A world of film at the gateway to the world

The 1st Annual St. Lawrence International Film Festival featured 60+ screenings with over 25 features, 5 shorts programs and live performances in four cities in two countries.  With our theme “Beyond Borders” we brought films from all over the world to screen at the festival.  From our Opening Night Gala, a 35th Anniversary Screening of The Blues Brothers with Dan Aykroyd in conversation and performance benefiting the RCMP Foundation, to our Friday Night Block Party filling the streets of Canton, NY, to panels on everything under the movie sun - St. Lawrence International Film Festival has something for everyone.

Opening Gala

THE BLUES BROTHERS 35th Anniversary Screening featuring Dan Aykroyd live in conversation and performance with The Legendary Downchild Blues Band

Benefiting the RCMP Foundation, this gala screening and reception features one of the great American Treasures of cinema, John Landis and Dan Aykroyd’s THE BLUES BROTHERS (USA, 1980). On a mission from God, Jake and Elwood Blues have to put the band back together to play on final show and save the orphanage of their childhood. Featuring an all star cast of musical legends (Cab Calloway, James Brown, John Lee Hooker, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles) and Hollywood superstars (Aykroyd, John Belushi, Carrie Fisher, John Candy, Twiggy, Frank Oz) and members of the original Saturday Night Live Band, Blood Sweat and Tears and Booker T and M.G.’s., The Blues Brothers has reached cult status all over the world.

empire state filmmaker award film



Writer/Director: Joseph Castelo (in attendance)

Co-Writer: Ashley Rudden

Cast: Thomas Mann, Lucy Fry, Sam Page, Bill Sage

Genre: Crime, Drama, Coming-of-Age

Running Time: 97 min

This true story follows a New York private school student who ran a drug trafficking ring to make friends with the popular kids in the early 80s. Toby (Mann), a lower-class scholarship student, find himself in over his head as he delves into the dangerous world of Colombian drug cartels. St. Lawrence International Film Festival is awarding this film and its director the inaugural Empire State Award for Excellence in Filmmaking for either a New York Story or a New York Filmmaker.  Castelo’s first feature, The War Within, was an Independent Spirit Award nominee.

closing night film

FRANK AND CINDY (East Coast Premiere), USA

Writer/Director: G.J. Echternkamp (in attendance)

Cast: Rene Russo, Oliver Platt, Johnny Simmons

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Coming-of-Age

Running Time: 101 min

Based on his documentary about coming home to live with his mother and stepfather, Echternkamp mines his own family’s imperfections for a touching and hilarious story of failure and denial. G.J.’s mother Cindy (Russo), was the ultimate groupie of one-hit wonder 80’s new wave band OXO, and married G.J.’s stepfather Frank (Platt) with dreams of glamor and awards shows.  It didn’t quite work out. 


COMEDY IN THE STREAM: Digital Shorts and the New Media of Laughter

Friday October 23rd at 12:45 pm in the Black Box at SUNY Potsdam

Featuring Drew Droege (known for his online Chloe Sevigny impersonations, Glitter in the Garbage, Not Looking), Adam Nee (Drunk History, Clark Kent Has a Dream) and Sara Fletcher (actress in 50+ web series or one-offs including work with the Fine Brothers, Simple Pick Up, and Secret Girlfriend, which went from cellphone series to web series to Comedy Central)

Comedy consumption has irrevocably changed and ideas now only have a few minutes to stand out in the onslaught of online content.  Hear from pros from either side of the camera about the world of world wide web entertainment.


MAN AND EMPIRE: James Bond as the Face of British Relevancy

Friday October 23rd at 12:45 pm at the American Theater in Canton

Featuring Sean O’Brien, Assistant Professor of Humanities, SUNY-Canton

With the 24th film in the franchise about to see release, James Bond may be the once mighty British Empire’s best international spokesman. Trace the character from its initial inception in the Ian Fleming novels through the all-star roster of actors called on to play him (David Niven, Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Pierce Brosnan, Daniel Craig, etc.). What does the man in 007’s shoes say about the British perception of national power? Would Idris Elba shake not stir things up at MI6?  Is James Bond the remnant of Britain’s stubborn denial of its prominence in the post-imperial world?


MASTER CLASS: Joe Kraemer, Craft and Career

Friday October 23rd at 9:30 am at the Sara M. Snell Music Theater at SUNY Potsdam

Featuring Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation and Jack Reacher composer Joe Kraemer

Hollywood composer Kraemer will show different versions of cues from “Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation” (and “Jack Reacher” time permitting) and discuss the process of writing music from first idea to final recording. Learn about working with or against temp music, writing to style, synths versus live instruments and any question you can come up with to ask.  Don’t miss out on this rare chance to get in depth into the craft of composition.



Saturday October 24th at 1:00 pm in Noble 109 at St. Lawrence University

Meet the team from the New York State Governor’s Office of Motion Picture and Television Development for a roundtable discussion of all things productive re: producing in New York State – tax credits, location scouting, finding stages and crew, and more.  Whether you’re a first time filmmaker wondering where to start or a veteran producer looking to catch up on the latest, this informal face-to-face Q&A is an invaluable opportunity to Meet Team NY and hear firsthand about all the great things New York State has to offer.

Note: there is 10:30 am session for filmmakers with films in the program


POE: A Cultural Outlier Nevermore

Friday October 23rd at 2:30 pm at the American Theater in Canton

Featuring Bruce Weiner, Professor of English Emeritus, Nathan Jacob, writer/director of Killing Poe, and Marcus Ovnell, writer/director of The Break-In

The first maestro of the macabre, Edgar Allan Poe’s writing laid the ground work for our modern conception of Noir, Thriller, SciFi, and Horror. Though he never achieved the critical acclaim his work deserved in his own lifetime, his influence has undeniably shaped the last hundred and fifty years of popular fiction, including innumerable films. Dive into the dark with one of the foremost authorities on Poe and two festival filmmakers creating in the shadow of the master.


SUBMISSION: Filmmakers and the Festival Circuit

Friday October 23rd at 11:00 am at the American Theater in Canton

Featuring Wild and Scenic Film Festival Director Melinda Booth, Seattle International Film Festival Programmer and Catalyst Director Brad Wilke, Canadian Film Institute Programmer Jerrett Zaroski, and moderated by St. Lawrence International Film Festival and Other Worlds Austin Director of Programming Bears Fonté

Thousands of Film Festivals, Tens of Thousands of Films, how can filmmakers best prepare their work to impress film festival programmers?  What are festivals looking for? What are not looking for? Learn how filmmakers can maximize their film’s potential, how to keep submission fees under budget, and what to do when the film is selected.


SYNC: Music in Film and Film Music

Friday October 23rd at 11:00 am at the Sara M. Snell Music Theater at SUNY Potsdam

Music supports the visual story in a way no one can underestimate.  How do composers decide the pallet to build their themes on? What moments need music? If going after prerecorded music, how do you select it? How do you track down the rights and negotiate for it? How do score and source music work together?



THE GIRL KING (Northeast Premiere),  Finland/Sweden/Germany/Canada

Writer: Michel Marc Bouchard

Director: Mika Kaurismäki

Section: Narrative Feature Competition

A beautifully shot period costume drama, this Finnish-Swedish-German-Canadian co-production presents a fresh cinematic portrait of Kristina of Sweden, crowned queen at the age of six in 1633 and who sought to make Stockholm the Athens of the North. Kristina’s reign becomes troubled when the nobles turn against her, her ‘modern’ ideas and her intimate relationship with her female lady in waiting and ‘bed-fellow.’ Canadian screenwriter and playwright Michel Marc Bouchard (Tom at the Farm) makes his English language debut.


KILLING POE (World Premiere), USA

Writer/Director: Nathan Jacobs (in attendance)

Co-Writer: Chris L. Firestone

Section: Narrative Feature Competition

Five college students find themselves failing the most infuriating class ever, and vow to take their revenge on the teacher, inspired by the plots of the Poe stores they have studyied in his class. A comedy with a macabre edge, this ‘simple plan’ that spirals out of control features an ensemble of up and coming actors including Matt Bush, Osric Chau, Julianna Guill, Cyrina Fiallo, and Sunkrish Bala that capture the face of the modern college experience.


SUCKER (North American Premiere), Australia

Writer/Director: Ben Chessell (in attendance)

Co-Writer: Lawrence Leung

Section: Narrative Feature Competition

Chinese-Australian Lawrence disappoints his family by cheating on his math exams, and failing to get into medical school. Banished to Melbourne for the summer, he falls in with a new family, a father-daughter con team, and they plot to swindle their way through the top poker game in town.  The film stars Timothy Spall (Harry Potter series, Sweeney Todd) and was co-written by Comedian Lawrence Leung from his own life and one man show.

THE VIOLATORS (North American Premiere), UK

Writer/Director: Helen Walsh (in attendance)

Section: Narrative Feature Competition

This gritty debut from acclaimed novelist Helen Walsh set amongst the industrial wasteland housing estates of northwest England follows two teen girls from radically different backgrounds who strike up a strange friendship, one based on jealousy, cynicism and deceit. They face the harsh world of adults together, but their struggle will leave one of them shattered, and the other re-born.


AUDITION (East Coast Premiere) USA

Director: Matt Herron (in attendance)

Two Roles, 100 hundred actors. Over several grueling days, a romance plays out as 100 actors audition for the chance to be MAN or WOMAN, all but two gradually eliminated based on the strength of their performances. As they advance toward a terrifying final scene, the audience witnesses both the behind scenes of the audition process, as well as a polished edit of the film using a combination of the best performances.


THE BOLIVIAN CASE (US Premiere) Bolivia/USA/Australia/Colombia

Director: Violeta Ayala 

Section: Documentary Feature Competition

Three Norwegian teenage girls end up in Bolivian prison after trying to smuggle 22 kg of cocaine out of the country.  Playing out like an international episode of Law & Order, the film follows the girls, some of whom successfully escape the country, and the fallout back in Norway where the case makes daily headlines. Violeta Ayala’s controversial documentary STOLEN premiered at TIFF in 2009.

THE SEX TEMPLE (North American Premiere), Sweden

Director: Johan Palmgren (in attendance)

Section: Documentary Feature Competition

With a centuries old theater falling on hard times, and a swingers club burning to the ground, two liberal-minded businessmen make an unlikely partnership. But with the sex club moving into the theater basement, and the theater staging Moulin-Rouge-style LGBT Burlesque shows, the middle-class minded town of Norrkoping, Sweden turns against them and their ‘depravity.’

TREE MAN (US Premiere), USA

Directors: Jon Reiner, Brad Rothschild (in attendance)

Section: Documentary Feature Competition

Every winter, Francois leaves his wife and three children in Canada to sell Christmas trees on Manhattan’s Upper West Side and live in his van parked on the street.  A New Yorker for five weeks a year, and a part of many families’ holiday traditions, Francois takes us through the economics, loneliness, and freezing temperatures of life as an itinerant Tree Man. 

AUDITION (East Coast Premiere)

(East Coast Premiere) USA
Director: Matt Herron (in attendance)

Two Roles, 100 hundred actors. Over several grueling days, a romance plays out as 100 actors audition for the chance to be MAN or WOMAN, all but two gradually eliminated based on the strength of their performances. As they advance toward a terrifying final scene, the audience witnesses both the behind scenes of the audition process, as well as a polished edit of the film using a combination of the best performances. 


documentary shorts

narrative shorts


The Sun Is Heavy

(12 minutes, USA)
Directors: Jared Jakins, Carly Jakins
What does the American Dream look like? These three working families hope to find out.  

See Me Now

(13 minutes, UK)
Director: Glen MacKay
Models and designers of color showcase the beauty of dark skin and challenge an industry that constantly suggests otherwise.

Finding Beauty in the Rubble

(5 minutes, Japan)
Director: Matthew T. Burns
The 2011 tsunami hasn’t stopped a Japanese woman from continuing her hobby of turning beach debris into jewelry.

The Art House

(9 minutes, USA)
Director: Laura P. Valtorta
Ginger, a retired school teacher, uses her entire house as a canvas for her painting and sculpture.

A Conscious Dream

(20 minutes, Italy/Argentina)
Directors: Federico Telerman, Nicolas Uboldi
Every year a group of photographers travels across South America, using their medium to explore culture and contemporary society.

The Rat Slayer of Hillside NJ

(18 minutes, USA)
Director: Andrew Keogh Ruotolo
A true crime story about a bizarre 1994 murder case. The victim? A rat.


(16 minutes, USA)
Writer/Director: Michael Molina Minard
A journeyman boxer raised to fight and win kills an opponent in the ring. Now he must confront his greatest enemy - himself.


(10 minutes, USA)
Writer/Director: George Zaverdas
While out to dinner, a family struggles with a deep, dark secret.          

Plus One Cut One

(5 minutes, USA)
Writer/Director: Kyle Trainor
Co-Writer: Chris Demaras
Nick and Jim have met the woman of their dreams. Now if they could only catch her name…

The Girl in the Green Dress

(15 minutes, USA)
Director: Johanna Golstein
Writers: Sara Fletcher, Leah McKendrick
The lines between reality and fantasy blur when a shy housewife joins the neighborhood book club.

Dig to China

(9 minutes, Canada)
Writer/Director: Robert Tinkler
Co-Writer: Amanda Joy Lim
With their mother away at work, two Chinese Canadian girls decide to find their own way to China with some help from their grandfather.  

The Time Traveler

(15 minutes, Canada)
Writer/Director: RT!
Co-Writer: Huse Madhavji
Basil, an amnesiac, is forced to confront his dark past when an old acquaintance re-enters the picture. 


(21 minutes, Israel)
Writer/Director: Asaf Epstein    
A boy wins the heart of the girl he adores with a little help from extraterrestrials and fried food.

I, the WORST of ALL    

(24 minutes, USA)
Writer/Director: Francisco Lupini Basagoiti
A woman decides that today is the day she’ll finally break up with her loser of a boyfriend. 


(8 minutes, USA)
Writer/Directors: Spencer Allred, Benjamin Allred
While on a nightly walk with only a flashlight to see, a man searches for his dog through a maze of reeds and soon realizes he is not alone.

Liberty Teeth    

(11 minutes, USA)
Directors: Jim Powers, Steve Powers
Writer: Jim Powers
Rick gets deeper in trouble when an old friend stumbles onto his already compromised drug deal.


(12 minutes, USA)
Writer/Director: Greg Ivan Smith
High school dynamics never change – even when the students turn into zombies.    


(14 minutes, France)
Writer/Director: Paul Menville
Why is it that wherever Victor goes, he always seems to leave behind a trail of dead women’s bodies?


(20 minutes, USA)
Writer/Director: Teddy Cecil
One worker sparks an uprising when he attempts to break free of his dystopian underworld.  



student shorts

This quick program of four student shorts compiles together the winners of The St. Lawrence International Film Festival Associated College Film Competition.  Students ofSUNY Canton, St Lawrence University, SUNY Potsdam and Clarkson University were encouraged to submit their work, up to five minutes in length and compete to represent their college at the festival.  


(3 minutes, USA)
Writer/Director: Odiri Igbayo
College: SUNY Canton
A music video for Smalls (Sean Khannery) finds the artists wandering through the forest of life searching for love and the unobtainable.  Igbayo is a graphic and multimedia design major. 


(5 minutes, USA)
Writer/Director: James Corbett
College: St. Lawrence University
In this surreal horror comedy, a man living in a surreal dream world deals with the terrifying things that reside there. Corbett is a psychology and film studies major.


(7 minutes, USA)
Writer/Director: Elissa Murphy
College: SUNY Potsdam
Documenting one second of every day in the director’s 20th year. Murphy is a music performance major at Crane School of Music, so plenty sheet music and performances, punctuated by cats, capture one year of growth.


(2 minutes, USA/Singapore)
Writer/Director: Sharlene Lee
College:  Clarkson University
Examining the intricacies of humans separated geographically, specifically the isolation endured by the people left behind and the people leaving, the film asks how we can form a bond or connection with someone while having a wide cultural, language and lifestyle difference?


BAND OF ROBBERS (Ontario Premiere), USA

Writer/Directors: Aaron and Adam Nee (both in attendance)

Section: Marquee Screenings

In a reimagining of the classic Mark Twain novels, Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn are adults in the modern world, still searching for Injun Joe’s hidden treasure.  With Kyle Gallner (Smallville, Veronica Mars) and Adam Nee (Drunk History) as Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer, also starring Hannibal Buress, Johnny Pemberton, Stephen Lang, and Creed Bratton.


With live score from the Andrew Alden Ensemble (Canadian Premiere)

Section: Marquee Screenings

The original special effects dinosaur film from 1925, based on the Arthur Conan Doyle novel, returns to the big screen with a new live score composed by Andrew Alden for his contemporary and electronic chamber music group from Rochester, NY. Their music combines the influence of Steve Reich, Philip Glass, David Lang, Radiohead, Velvet Underground and Krzysvtof Penderecki to create beautiful and haunting landscapes.  This will be the Andrew Alden Ensemble’s first performance in Canada.


USA/UK, 1939/1973

Director: Victor Fleming

Writer: Noel Langley, Florence Ryerson, Edgar Allan Woolf, based on the novel by L.Frank Baum

Cast: Judy Garland, Frank Morgan, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr

Music: Pink Floyd

Genre: Fantasy, Musical

Running Time: 102 min

Dorothy and Toto trek the yellow brick road, sound-tracked by Pink Floyd, in this urban legend experience. Experience a perfectly synced picture and sound like never before in a St. Lawrence International Film Festival exclusive edit, and follow along on a cheat sheet of moments to look out for. Is it intentional or completely fabricated? Let your eyes and ears make that decision.


USA 1984

Writer/Director: Wes Craven

Cast: Johnny Depp, Robert Englund, Heather Langenkamp, John Saxon

Genre: Horror

Running Time: 91 min

For the first time ever, and in honor of the late horror master, Wes Craven's 1984 masterpiece Nightmare on Elm Street will be screened on Elm Street in Potsdam,NY, legendarily (and perhaps spuriously) the inspiration of the film from Craven's time as a professor at (then) Clarkson College of Technology. Craven's first dabbling in film came in 1968 with Pandora Experimentia, a 45 minute short that mocked action-thriller movie trends (much like Scream mocked Horror trends years later) made with sixty or so students from the Clarkson Drama Club and SUNY Potsdam as cast and crew. In attendance will be Brian Hauser, Assistant Professor of Film at Clarkson University.

FOR THE LOVE OF THE MAMBO (East Coast Premiere), USA

Followed by a live performance featuring Mambo Legends Orchestra leaders John 'Dandy' Rodriguez, Mitch Frohman and Jose Madera, each who spent over 25 years working with Tito Puente

Directors: Marsha Baxter and Doyle Dean (in attendance)

Section: Marquee Screenings

The Mambo Legends Orchestra, filled with musicians who night after night shared the bandstand with the late great Tito Puente, pass this intricate rhythm on to the next generation of musicians.  Working with Latin Ensemble from SUNY Potsdam’s own Crane School of Music, these music luminaries share the history and aesthetics of this treasured art form derived from Cuba that literally translates as “conversation with the gods.”

DARKNESS ON THE EDGE OF TOWN (Canadian Premiere), Ireland

Writer/Director: Patrick Ryan (in attendance)

Section: Marquee Screenings

In this contemporary western set in the Irish countryside, Cleo, a troubled teen who also happens to be a hell of a shot, seeks to avenge the death of her sister.  Unbeknownst to her, her best and only friend Robin is the murderer she has sworn to kill.  Patrick Ryan, and producer/cinematographer Tommy Fitzgerald will be in attendance, as well as both female leads, Emma Eliza Regan and Emma Willis.


(North American Premiere, Sweden/Croatia/Bosnia and Herzegovina/UK)

Directors: Georgia and Sophie Scott

Genre: Documentary, Political

Running Time: 81 min

Four teens struggle to survive a war that ended nearly twenty years ago. Like thousands of other children born at the end of the war in Bosnia, they have grown up in orphanages or live with parents suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. In the Shadow of War follows them as they grapple with turning 18 - coming to terms with how they were conceived, healing mental and physical scars and attempting to rebuild broken relationships. The physical conflict is over - but its psychological impact continues. Can they break the cycle of violence?


(East Coast Premiere), Canada

Director: Justin Turcotte

Genre: Documentary, Inspirational

Running Time: 83 min

An amateur Dog Dancing Troupe (yes, that's a thing) plans a gala full-length theatrical live performance. The performers (and their dogs) face challenges along the way but overcome them in this uplifting story about love between man and dog and our innate desire to perform. The group spends over two years realizing their first time director's vision as they write scripts, build sets, raise funds and rehearse to the point of exhaustion. As tension mounts and hurdles pile on, the resolve of these spirited women and their dogs is constantly tested.



Dark borders

The Dark Borders section delves into the shadowy side of filmmaking, seeking to bring the best in Horror, SciFi and Thriller to the festival.


(East Coast Premiere), Canada

Writer/Director: Nick Szostakiwskyj

Cast: Michael Dickson (in attendance), Shane Twerdun, Carl Toftfelt, Timothy Lyle

Genre: Horror, Drama

Running Time: 99 min

At a remote weather monitoring station in the Arctic Circle of Canada, a team of scientists uncovers a strange stone structure with archaic writing and symbols thousands of miles north from where it should logical be. As they investigate, inexplicable things happen around the camp. Cut off from the rest of the world by a communications glitch, the team fall victim to paranoia and violence.

Screens: Friday October 23rd at 9:30 pm and Saturday October 24th at 4:00 pm at the American Theater in Canton


THE CIRCLE (Cirkeln)

(North America Premiere), Sweden

Writer/Director: Levan Akin (in attendance)

Cast: Josefin Asplund, Helena Engström, Miranda Frydman, Irma con Platen

Genre: Horror, Fantasy, Coming-of-Age

Running Time: 144 min

An otherworldly force brings together six girls from the same small town high school who must master their own elemental powers to defeat an evil that threatens the whole world.  The first film based off the best-selling Swedish young adult novel franchise, The Circle conjures up images of The Craft and Twilight, with the sensibilities and bleakness of Let the Right One In.

Screens: Saturday October 24th at 7:00 pm and Sunday, October 25th at 11:00 am at the American Theater in Canton




(East Coast Premiere), Spain

Writer/Director: Hèctor Hernández Vicens (in attendance)

Co-Writer: Isaac P. Creus

Cast: Albert Carbó, Alba Ribas, Bernat Saumell, Christian Valencia

Genre: Thriller

Running Time: 76 min

Crashing their friend’s shift at the morgue the night the famous (and beautiful) actress Anna Fritz dies, two young men realize they have the ‘non-argumentative’ glamour star all to themselves. When their host admits this is not his first time taking advantage of a captive cutie, they decide to take turns with her body. Only she’s not quite dead, only suffering from paralysis.  Relying on her skills as an actress, she quickly turns the three boys against each other and attempts escape.

Screens: Friday October 23rd at 10:00 pm and Saturday October 24th at 1:45 pm at the American Theater in Canton

Screening with The Corpse of Anna Fritz:


(4 minutes, USA)
Directors: Rod Blackhurst, Bryce McGuire
Writer: Bryce McGuire
Maybe that late night dip in the pool wasn’t such a good idea after all…


(North American Premiere), Italy

Writer/Director: Lorenzo Sportiello (in attendance)

Cast: Simon Merrells, Ana Ularu, Antonia Liskova, Velislav Pavlov

Genre: SciFi, Post-Apocalyptic

Running Time: 90 min

The year is 2035 and the United States of Europe has decided not all human life is sustainable.  A man and woman negotiate the ruins of civilization to find somewhere worth raising their baby on the way.  To gain entrance into the walled city, they must prove to the gatekeepers that they are healthy and sustainable, in other words, profitable and worth having inside. A great example of the international nature of film, this is an Italian production shot completely in English. 

film frontiere

The Film Frontieré section brings together films from all over the world, in languages other than English, with a special emphasis on films that push boundaries of genre and content.


(New York Premiere), Sweden

Writer/Director: Marcus Ovnell (in attendance)

Cast: Jenny Lampa (in attendance), Lukas Loughran, Richard Ulfsäter

Genre: Drama, Thriller

Running Time: 83 min

A married couple on the verge of falling apart finds a reason to work together when someone breaks into their house and they accidentally kill him.  Only, like every relationship, the situation is way more complicated than that, as each of them is intimately connected to the dead body they’ve hidden in a chest in the garage. A slow burn drama with nuanced performances and maddening tense.

Screens: Friday October 23rd at 9:15 pm and Saturday October 24th at 4:30 pm at the American Theater in Canton



(East Coast Premiere), Germany

Writer/Director: Florian Gottschick (in attendance)

Co-Writer: Carsten Happe

Cast: Anna Grisebach, Benno Fürmann, Vladimir Burlakov, Kai Ivo Baulitz

Genre: Drama, Mystery

Running Time: 86 min

A drama with a supernatural edge, this genre-crossing gem finds two couples visiting a home from their past, and sexual tension that brings out the worst in each other. Long-buried grudges resurface and it seems unlikely the couples will return intact. Faced with an outcome that will upset their delicate balance of happiness, the world offers them a bizarre opportunity to correct it.

Screens: Friday October 23rd at 3:00 pm and Saturday October 24th at 7:00 pm at the American Theater in Canton


(New York Premiere), USA/Czech Republic/Slovakia

Writer/Director: Gary Griffin (in attendance)

Co-Writer: Arnost Lustig

Cast: Filip Cíl, Filip Tomsa, David Novotný, Pavel Richta, Igor Bares

Genre: Coming-of-Age, Political, Historical

Running Time: 90 min

Three teenage boys crossing borders to exchange records over the iron curtain and find themselves on the front line of the ‘Velvet Revolution’ of 1989. An artist, a hockey player and a music trader survive the last gasps of Communism in Praha. Based on true stories, this true ‘Beyond Borders’ selection was made by a US director after a career of work in Eastern Europe.

Screens: Friday October 23rd at 3:30 pm and Saturday October 24th at 4:30 pm at the American Theater in Canton


(East Coast Premiere), Israel

Writer/Director: Tali Shalom-Ezer (in attendance)

Cast: Ori Pfeffer, Shira Haas, Keren Mor, Adar Zohar-Hanetz

Genre: Drama, Coming-of-Age

Running Time: 92 min

In this disturbing breakout from Sundance, 12-year-old Adar engages in dangerous role-play with her stepfather, until she meets Alan, a boy from the streets who strangely resembles her.  When she brings him into their family, her dark journey from childhood to adolescence reaches its breaking point. Sometimes the fantasy is just as disquieting as reality.

Screens: Saturday October 24th at 9:30 pm and Sunday, October 25th at 4:30 pm at the American Theater in Canton


The Write/Rec section focuses on great stories told without the benefit of huge budgets, films that went from great script to fully-realized film outside of the studio system, rough edges and all.


(East Coast Premiere), USA

Director: Patrick Biesemans (in attendance)

Writers: Kate Murdoch & Casey Nelson (both in attendance)

Cast: Kate Murdoch, Casey Nelson, Jeff Grace, Charles Hoyes

Genre: Drama, Family, Adventure

Running Time: 99 min

Two estranged siblings find they must work together to unlock the secrets of their father’s will, the final act of an eccentric man who raised his children on treasure hunts. A heartfelt, family adventure story filmed on Fisher’s Island NY, writers Murdoch and Nelson star as Lucy and Oliver who have to put years of differences aside to get their inheritance.

Screens: Friday October 23rd at 4:00 pm and Saturday October 24th at 11:00 am at the American Theater in Canton


(New York Premiere), USA

Director: Mike Scholtz

Genre: Documentary, Historical

Running Time: 70 min

In this not-quite-ready-for-the-History-Channel film, a documentarian interviews locals in Minnesota desperate to prove the Vikings made it all the way to the land of 10,000 lakes in their original conquest of the Americas. Armed with runestones and swords of spurious origin, these believers connect their heritage with history, whether or not the facts line up. Producer and Cinematographer Michael Pickering will be in attendance.  Bring your horned helmets!

Screens: Friday October 23rd at 5:30 pm and Saturday October 24th at 2:00 pm at the American Theater in Canton


(East Coast Premiere), USA

Writer/Director: Gary Gardner (in attendance)

Cast: Kip Pardue, Jordan Lane Price, Annabelle Dexter-Jones

Genre: Thriller, Drama

Running Time: 75 min

Joe, in a Good Samaritan moment, comes to the ‘rescue’ of two (very young) girls who have had an ID confiscated by a bouncer.  When Brittany and Allyson come home with him, he must be pretty sure he’s getting laid – but things like that don’t really work out for a guy like Joe. Fantasy turns frustration as the girls play with their new toy, from titillation to torture. As the night wears on, they seem to challenge each other on how far they can push Joe, revealing his deepest secrets and insecurities and unraveling his life.

Screens: Saturday October 24th at 10:00 pm and Sunday, October 25th at 11:45 am at the American Theater in Canton


(East Coast Premiere), USA

Writer/Directors: Wayne Mitchell (in attendance) & Eduardo Maytorena

Cast: Jesse Celedon (in attendance), Montana Gillis, Chase Austin,

Genre: Drama, Action, Crime

Running Time: 95 min

A lonely limousine driver’s isolated existence is interrupted after he comes to the aid of his female passenger. Victor saves Raquel’s prom night when her rich-boy boyfriend Preston takes their celebrations a little too far in the limo back seat. Striking up an odd friendship, the Victor tries give her some good memories of the evening, but Preston is not about to let this low-class driver get the best of him.

Screens: Saturday October 24th at 6:45 pm and Sunday, October 25th at 11:15 am at the American Theater in Canto

webstories: The best of streaming series

Some of the best serial stories aren’t even on television anymore, they are streaming on Netflix and Amazon and all over the web.  These seven selections offer a great sampling of the diversity speeding along the information superhighway.

Not Looking

(11 minutes, USA)      

Director: Jason Looney        

Writers: Jason Looney, Drew Droege, Jeremy Shane, Justin Martindale

This spoof of HBO’s Looking follows four “twentysomething” gay men trying to find love.  Unfortunately the dating scene’s pretty tough, especially in Los Angeles.


(10 minutes, Canada)

Director: Tate Young

Writer: Jim Munroe

Ten years from now, videogames are so immersive that teenagers learn lethal skills just by playing. They’re called hapheads.  This neo-noir follows Maxine, a worker in the factory that makes the games, who gradually discovers the dark side of the company she works for.

Nasty Habits

(16 minutes, USA)

Director: Christina de Leon

Writers: Christina de Leon, Katie Lee Harper

This collection of two-character vignettes focuses on the dramas and conversations that emerge from sharing a cigarette, having a coffee, and other addictive bonds.

Whatever, Linda.

(12 minutes, Canada)

Director: Matt Eastman

Writer: Hannah Cheesman, Julian De Zotti

It's 1978 and Linda Thoroughbred is broke, divorced, and pushing 30. But life can’t keep a good girl down - she ends up using her new lowly office job to challenge Wall Street in this Ponzi scheme dramedy.

Those Damn Canadians

(9 minutes, USA)

Directors: Sara Botsford, Christopher Brown

Writer: Sara Botsford          

A small town Canadian talent agent drags her best client, Dirk, to Hollywood to make him a star! He's gay and over 40, but how hard could it be?

Pete Winning & the Pirates

(16 minutes, Canada)

Directors: Mike Donis, Jason Leaver, Navin Ramaswaran

Writers: James Christopher, Mike Donis   

Pete Winning and his crew navigate a global-warming flooded Canada in the year 2035 in this tongue-in-cheek web series styled after classic Errol Flynn swashbuckler tales.  

Frankenstein, MD

(13 minutes, USA)

Director: Brett Register

Writers: Brett Register, Lon Harris, Bernie Su

Adapted from the classic novel, this Gothic horror comedy follows Victoria Frankenstein, a modern-day med student determined to prove herself in the male-dominated fields of science and medicine.  Assisted by her colleague, Iggy, she hosts a web series and soon gets more than she bargained for with the projects she broadcasts.                       



Daring. Edgy. Stylistically freewheeling. This is animation like you’ve never seen before! This special cross-border program of animated shorts features works by Canadian and American animators working the St. Lawrence region. Award-winning works by Canadians Theodore Ushev, Chris Dainty, and Steven Woloshen will be presented, as well as recent works by celebrated American independent animators Steven Subotnik, Leah Shore, and Conner Griffith. Several animators will be present at the screening. Curated and presented in collaboration with the Canadian Film Institute’s Ottawa International Animation Festival.