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Buffalo Niagara Film Festival opens Wednesday

Regional filmmakers will be well-represented in the 2013 Buffalo Niagara Film Festival, beginning Wednesday and running through April 14, with most screenings at the Market Arcade Film and Arts Centre (639 Main St.)

Although times and dates may still be subject to change for some shows, opening night so far includes several movies with local roots. Two Western New York documentaries will be shown in a film block at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Torrey Johnson of Frewsburg followed the Jamestown roots-rock band Big Leg Emma on tour down South as the musicians fiddled and sang their way through 17 shows in 17 days. The marathon – on stage, on the bus and places in between – is captured in “Heartbreakin’ Balance.” A note on the trailer for the film says, “It happened completely by accident;” perhaps that’s why it so perfectly reflects the energy and spirit of the band’s modern-day bluegrass.

Following is “Living in the Shadow of the Bridge,” an advocacy film by Niagara University associate professor Mark Barner. Barner made the movie in conjunction with the Niagara Gateway Columbus Park Association and Buffalo West Side Environmental Defense Fund. It highlights the West Side neighborhood’s ongoing issues with Peace Bridge traffic and the ever-shifting plans to expand the crossing’s capacity for truck traffic – which opponents contend will be disastrous for the neighborhood’s historic integrity and for its residents’ health.

Two more area filmmakers are part of the 8 p.m. “Shorts Block” on Wednesday. The nine-minute film “A Private Place” by David Flanagan of Lockport carries the tagline “A woman’s love. A deadly act. A private place.” “A Fortnight’s Rest,” by Sean Bardgett of Windsor, Ont., is described as “film noir like you’ve never seen it.”

The festival will present dozens more feature films, shorts and documentaries over its five-day run. For more information, and to check for movie times and scheduling changes, go to

On a related note, the staff of the BNFF is still looking for help with a documentary it is producing on “The Natural.” If you were an extra in the film, have memorabilia or photos to share, call 827-3534 or email