(CHATHAM, N.Y.) – The five-day FilmColumbia festival – running Wednesday, October 22, 2014 through Sunday, October 26, 2014 – celebrates its 15th anniversary with screenings of internationally award-winning films and film-related activities in both Chatham and Hudson. This year’s festival features an array of prize-winning films and audience favorites from prestigious international film festivals including Cannes, Toronto, New York, Berlin and Sundance.
FilmColumbia is a five-day festival dedicated to showing world-class independent and international films. Produced by the Chatham Film Club, the festival has consistently offered its audiences early looks at films that go on to garner critical approval, major box office success and awards, such as last year’s Dallas Buyer’s Club, The Armstrong Lie, Philomena, August: Osage County and The Book Thief.
Programmed by festival executive director Peter Biskind (author and film historian, contributing editor at Vanity Fair and past executive editor of Premiere Magazine), Senior Curator Emeritus for Film and Media at MoMA Laurence Kardish and festival director Calliope Nicholas, FilmColumbia gives film patrons in the Hudson Valley the inside track on front-runners months before they are released to general audiences.
Major films are shown at the historic Crandell Theatre, a jewel of a 1920s single-screener owned and operated by the Chatham Film Club, which also runs the festival.
Additional venues, the Morris Memorial Community Center in Chatham and Hudson Lodge in Hudson, are centrally located and easily accessible.
Saturday, October 25, 10am at the Tracy Memorial, festival Executive Director and Vanity Fair contributing editor Peter Biskind (author of seven books, most recently My Lunches with Orson: Conversations Between Henry Jaglom and Orson Welles) moderates an industry panel discussion on film criticism. Panelists include Owen Gleiberman, formerly head film critic of Entertainment Weekly for 24 years and currently the film critic for bbc.com; Eric Kohn, chief film critic and senior editor for Indiewire, as well as manager of its Criticwire Network and film criticism teacher at New York University’s Department of Cinema Studies; Wesley Morris, winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for criticism and staff critic at Grantland; and Alison Willmore, film critic for BuzzFeed and co-host of the podcast Filmspotting: SVU. Bagels and coffee are included in the $15 ticket.
Two Screenwriting Panels, hosted by actor Scott Cohen (Kissing Jessica Stein, The Other Woman, Necessary Roughness and NBC’s upcoming Allegiance), joined by NYC and local actors, invite audience members to submit 6 copies of a scene (5-10 pages) from an original script. The actor panel will read through scenes live and discuss on Saturday, October 25, noon at Hudson Lodge, 601 Union St, Hudson. Screenwriter Anastasia Traina (Natural History, From Riverdale to Riverhead) will join the second workshop Sunday, October 26, 10am at the Tracy Memorial, 77 Main Street in Chatham, for in-depth critiques.
On Sunday, October 26, 11am at Hudson Lodge, the FilmColumbia Local Filmmakers Program precedes a panel discussion about the unique joys and challenges of film production in Albany, Columbia County and the surrounding region. Led by Hudson filmmaker David McDonald (Crazy Assed White Boy, playing in the Local Filmmakers Program), panelists include area filmmakers Bhawin Suchak (The Throwaways, playing immediately after the panel discussion), Academy Award nominee Robert Stone (Guerilla: The Taking of Patty Hearst, Pandora’s Promise), writer/director Hanna Sawka (Beyond Iconic: Photographer Dennis Stock, which played in last year’s festival) and former HBO executive Hayes Clement.
For the whole family, the FilmColumbia Children’s International Short Program, sponsored by Hudson River Bank & Trust Company Foundation, screens Saturday 10:30am at the Crandell Theatre. Free admission.
FilmColumbia Celebrates Filmmaking–As for celebrations, Friday night October 24, filmmakers, cast and crew mingle at Chatham’s hippest Welsh pub, the Peint o Gwrw (37 Main St, Chatham) for a Pub Party, starting at 7:30pm. Free, with cash bar and small bites.
In Hudson, Saturday night October 25, after the dark, atmospheric A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, the party walks to 746 Warren Street for the after-party at Crimson Sparrow, with chef John McCarthy’s special cocktail Venator Nocturnus created just for this event, and signature hors d’oeuvres. Free admission; cash bar.
Post-Saturday Night Sneak Peek at the Crandell Theatre, the celebration of this year’s mystery film continues at the Post-Sneak Party, where filmmakers and film lovers meet for drinks and appetizers at the Blue Plate Restaurant (1 Kinderhook St, Chatham), Saturday, October 26 at 10:30 pm. Tickets are $25 per person at the door or in advance at www.filmcolumbia.org
FilmColumbia Celebrates Filmmakers–Festival screenings that include intros and Q&As with filmmakers are:
Algorithms (Thursday, October 23, 12:00pm, Crandell Theatre) follows a chess master and his three young students, all sight-deprived, as they compete in a tournament in India. Filmmakers Ian McDonald and Geetha J will accompany the film.
Low Down (Thursday, October 23, 2:30pm, Crandell Theatre), based on jazz pianist Joe Albany’s real life in 1970’s Hollywood, stars Glenn Close, Peter Dinklage, Elle Fanning and John Hawkes. Editor Michael Saia will accompany the film.
M Cream (Friday, October 24, 12:00pm, Crandell Theatre). Four Millennials from New Delhi hit the road on a treasure hunt for a fabeled stimulant. NYU graduate Director Agneya Singh will present his energetic debut feature and answer questions after the screening.
The Throwaways (Friday, October 24, 7:30pm at the Morris Venue, Chatham and Sunday, October 26, 3:00pm at Hudson Lodge). When Ira McKinley got out of jail in Albany, NY, he couldn’t get a job, so he picked up a movie camera. Presented by co-director Bhawin Suchat.
Soul of a Banquet (Friday, October 24, 6pm, Crandell Theatre and Saturday, October 25, 5:30pm, Hudson Lodge, 601 Union Street). In her famous San Francisco restaurant, The Mandarin, chef Cecilia Chiang introduced America to authentic Chinese cuisine–and the rest is history, provided on camera by Alice Waters and Ruth Reichl. Local resident Reichl will introduce both screenings.
Animation for Grownups (Saturday, October 25, 12:30pm, Morris Venue). Animator Gary Leib (American Splendor) hosts the 10th anniversary of an international array of cutting-edge animation. Animators including Frank & Caroline Mouris will answer audience questions after the screening.
Dogs on the Inside (Saturday, October 25, 2pm, Morris Venue). Orphan dogs give Massachusetts inmates a new lease on life. Co-Director Brean Cunningham will accompany the film.
Sun Belt Express (Saturday, October 25, 5:00pm, Morris Venue). Producer Noah Lang and actor Stephen Lang will accompany the film, followed by a wine and hors d’oeuvres reception.
Blood From a Stoner (Sunday, October 26, 11:00am, Hudson Lodge). Part of the Local Filmmakers Program, director Jeanne Dorsey will accompany her film.
FilmColumbia is a five-day festival dedicated to showing world-class independent and international films. Produced by the Chatham Film Club, the festival has consistently offered its audiences early looks at films that go on to garner critical approval, major box office success and awards, such as last year’s Dallas Buyer’s Club, The Armstrong Lie, Philomena, August: Osage County and The Book Thief. Programmed by festival Executive Director Peter Biskind (author and film historian, contributing editor at Vanity Fair and past Executive Editor of Premiere Magazine), Senior Curator Emeritus for Film and Media at MoMA Laurence Kardish and festival Director Calliope Nicholas (all locals), FilmColumbia gives film patrons in the Hudson Valley the inside track on front-runners months before they are released to general audiences. Films are shown at the historic Crandell Theatre, a jewel of a 1920s single-screener owned and operated by the Chatham Film Club, which also runs the festival. Additional venues include the Morris Memorial Community Center in Chatham and Hudson Lodge in Hudson.