The 16th annual Buffalo International Film Festival kicks off on Thursday, Oct. 6 with an extensive lineup of exciting films from Western New York and beyond. Over the course of four days, the non-profit fest will screen over 160 narrative, documentary and experimental films from a diverse array of filmmakers.
“There is so much incredible content – something for every age and taste,” Anna Scime, BIFF’s executive director, said in a press release. “Everybody is invited to Buffalo’s city-wide celebration of cinema – we can’t wait!”
In-person screenings will be held at three Buffalo cultural institutions: the North Park Theater, Hallwalls Contemporary Art Center and Burchfield Penney Arts Center. The festival also offers an online component, giving New York residents access to virtual screenings of many of the festival’s films until Oct. 20. A host of online exclusives – plus a selection of BIFF’s theatrical releases – will be available for online viewing through the festival’s website.
Filmmakers and industry professionals will hold seminars, workshops, and panel discussions throughout the weekend in conjunction with the festival. Rounding out the event is BIFF’s “Offscreen” series, a selection of multimedia art installations and live performances.
Individual tickets will be available to the public for $12 each with all-access passes (which include digital access to screenings and priority seating) starting at $40.
With four days of theatrical events, there’s an abundance of interesting films to choose from. Not sure where to start? Here are some of the festival’s most highly-anticipated premieres:
This sci-fi horror musical directed by Nickson Fong was filmed on location in Buffalo and throughout Western New York. Based on a Japanese legend, the film follows an aspiring DJ who has been experiencing a series of terrifying visions. With help from his biggest fan, he must fight the ancient spirit that has been wreaking havoc on his life.
It premieres at the North Park Theater on Friday, Oct. 7 at 7 p.m. as part of BIFF’s Opening Night Gala.
Another Buffalo-made title, Bunker is a World War I epic with a twist. The thriller follows a group of soldiers trapped in a bunker who are slowly turned against each other by a disturbing, ungodly presence.
Its world premiere is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 8 at 9 p.m. at the North Park Theater.
One of the most critically-acclaimed films of the year will have its Buffalo premiere at BIFF. Directed by award-winning Thai filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul, the drama follows a Scottish expat (Tilda Swinton) living in Bógota, Colombia who is kept awake every night by mysterious, increasingly loud bangs.
It is set to premiere at the North Park Theater on Sunday, Oct. 9 at 1:30 p.m.
BIFF Shorts: Students
Over the course of the weekend, BIFF will present several short film compilations structured around different themes. This presentation of student films features shorts by young filmmakers from Western New York and beyond. The premiere — which includes a Q&A discussion with the featured filmmakers — includes work from UB’s own Jedi Jongoo Kang, Olu Akanbi, and Daniel Mauer.
The screening will be held at the North Park Theater on Sunday, Oct. 9 at 4:15 p.m.
Slash/Back, directed by Canadian filmmaker Nyla Innuksuk, will be presented as BIFF’s “Decolonial Spotlight” film. The coming-of-age sci-fi adventure follows a group of young Inuit girls who must defend their remote Arctic community from bloodthirsty aliens.
It will premiere at the North Park Theater on Monday, Oct. 10 at 9:30 p.m. alongside a Q&A with Innuksuk.
Meret Kelsey is an assistant arts editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Meret Kelsey is an assistant arts editor at The Spectrum.