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Louis Gossett Jr. among guests for Niagara Falls film festival

The wide-ranging Niagara Falls International Film Festival will welcome an Oscar-winning actor, stars from “The Walking Dead” and the “Twilight” films, honor maverick filmmaker Samuel Fuller and show a documentary with a local connection. And that's for starters.

NFIFF opens Sept. 18 in the Rapids Theatre (1711 Main St., Niagara Falls) with a red carpet gala and continues with screenings in the Regal Cinemas Hollywood 12 (720 Builders Way, Niagara Falls) through Sept. 21.

Louis Gossett Jr., who won an Oscar for “An Officer and a Gentleman,” will attend a screening of his film “The Reason” (6 p.m. Sept. 19) and will be honored with the NFIFF Legacy Award.

Also appearing will be Max Martini with “Sgt. Will Gardner” (8 p.m. Sept. 20), a film he wrote, directed and stars in about an Iraq War veteran on a road trip across the country. Xander Berkeley (“The Walking Dead,” “24”) and Jackson Rathbone (the “Twilight” films) will both be at the screening of “The Wall of Mexico” (7 p.m. Sept. 19). Directed by Zachary Cotler and Magdalena Zyzak, the film is about a feud that erupts when a wealthy Mexican American family decides to build a wall to stop poor white locals from stealing their well water.

"The Wall of Mexico" will be shown at the Niagara Falls International Film Festival with its stars Xander Berkeley and Jackson Rathbone in attendance.

"Sing You a Brand New Song: The Words and Music of Coleman Mellett" is about jazz guitarist Coleman "Coley" Mellman, who died at age 34 in the crash of Flight 3407 in Clarence. Produced by his wife, Jeanie Bryson (daughter of Dizzy Gillespie), it will be shown at 6 p.m. Sept. 20.

The festival celebrates the career of distinguished director Samuel Fuller with screenings of such films as “The Naked Kiss” (1964), “Hell and High Water” (1954) and “Shock Corridor” (1963). His 1980 war film, “The Big Red One,” is the closing night movie and will have stars from that film – Robert Carradine, Perry Lang, Kelly Ward and Bobby DiCicco – in attendance.

Fuller’s wife, Christa, and his daughter, Samantha also will attend and Samantha's documentary about her father, “A Fuller Life,” will be screened at 6 p.m. Sept. 20.

The expanded slate of films for the festival’s second go-around – 27 feature and 44 short films – also includes movies from Spain (“Mother,” a short directed by Rodrigo Sorogoyen), Turkey (“Bozkir”), Russia (“Snow Queen: Mirrorlands” from directors Robert Ience and Aleksey Tsitsilin), Ireland/France (“Sgt. Stubby,” the true story of the most decorated dog in U.S. history from director Richard Lanni) and Australia ("Going Attractions: The Definitive Story of the Movie Palace," from April Wright).

For the full schedule and costs, visit NFIFF.com.

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