International Film Festival This Weekend!

July 31, 2012 § Leave a comment

PRESS RELEASE

The Ballston Spa International Film Festival (BSFF) invites everyone to the 5th annual free festival this Friday and Saturday, August 3-4 in Ballston Spa, NY to celebrate with the filmmakers and judges.

“Hollywood” doesn’t only happen in California!  Every year, a piece of Hollywood is celebrated right in downtown Ballston Spa as over 30 films are screened from around the world.  Besides the usual entries from California, this year’s festival also features films from Spain, Germany, England, and Russia, as well as films from prominent filmmakers and students right here in the Capital District.

Two of these local films are, in fact, gaining national and international attention!  Michael Feurstein, a local filmmaker who produces works ranging from festival-run shorts to national commercials and music videos, is screening his film, How to UnMake a Bully.  This film has already earned a Telly Award and several endorsements, and is currently being used in classrooms around the world as an instrumental tool for anti-bullying instruction and awareness.  At a time when bullying has been forefront in the media for both children and adults, the BSFF is very excited to be able to bring this special screening to the festival. Feurstein is also known for his cinematics for the Guitar Hero video game series, his acclaimed kids’ webshow, eScapetheseries.com, as well as his work through Proctors Theater to bring media into the curriculum of local schools.

The festival will feature a second special screening of Dan Masucci’s film, DxOne. DxOne focuses on telling the story of a family that lives with Type 1 diabetes. As a generally misunderstood disease, DxOne clarifies the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 through a narrative dramatic film.  This is an emotional film that will touch those that have Type 1 in their lives, as well as being a story that anyone can identify with.  DxOne is gaining national attention and features actors Nicholas Masucci, Benjamin Busch (Homicide, The Wire, The Beast), and Yvonne Perry (As The World Turns, Law & Order: CI, Silk Stalkings).

In addition to the short film screenings both Friday and Saturday evenings at 6:30 and 9:00pm, there will also be a presentation of a special family film at 1:30pm on Saturday, 8/4 in the Ballston Spa High School auditorium. This 1986 film follows the adventures of 2 best friends – a cat named Milo and a dog named Otis, as they are propelled on a journey to find one another again after being separated.  Narrated by Dudley Moore, this rated G film also has enough fun for parents and grandparents to be able to enjoy alongside their kids.  After the film, there will be a led discussion on how music makes movies work.  Other weekend events include an open air photo booth, kettle corn, cotton candy, ice cream, trivia, games, after parties, and more!

The films are eligible for prizes in 8 categories and will be judged by a panel of Hollywood professionals.  This year’s judges include the people behind such projects as: Silence of the Lambs, Mystic Pizza, The Skeptic, Dorian Blues, Madeleine’s Mind, True Lies, The Age of Innocence, Sundance Film Festival, and Miramax Films. The awards will be presented to the filmmakers at the Saturday evening after-party at The Brickyard Tavern.

The BSFF is a rapidly growing festival that has very quickly earned an international reputation.  Catering to both filmmakers and film lovers, the BSFF is excited by the impressive exposure and annual growth each year.  The film festival’s mission has always been to provide quality, affordable, family oriented entertainment to the community while also providing professional opportunities for local students with a passion for film and television production.  Putting Ballston Spa back on the map for one of “the places to be”, the BSFF is proud to be celebrating its 5th year in the community, and is looking forward to continuing to grow the festival each year.

The festival is free and open to the public.  For a complete listing of the films and a schedule of events, as well as more information about the festival and sponsors, go to www.bspafilm.org.

The BSFF is presented by the Ballston Spa Business and Professional Association, a non-profit community organization committed to making the Village of Ballston Spa a better place to live and work, and to bringing quality arts and entertainment events for all ages to the community.  Funded in part by the Saratoga Program for Arts Funding (SPAF), part of the Decentralization Program, a regional Program of the NYS Council on the Arts administered by Saratoga Arts.  All proceeds go toward future festivals and other community events presented by the Ballston Spa Business & Professional Association. For more information on events, the 2012 film festival, or sponsorship, go to www.bspafilm.org.

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Seeking Short Films!

April 4, 2012 § 1 Comment

The Ballston Spa International Film Festival (BSFF) is now seeking short film entries for the 5th annual festival presented on August 3rd & 4th, 2012. All genres will be accepted for independent films ranging from 5-15 minutes (or 3-10 minutes for the student division).

Awards will be presented in 11 categories (with separate categories for High School/College students), including prizes in animation, documentary, local interest and narrative. Previous years’ entries have been received from all around the world, the Capital District, and Hollywood by both amateurs and professionals.

Films are judged by a panel of Hollywood professionals. Past judges include the people behind such films as Silence of the Lambs, Manchurian Candidate, Doc Hollywood, Any Given Sunday, True Lies, Rudy, and Star Trek: The Next Generation. Previous winners have gone on to receive many other honors including 2009’s best animated short winner, “French Roast,” by Fabrice Joubert, nominated for a 2009 Academy Award.

Film entries must be submitted on DVD and play in a standard DVD player. DVDs must be mailed in with a completed application and the entry fee ($5 for students, $25 for non-students) by 4/30/12. To download the application or to learn more about the BSFF, go to http://www.bspafilm.org. For exclusive details and updates on the festival as well as other BSFF events, sign up for the email list and “Like” the Facebook page.

The BSFF is presented by the Ballston Spa Business and Professional Association, a non-profit community organization committed to making the Village of Ballston Spa a better place to live and work, and to bringing quality arts and entertainment events for all ages to the community. Funded in part by the Saratoga Program for Arts Funding (SPAF), part of the Decentralization Program, a regional Program of the NYS Council on the Arts administered by Saratoga Arts. All proceeds go toward future festivals and other community events presented by the Ballston Spa Business & Professional Association. For more information on events, the 2012 film festival, or sponsorship, go to http://www.bspafilm.org.

Patti Rothberg Performing at Ballston Spa Film Festival

July 27, 2011 § 1 Comment

As part of the three day long festival, the Ballston Spa (International) Film Festival (BSFF) is pleased to announce the performance of chart topping musician, Patti Rothberg, on Friday, August 5, 2011, 11:00pm at Sunset Cafe in Ballston Spa.

Patti Rothberg exploded onto the music scene with her 1996 debut album, Between the 1 and the 9. The critically acclaimed album was an instant hit with songs that defied traditional genre lines and provided her audience with a unique mix of classic rock, pop, and new wave. Touring with such well-known groups as the Wallflowers, Chris Isaak, Midnight Oil, Garbage, and Black Crowes, Patti also performed on Late Night with David Letterman, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and The Oprah Winfrey Show. Her song, “Inside,” was #25 on the American Billboard, and “Treat Me Like Dirt” went all the way to #1 on the European billboard.

Patti made her way into the film world when a cover of her song, “Kung Fu Fighting” was featured in the 1997 movie, Beverly Hills Ninja, and “Forgive Me” was featured in the 1998 film, The Misadventures of Margaret.

Patti’s latest album, Overnight Sensation (2011), marks the reunion of Patti with her original producer, Dave Greenberg, and was mastered by industry legend, Herb Powers, Jr. (Mary J. Blige, Mariah Carey, Lauryn Hill, Justin Timberlake).

Other BSFF events include free film screenings, fire dancers, Q&A session, panel discussions, live music, award ceremony, and after parties. The featured films include local entries as well as professional and amateur entries from Australia, Russia, Poland, England, Germany, Spain, and India. The short films are judged by a panel of Hollywood professionals with credits that include Silence of the Lambs, Mystic Pizza, Rudy, So I Married An Ax-Murderer, O, Illusion, The Skeptic, Big Brother, Oprah Behind the Scenes, Hell’s Kitchen, Bugs Bunny Superstar, and Dorian Blues. All events are free and open to the public. For more information on the films, talents, events, or sponsorship, go to http://www.bspafilm.com.

Hollywood Comes to Town at the Ballston Spa Film Festival

July 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

HOLLYWOOD COMES TO TOWN…AGAIN

As Bradley Cooper, Ryan Gosling, and Eva Mendes roll into town to shoot their movie, The Place Beyond the Pines, in Schenectady County, we are reminded once again how much Hollywood loves the Capital District.

Many films have been shot throughout the area over the years, including Seabiscuit, Salt, Scent of a Woman, The Other Guys, The Horse Whisperer, The Time Machine, Ironweed, The Age of Innocence, and Taking Woodstock (just to name a few!). And the historic village of Ballston Spa certainly has had its taste of Hollywood as well, with the 1973 Oscar winning movie, The Way We Were, partially filmed downtown and starring Robert Redford and Barbara Streisand. Olympic bobsled coach, Pat Brown, a native of Ballston Spa, was portrayed by John Candy in the 1994 movie, Cool Runnings, about the historic 1988 Olympic Jamaican bobsled team. And since Daniel DeFabio started the Ballston Spa (International) Film Festival (BSFF) four years ago, Hollywood has been taking even more of an interest in the area.

2009’s festival saw its winner of the Best Animated Short, French Roast, by Fabrice Joubert, win several international awards before garnering an Oscar nomination for the Academy Awards. This year’s festival again includes an Oscar nominee. The Gruffalo from Magic Light Pictures, features the voices of Helena Bonham Carter and John Hurt. Aardman Animation (Wallace & Grommet) also shows up this year with 2 new submissions. For the first time, the BSFF will screen a feature film. Mineville, shot in Essex County, NY stars Paul Sorvino, Michael Sorvino, and William Sadler in a period piece about miners fighting for safer work conditions.
This year’s festival features professional, amateur, and student films from around the world (including Mexico, England, Poland, Australia, Argentina, Spain, Russia, India, Germany, New York, and California) and right here in the Capital District. Locally, audiences will see submissions from festival veterans Dan Masucci, high school student Jacob MacAuliffe, Kevin Craig West, and Michael Feurstein among several other local names. Entries are in a variety of genres including animations, documentary, drama, and comedy.

The finalists will be judged by a panel of Hollywood professionals with a list of credits that include Silence of the Lambs, Mystic Pizza, Rudy, So I Married An Ax-Murderer, O, Illusion, The Skeptic, Big Brother, Oprah Behind the Scenes, Hell’s Kitchen, Bugs Bunny Superstar, and Dorian Blues.

The festival runs August 4-6 and is free and open to the public. In addition to the screenings, other festival events include fire dancers, panel discussions, photo booth, after parties, and music by Vesper and Billboard recording artist, Patti Rothberg. Plus, you never know who might just show up….

LIST OF FILMS

Thursday, 8/4/11
8:00pm Ballston Spa High School

By The Score – Mikhail Kanaev
Know Candy – Jon Russell Cring
Extinction II – Fernando Uson
Elephant Room – Silvana Jakich
Mineville – Lori Bailey

Friday, 8/5/11
9:00pm Wiswall Park

The Grufallo – Jakob Schuh, Max Lang
Olivia Explorer – Francesca Sophia
Montgomery – Rob Fried, Chris Common
Laybabb – Mike Feurstein
Frog and Buddha – Ron Taylor
The Astronaut on The Roof – Sergi Portabella
Grasshoppers – Julian Gorski
The Beauty Inside – Kevin Craig West
Woodstock – Kerri Rubino
Phenomenon – Shira Siegel, Max Gaba
Salvacion – Pedro Jaen
Coming Home – Aksel Stasny
Oh Sister – Susan Hippen

Saturday, 8/6/11
1:00pm Ballston Spa High School

Serendipitous – Anna Cardillo
Chicken Feed – Kathleen Carey, Kevin Craig West
Fresas – Jason Otenreath
Mindset – Katie Pyne, Carolyn Tan
The Man with the Spying Glass – Magda Olchawska
Fly – Alan Short
Communication Revolution – Chris Finn
Terrible Parkour – Mike Feurstein
The Trampoline – Dan Masucci
The Tale of the Dog Chew Toy – Jacob MacAullife
Resume – Jack Durnin
The Third Rail – Darian Henry, Michael Mejia
Blind Date – Nigel Davies
Phoenix Tears – Alec Acevedo
Men of Mamoni – Amy Seidman
Ven Dimensional – Alex Burnstein, Matt Nicoletta
El Cortejo – Marina Seresesky
Seeds of Hope – Mohamed Gardne, Imani Peterkin
Beyond Words – Armand De Saint-Salvy

Saturday, 8/6/11
9:00pm Wiswall Park (Includes a few words by the directors)

Mirror Image – Emily Foreman
Tale of the Dog Chew Toy – Jacob MacAullife
Seeds of Hope – Mohamed Gardne, Imani Peterkin
The Man with the Spying Glass (Clip) – Magda Olchawska
Bad Conscience – JP Whitehead, Matt Lingenfelter, Manu Berduc
Chicken Feed – Kathleen Carey, Kevin Craig West
By The Score (Clip)– Mikhail Kanaev
Boom – Manu Berduc, Matt Lingenfelter
Azan a Call to Prayer – Meena Bukhari

The BSFF is put on by the Ballston Spa Business and Professional Association, a non-profit community organization committed to making the Village of Ballston Spa a better place to live and work, and to bringing quality arts and entertainment events for all ages to the community.  Funded in part by the Saratoga Program for Arts Funding and by area businesses, all proceeds go toward future festivals and other community events presented by the Ballston Spa Business & Professional Association. For more information on the films, talents, events, or sponsorship, go to http://www.bspafilm.com.

Ballston Spa Film Festival – A Mini Hollywood Event with Surprise Results Revealed

August 11, 2010 § 2 Comments

SMALL TOWN, BIG HOLLYWOOD APPEAL

The Capital District area in upstate NY has long been a landing spot for Hollywood filmmakers (Salt, Seabiscuit, Scent of a Woman, Taking Woodstock, The Other Guys, The Horse Whisperer, Ironweed, The Time Machine – to name just a few!). And with the added help of the Capital-Saratoga Film Commission, it’s even easier for Hollywood to settle in.  And why not? With an area rich in varied landscapes and stunning historical settings, not to mention numerous resources and local talent, it’s an ideal area for the arts enthusiast.

Ballston Spa, NY may be one of the smaller towns in the area, but the picturesque village is very much on the map when it comes to the film world. The 1973 Oscar winning movie, The Way We Were, starring Barbara Streisand and Robert Redford, was partially filmed right in downtown Ballston Spa.  Olympic bobsled coach, Pat Brown, a native of Ballston Spa, was portrayed by John Candy in the 1994 movie, Cool Runnings, about the historic 1988 Olympic Jamaican bobsled team. And recently, Daniel DeFabio decided to keep up the tradition of film in the area by starting the Ballston Spa Film Festival (BSFF).

What appears as a small town, local event is anything but. In only 3 years, the festival has become a world-wide affair and is already the biggest film festival this side of Lake Placid and the Massachusetts border. With over 30 films in this year’s lineup, participants were treated with talented entries from Spain, Hollywood, Ireland, Turkey, England, Canada, Australia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, New Guinea, Indonesia, the United States, and from right here in the Capital District. Several films are world premieres and feature big name talent including Serguei Kouchnerov (Shrek 2, The Lion King, Madagascar, Bee Movie), Alexa Davalos (Defiance, Clash of the Titans), and Charlie Hofheimer (Numb3rs, Medium, House, Cold Case).

The judges were all Hollywood names, including Daniel Pyne (Doc Hollywood, Any Given Sunday, Manchurian Candidate), Daniel Fried (O, Illusion), Aaron Lipstadt (City Limits, Medium, Law & Order), Julia Gibson (True Lies, RoboCop3, The Abyss), Larry Jackson (Mystic Pizza, Silence of the Lambs), and Nick Sagan (Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Voyager).

Last year’s winner for Best Animated Short, French Roast by Fabrice Joubert, won several international awards before garnering an Oscar nomination for the Academy Awards. Anticipation was high for the entrants in this year’s festival. As Vince Gallagher said, the BSFF is “small town, not small time!”

The festival is open to the public, running the first weekend in August and offers free admission.  All of the films were screened in two locations right in town. Along with various live entertainment (including fire dancers) and food choices (Stewarts Ice Cream Truck was available for all to enjoy, as well as all the wonderful restaurants in the area), other festival highlights included:

•    Hands on Editor’s workshop in Final Cut Pro with producers from YNN
•    Rockin’ after parties at The Brickyard and Brookside Museum with live music from battle of the bands winner Vesper (8/6) and The Broken (8/7)
•    Video art interaction in the Electric Heliotrope Theater (http://www.noirflux.com/)
•    Live broadcast Friday night from Jeff from WEQX’s morning show
•     Live web simulcast at http://escapetheseries.com

Each night in this year’s festival saw an audience of over 400 people.  Returning judges Fried, Pyne, and Lizzi commented that the level of quality in the films shown have increased each year, and was especially high this year. This year was the first year of judging for Larry Jackson – who discovered Julia Roberts, directed Buggs Bunny Superstar, is a former Exec VP for Miramax, and advisor in the creation of the Sundance Institute.  He told the BSFF committee, “I thought you put on a terrific event for the community – and for the filmmakers – where you were well organized and your choice of films was really, really good in quality,  variety, and reach.  Ballston Spa is certainly a place we’d love to see again.”

Dan Masucci, writer/director of this year’s contender, Beneath the Same Sky commented, “What great venues and events and the gift bag was the best I’ve gotten…. I love that you build up quite an audience.  It is one of the better attended festivals I’ve been to. It was an honor to be shown among so many great films.” Charlie Lyons, a doctor of theater and film from Columbia, and former film reporter for Variety and the NY Times, as well as one of the favorites for this year’s best film, also commented on the quality of his competition this year. “I thought Signs was the best film.  It was one of the best short films I’ve ever seen!”

Signs did indeed steal the show – along with three of the top prizes. Winners included:

Best Picture: Patrick Hughes for “Signs” (Australia)
Best Director: Paul Besson “True Beauty This Night” (Hollywood)
Best Animated Film: Holly Klein “Maggie and Mildred” (London)
Best Film College: Caner Apis “Shoes” (Turkey)
Best Film High School: Alex Gilmet “The Drum Set” (Niskayuna)
Best Screenplay: Patrick Hughes and Karl Fleet “Signs” (Australia)
Best New Film: Ed Hartwell “The Day The Robots Woke Up” (London)
Best Comedy: Brian Billow “Bodega” (Chicago)
Best Editing: Jo Scott “Signs” (Australia)
Best Sound: Diego Sanchidrian Rubio “El Rayo y La Sirena” (Spain)
Of Local Interest: Mike Feurstein “Greatest Man Alive” (Schenectady)
Special Achievement Award: Rich Lounello “The Loop” (Albany)

Pyne commented that the performances in Bodega, “were outstanding, and the clear-headed whimsy carried me through. Best last line in the festival!” He also stated that Greatest Man Alive was a “powerful idea, well-rendered,” and Shoes was, “extremely contained and well proportioned. There is an elegant economy to the sequences, and the repetition, and the direction of the little boys is nice and understated.” After such a successful and entertaining event, anticipation is already high for next year’s festival. Details about 2011’s events and submission information will be released soon.

The BSFF is put on by the Ballston Spa Business and Professional Association, a non-profit community organization committed to making the Village of Ballston Spa a better place to live and work, as well as to bringing quality arts and entertainment events for all ages to the community.  Funded in part by the Saratoga Program for Arts Funding, Saratoga Gaming & Raceway Foundation, and by area businesses, all proceeds go toward future festivals and other community events presented by the Ballston Spa Business & Professional Association. For more information on the films & their websites, talents, events, or sponsorship, go to http://bspafilm.com.

Ghost Town

January 10, 2010 § Leave a comment

Had a rough day the other day. After putting in lots of time and energy for over 3 years, we received some rather disappointing news.

So besides throwing myself into the mountain of laundry that had accumulated over the holidays, I decided we needed to force ourselves to stop trying to be productive and to sit down, hopefully have a laugh, and maybe even (dare I say it?)… relax!

I grabbed a movie that I hadn’t heard of before – Ghost Town.  It stars Ricky Gervais, Tea Leoni, and Greg Kinnear.  Best movie I’ve ever seen? No. But it was well-written, well-acted, and very entertaining.  I thought it was going to be just some stupid movie, but it ended up being really well done. And I did get quite a few laughs out of it. (Dog lovers I think will agree with me that the scene with the “puppy” and the gagging was classic!)

If you’re looking for a cute, heart-warming, but not all gushy couple of hours of entertainment, then check out Ghost Town.

It certainly put a positive end to my bad day!

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