Film Festival was great but few knew about it
I attended several showings of films at the recent Buffalo International Film Festival. The four-day festival featured more than 100 films from 20 different countries. The films included full-length features, short films and documentaries. Many of the films were outstanding, including at least one that is expected to be nominated for an Academy Award. For several of the full-length films, the director of the film was present to engage the audience after the showing. The North Park Theatre and the Hallwalls Gallery were very accommodating venues. However, the festival attendance was disappointing.
I believe there is a significant number of people in Western New York, including many students, who have an appreciation for interesting, quality films. But they cannot see them if they do not know where and when they will be shown. It appears the organizers of the festival lacked the funding and staffing to promote the event and that print media did not give the event sufficient or timely coverage so that people could learn about the festival and plan to attend.
A quality film festival is an asset to this region. If this 10-year-old festival is to survive, it needs more than a good selection of films and suitable venues. It needs more public and private funding to support a better marketing effort and greater and more advance coverage by our print media. Hopefully that will be the reality in the future.
George R. Grasser