Buffalo Dreams Fantastic Film Festival will run for one full week, November 8th – 14th, at Dipson’s Amherst Theater, 3500 Main Street in Buffalo, across the street from the UB South Campus: http://www.buffalodreamsfilmfest.com/. Submissions are open through early October, but because we’re going through Without a Box, the submission fee gets more expensive the closer the deadline. We have three sponsors lined up so far: Alternative Cinema/POP Cinema Studios (http://www.alternativecinema.com), Seeley and Kane’s Books and Comics (http://www.seeleyandkanescomics.com), and WNY Grip & Lighting (http://www.wnygriplighting.com/ ). Sponsorships are only $200. Alternative Cinema will offer a non-binding contract for worldwide distribution to the winner of our feature film competition. Film production is growing in Buffalo, and the Queen City is less than two hours from Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
When I wrote Cheap Scares: Low Budget Horror Filmmakers Share Their Secrets, film festivals were fairly new to me, and the information I provided came from the interviews in the book. I’ve attended Eerie Horror Film Festival in Erie, PA several times (http://www.eeriehorrorfilmfestival.com), and I attended the amazing Beloit International Film Festival (http://www.beloitfilmfest.org) twice, once as the Honorary Chairman. BIFF really showed me what a film festival should be: filmmaker friendly and supported by the community so it becomes an identifying component of the community. But it takes years to build a successful festival, and there are several in Buffalo already. With Chris Scioli and another partner, I helped build Buffalo Screams Horror Film Festival into a successful international film festival. At the height of that fest’s three year run, we booked thirty hotel rooms for visiting filmmakers, and Isaac Ezban and his party came all the way from Mexico to screen the incredible Cosas Feas. For a variety of reasons, Scioli and I split off on our own, and the result is Buffalo Dreams Fantastic Film Festival. We’ve made a long term commitment to making this the top festival in Western New York.
For Buffalo Screams, we always made room to screen “More than Horror” films – science fiction, fantasy, crime drama and even a western – so it made sense to expand the scope of our programming to include multiple genres. The Amherst caters to a specialized film audience, and its college audience seeks diversity. Our mission is to bring the best independent short, medium length and feature length genre films from around the world to Buffalo, and to shine a spotlight on local filmmakers whose work merits attention. We will continue to provide support and encouragement for young and developing artists. As indicated on our website, the genres we’re programming include Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Action, Thriller, Animation, Cult and Fan films.
Science Fiction and Horror are probably the easiest to define genres. Action can include martial arts, western, war, crime drama and boxing. A Thriller can be a non-supernatural horror film, a stylish noir, or any manner of suspense. A Fantasy film can involve dwarfs and fairies, but it can also be a musical, or a film about dreams – imagination and a sense of wonder are the key ingredients.
Animation is a category we’d really like to see thrive. Any kind of animation is acceptable – cell, CG, stop-motion, claymation, or any of these combined with live action – in any genre, aimed at any age group. With the announcement of a new post production company in Buffalo which will employ 150 people, and the development of a visual effects program at Daemon college, animation is about to become an important part of the Buffalo dreamscape.
A film can’t really become a Cult film until its found a rabid audience (Eraserhead, Donnie Darko, The Toxic Avenger), but for our purposes, a cult film is a narrative film which defies easy categorization, a film which celebrates the weird and the bizarre, and uses the language of film to tell a unique story which may not be embraced commercially. It can also be a campy film aimed at an audience which prefers their entertainment as different from the mainstream as possible. Cult films can leave an indelible impression on the minds of viewers.
A Fan film is a film based on characters or stories created by someone else. Because of copyright issues, they cannot be legally distributed. However, fan films are made by people with great passion for their subject matter, and as a result some really strong films are being created in this area. We feel they deserve to be seen, and another aspect of our mission is to drum up an audience for unique entertainment.
There you have it. We’ve already received a large number of submissions for consideration, and are working our way through them. Keep them coming! We look forward to programming the best festival possible.
- Greg Lamberson