A busy fall movie season in Buffalo gets even busier with the return of the Buffalo Dreams Fantastic Film Festival. The genre-focused fest mixes of action, animation, comedy, drama, fantasy, horror, thriller and science-fiction features and shorts from around the world.
As in previous years, the fifth installment of Buffalo Dreams is split between two locations. It runs from Nov. 2 to 9 at the Dipson Eastern Hills Cinema (4545 Transit Road) and from Nov. 10 to 12 at the Screening Room Cinema Cafe (Boulevard Mall, 880 Albert Drive, Amherst).
“The 2016 festival was a big success, and this season will be even bigger,” said Gregory Lamberson, co-director of Buffalo Dreams with Chris Scioli. “We have so many great films that we had to add a night of programming.”
The 2017 tally is staggering: 110 films, including 40 features and 70 shorts, and at least 40 out-of-town filmmakers coming to screen their work.
Buffalo Dreams will salute father-and-son filmmakers Fred and Chris Olen Rey with back-to-back screenings. The prolific directors have played an important role in transforming Buffalo into a film production hotbed. On Nov. 5 at the Eastern Hills, the festival screens Fred Olen Ray’s 1988 camp classic “Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers” at 8 p.m., followed by Chris Olen Ray’s gory horror flick “Circus Kane” at 9:45 p.m.
Troma Entertainment, the beloved genre studio, will be featured on Nov. 3 at the Eastern Hills. “Greetings from Tromaville,” a documentary about legendary Troma co-founder Lloyd Kaufman, screens at 7 p.m. Kaufman has frequently shot films in Buffalo and is a regular visitor to the area.
Then, at 9:30 p.m., the festival will host the East Coast premiere of Kaufman's “Return to Return to Nuke Em High, a.k.a. Vol. 2.” The sequel to the cult classic was shot in Niagara Falls.
Two family films are on tap this year: Family adventure “Thrill Ride" screens at 11:30 a.m. on Nov. 4, and the delightfully titled musical “Princess Sparkly Butt and the Hotdog Kid” will be shown at 11:30 a.m. on Nov. 5. Both are set for the Eastern Hills.
“The filmmakers for both of the family films are attending, they’ll be preceded by shorts made by young students, and we're only charging $5 for each of them,” Lamberson said. “Our goal is to introduce kids and aspiring filmmakers to the world of film festivals.”
The remainder of the lineup is tremendously eclectic. “Some may dismiss us as ‘just a horror festival,’ but we're way more than that,” Lamberson said. “We celebrate independent film and filmmakers, and offer a real opportunity for film lovers to interact and network with talented filmmakers.”
In addition to the films mentioned above, highlights include:
- “Diffability Hollywood:” Adrian Esposito, a Rochester filmmaker with autism, is the festival’s Filmmaker of the Year. His documentary looking at how Hollywood portrays people with disabilities kicks off the festival. (6:45 p.m. on Nov. 2 at the Eastern Hills)
- “You Go to My Head”: Lamberson recommends this Belgian thriller about a woman with amnesia. (Noon on Nov. 3 at the Eastern Hills)
- “Western New York Shorts”: Five locally produced shorts will run during this unique section of the festival. (1 p.m. on Nov. 5 at the Eastern Hills)
- “3 Dead Trick or Treaters”: A horror anthology is perfect Buffalo Dreams fare. Director Torin Langen will host a Q&A after the screening of this Canadian entry telling five interconnected stories. (Noon on Nov. 11 at the Screening Room)
- “Borley Rectory”: This animated documentary mixing digital animation and the technique known as rotoscoping chronicles “the most haunted house in England.” The Western New York premiere of this horror film kicks off the festival’s final day. (Noon on Nov. 12 at the Screening Room)
The entire lineup can be found at buffalodreamsfantasticfilmfestival.com.
Buffalo Dreams Fantastic Film Festival
The festival is from Nov. 2 to 9 at the Dipson Eastern Hills Cinema (4545 Transit Road) and from Nov. 10 to 12 at the Screening Room Cinema Cafe (Boulevard Mall, 880 Albert Drive, Amherst). Ticket are $10 each ($7 for students, seniors and those with military ID), a day pass for $20, and an all-festival pass good for all 11 days for $100 (box office, dipsontheatres.com). Day and all festival passes can only be purchased at the box office.