Lake Placid Film Forum moves to fall

Also adds diversity theme, cuts student speed filmmaking

From left, Adirondack Film Society representatives Fred Balzac, Heather Clark, John Huttlinger and Gary Smith pose at the Palace Theater in Lake Placid during a press conference regarding the annual Lake Placid Film Forum. (Enterprise photo — Griffin Kelly)

LAKE PLACID — The Adirondack Film Society has some changes for this year’s Lake Placid Film Forum.

Since the Film Form began in 2000, it was held during the summer. However, the AFS board thought it would be a good idea to move the forum to the fall. The 2018 LPFF will be held from Oct. 26 to 28, featuring more than 20 films.

Though initially against it, AFS Chair John Huttlinger agreed to the time switch and said, “It’s hard to get people to stay inside and watch movies all day after they’ve been cooped up all winter.”

The day of the press conference happened to have scattered showers and gray skies.

“We’re hoping for a day just like this one,” said AFS Treasurer Gary Smith with a chuckle.

The fall dates also come after other major film festivals such as those in New York, Telluride, Colorado, and Toronto. Members of the AFS will attend these festivals for prospective screenings.

“We’ll be positioned to have a better shot at acquiring some of the best films whose release[s] [are] timed to coincide with these and other leading fall film festivals — and to bring along, as guest presenters, some of the filmmakers who created these works,” AFS Operations Manager Fred Balzac said in a press release.

For the second year in a row, film historian and Turner Classic Movies contributor Jeremy Arnold will represent the AFS at the International Festival of New Latin American Cinema in Havana, Cuba, where he’ll search for prospective movies and make connections with international film makers.

Balzac added that they’d like to have at least one world premiere at the forum this year.

Since its inception in 2000, the LPFF has been a multi-day viewing and celebratory event for films that don’t often premiere in main stream movie theaters. It’s also a chance for audiences and aspiring filmmakers to meet and analyze movies with professionals.

In the past, special guests included acclaimed film makers, novelists and actors such as Martin Scorsese (“Goodfellas”, “The Last Waltz”), Norman Jewison (“Amadeus”) and Melissa Leo (“Frozen River”).

It’s too early to say what particular films, guest speakers and workshops will be at the forum this year, but for the first time it will have a theme — diversity. It’s a rather general focus, but Smith said the society is hoping to explore cultural, economic, religious, racial and gender differences through film and conversations.

Though in past forums the society featured culturally diverse films such as “Esteban” by Cuban director Jonal Cosculluela and the Arabian movie “Theeb,” Huttlinger said “we’ve never had these parameters; it just sort of happened that way.”

The forum will utilize its two regular venues — the Palace Theatre and the Lake Placid Center for the Arts — and now the High Peaks Resort will operate as the forum’s headquarters and include rooms for seminars, workshops, panel discussions and additional screenings.

One staple that will not return this year is Sleepless in Lake Placid, an undergraduate student filmmaking event in which participants have just one night to make a movie. Nevertheless, Huttlinger said, “We do want to continue an element of local films.”

The film society will host a participatory murder mystery show/game at the LPCA Saturday, April 28 as a fundraiser for the forum. Balzac couldn’t divulge any specifics on it yet, like who will conduct the performance, but he said there will be more information in the coming weeks.

Tickets for the LPFF will be available soon at the LPCA. All-session passes are $79, and individual movie tickets are $10.