenter’s original Halloween on October 27, 29, and 31; local filmmaker Greg Lamberson’s Killer Rack on October 28 and 29; a double bill of Vincent Price-starrer The House on Haunted Hill and Ed Wood’s needs-no-introduction Plan 9 From Outer Space on October 30; and George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead on October 31. (Check website for times; 3131 Sheridan Dr., Amherst; screeningroom.net)

Also screening this month …

  • The Dipson Amherst Theatre has two opera simulcasts scheduled this month: Samson et Dalila on October 13 and Macbeth on October 20. (Samson: 8 p.m. on October 13; Macbeth: 8 p.m. on October 20; at the Dipson Amherst Theatre, 3500 Main. St.; dipsontheatres.com)
  • Sherlock Holmes joins Sherlock Holmes, in a way, when Sherlock’s Benedict Cumberbatch and Elementary’s Jonny Lee Miller appear in a screening of the National Theatre adaptation of Frankenstein on October 25. Trainspotting and Steve Jobs director Danny Boyle helmed the acclaimed production. (7 p.m. on October 25 at the Regal Elmwood Center, 2001 Elmwood Ave., and Regal Transit Center, 6707 Transit Rd., Williamsville; fathomevents.com)
  • Outside of Buffalo, there are two unique October film festivals worth a drive. ImageOut, Rochester’s LGBT film festival, is set for October 6 to 16 (imageout.org). And the Toronto After Dark Film Festival offers nine days of horror and sci-fi from October 13 to 21 (torontoafterdark.com).