Good things don’t only come in small packages. For moviegoers attending the annual Buffalo Dreams Fantastic Film Festival, they will come in “short” packages, too.
About 70 of the approximately 104 films being shown at the festival, taking place Nov. 5-12, are short films (non feature-length films generally under 30 minutes) thanks to an overwhelming number of quality submissions in that category organizers said.
While watching more than 300 movie submissions for the festival – which showcases genre films from around the world including science fiction, fantasy, horror, action and thrillers – co-chairs Greg Lamberson and Chris Scioli noticed an increase in the short films.
“We received many more shorts than usual for two reasons: our reputation is spreading internationally, and filmmakers realize we’re more than a horror film festival,” Lamberson said.
“I think a lot of filmmakers have come to realize they can make a great short film for the same budget they can make a passable feature,” he added. “The same money that they could just get by on for a feature allows them to have real production value for a short film. Also, they can make a really strong short over a couple of weekends, without it impacting their work schedule of family time the way making a feature can. So a lot of filmmakers would rather make a professional looking short that will get them a lot of attention.”
The short “Night of the Slasher,” for example, showing Nov. 6 with the feature “Bite,” “delivers as much entertainment in 12 minutes as most features do,” Lamberson said.
“Cosas Feas,” from Mexican filmmaker Isaac Ezban, is “the perfect example of a short that’s better conceived than most features,” Lamberson said. And on Nov. 8, more than a dozen shorts from area filmmakers, who are allowed to submit films in any genre, will be shown.
Feature film highlights include the highly regarded Australian mystery “Crushed,” screening at 1 p.m. Nov. 9. Director Megan Riakos, who will be on hand to take part in a Q&A, said she found “Buffalo Dreams” an attractive option to showcase her movie because of its “celebration of genre films.”
“It was great screening at a big festival like the Montreal World Film Festival, but it can be equally if not more satisfying screening at regional festivals because the audience interaction and hospitality from the festival organizers can be such a great experience,” she wrote in an email.
The festival opens with the U.S. 3-D premiere of “Aztec Blood” (formerly “American Mummy”) on Nov. 5 in Flix Stadium 10, Lancaster. The screening will help raise medical funds for filmmaker Carmine Capobianco (“Psychos in Love”) who was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer. Admission is $2, with cash contributions accepted toward the medical fund.
The rest of the festival takes place from Nov. 6 to 12 in the Eastern Hills Cinema. Here are highlights; the full schedule is at buffalodreamsfilmfest.com.
• 1 p.m. Nov. 6. A block of short films opens screenings at Eastern Hills.
• 7 p.m. Nov. 6. The Canadian horror film “Bite,” with Q&A from director Chad Archibald and co-producer Christopher G. Gioux of Black Fawn Films.
• 9:40 p.m. Nov. 6. Scream Queen Debbie Rochon’s directorial debut, “Model Hunger,” which was filmed in Buffalo. Q&A with Rochon.
• 1 p.m. Nov. 7. The Australian sci-fi comedy, “Australiens.” With “The Experience Machine.”
• 3:30 p.m. Nov. 7. A salute to Isaac Ezban starts with the internationally lauded sci-fi thriller “El Incidente”/“The Incident,” followed at 5:45 p.m. by his short “Cosas Feas”/“Nasty Stuff” (not suitable for under age 17) and at 7 p.m. by “Los Parecidos”/“The Similars.” Ezban, who will present a Q&A with his films, will be honored with the Rod Serling Wordsmith Award; he received the George Pal Visionary Award at the 2014 event.
• 7:30 p.m. Nov. 7. “Stand Off,” a zombie apocalypse set in Buffalo and made in Buffalo. Q&A with filmmakers Joey Springer and Bill Kennedy. With “Roadside Assistance”; Q&A with Bears Fonte.
• 9:40 p.m. Nov. 7. Buffalo premiere of the locally made comedy/horror film “Killer Rack,” which has just returned from the festival circuit. It is directed by Lamberson. With “Love After Death.”
• 5:30 p.m. Nov. 8. The Dreamer Awards including special honors to Ezban, Rochon and Black Fawn Films, plus a Local Hero Award to makeup artist/musician Arick Szymecki.
• 9:40 p.m. Nov. 11. “Frankenstein’s Patchwork Monster,” filmed in Buffalo by director/writer Emil Novak Jr.
• 9:30 p.m. Nov. 12. Premiere of “The Outlaw: Virus” from Buffalo filmmakers Fawn Genovese and Aceifer of the band Ace in the Hole. (No one under 17 admitted.) It’s the fifth installment of their continuing series, “The Living Comic Book.” Screens with the premiere of “The Muse, The Oracle and Baby J.”
Buffalo Dreams Fantastic Film Festival
When: Nov. 5 at Dipson Flix Stadium 10 and Nov. 6-12 at the Dipson Eastern Hills.
Admission: $7.50-9.50 per block, $7.50 for matinee blocks Nov. 9-12, $7 seniors, $20 day pass, $100 all festival pass.