For the first time in its storied 18-year history, the Adirondack region’s premier film-related event will be held in the fall—Oct. 26-28, 2018—but that’s not all, Folks, that’s new about the Film Forum & ADK Film Society!
LAKE PLACID, NY—Goodbye black-fly season, hello to the cool, crisp climate of the Adirondacks in late fall: the Lake Placid Film Forum (LPFF) is moving to October.
For the first time in its 18-year history of screening the best in independent films, documentaries, foreign-language titles, shorts, silent movies and talking classics, the Adirondack’s premier film-related event will not be held in early June but rather in late October—Friday through Sunday, October 26-28, to be exact.
Although the switch from early June to late October may be the biggest change affecting the Lake Placid Film Forum in recent years, it’s not the only impending or recent innovation involving the event or its parent organization, the Adirondack Film Society (AFS), the 501c3 not-for-profit founded in 1999, which has been presenting the LPFF since the event’s inception in 2000. Among the other significant news, the AFS is pleased to announce:
- For the first time in the Film Forum’s history, the selection of an overall theme for the festival—in this instance, one centered on diversity;
- The naming by the AFS Board of Directors of a Festival Director—Gary Smith, who also serves as Treasurer of the AFS Board—another first for the Film Forum, along with the instituting of an AFS/LPFF Advisory Board comprised of professional filmmakers, other film-industry pros, and residents of the Adirondacks or individuals with a connection to the region, each of whom will bring an invaluable expertise to the periodic consultations the AFS and LPFF organizers plan to have with them;
- In addition to the two main program venues of the historic Palace Theatre in the heart of downtown Lake Placid and the Lake Placid Center for the Arts (LPCA), the selection of High Peaks Resort as the 2018 Film Forum Headquarters, with facilities and services that will include rooms for seminars, workshops, and panel discussions as well as any additional screenings—plus a filmmakers’ lounge;
- The awarding of a grant from the prestigious Cloudsplitter Foundation for the 2018 Film Forum, with the opportunity for ongoing support on an annual basis from the Foundation;
- A growing number of organizational partners and business sponsors, including (but not limited to) Essex County, the Town of North Elba, the Village of Lake Placid, the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism (ROOST, a.k.a. the Lake Placid/Essex County Visitors Bureau), the LPCA, the Palace, High Peaks Resort, Hotel North Woods, Stewart’s Shops, Desperados Mexi-Quinn Restaurant, Adirondack Audit, The Book & Blanket Bed & Breakfast, North Country Public Radio (NCPR), Lake Placid News, Adirondack Daily Enterprise/Weekender, WSLP, John Brown Lives!, the Adirondack Diversity Initiative, and the Adirondack Center for Writing;
- AFS sponsorship and funding support provided to film historian and Turner Classic Movies contributor—and recent LPFF presenter—Jeremy Arnold, author of “The Essentials: 52 Must-See Movies and Why They Matter”—for the second consecutive year (2017) to attend the International Festival of Latin American Cinema in Havana, Cuba in December; and to Heather Clark, General Manager of the Palace Theatre in Lake Placid and Member-at-Large of the AFS Board to attend the Art House Convergence Conference in Midway, Utah, held this past January days before the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, held approximately 20 miles away in Park City;
- A special, fun and brand-new fundraising event—“Old Hollywood Mud Season Murder Mystery:” A Participatory Whodunit,” featuring a top-notch company of actors, taking place Thursday evening, May 3, at 7 pm at LPCA—please visit bit.ly/afsmurdermystery to reserve your spot in the investigation or go to the home page of this website for more info;
- The launching of a resource guide to local/regional businesses and services for filmmakers, videographers, and media production companies interested in filming in Essex County and neighboring areas—a project of the Adirondack Film Commission, under the aegis of the AFS.
Taken together, these plans, activities and achievements are evidence of a “dynamic” organization, says John B. Huttlinger, Jr., Chair of the AFS Board. “In addition to our major announcement regarding the date change, we are pleased to be reporting these other items impacting both Film Forum programming and AFS organizational development and fundraising,” he said. “The upshot of all these announcements is the Film Society is a dynamic, growing organization, and everyone on our board and staff are excited about the direction we and the Lake Placid Film Forum are moving in.”
October Means Enhanced Choices for Films
While the switch to late fall offers several advantages over early June, the primary reason for the move is the prospect of enhanced film selections. Fall is prime-time for film festivals, and the late-October timing will give the Film Forum’s programmers a better prospect at obtaining some of the hotter independent film titles being made available to one or more of the leading film festivals taking place in the fall, emphasized Mr. Huttlinger.
“Our October dates this year will be within two months of such top events as the Telluride Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival and New York Film Festival, all of which take place in, or at least run into, the first part of September,” he said. “We’ll be positioned to have a better shot at acquiring some of the best films whose release is 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.”
The LPFF organizers also see the switch as an opportunity for enlarging and widening its audience. “Early June can be a nice time of year in Lake Placid—so much so that people in town are turning their attention to outdoor activities. In recent years, we’ve seen our beautiful fall weather, including foliage, extend later and later into October; but it’s also a time when visitors and residents alike are looking more toward cultural events and activities that take place indoors. We think attending one or more of our screenings and other film-related programs such as master classes will be just about the best thing anyone can do that weekend,” said Festival Director Smith. Both he and Chair Huttlinger credit the rest of the AFS Board—Vice Chair Nelson Page and Members-at-Large Heather Clark, Nick Gunn, Tom Hanrahan, and Amy Fisher Quinn, as well as key staffers such as Artistic Director Kathleen Carroll and Operations Manager Fred Balzac—for playing key roles in the Film Forum’s recent growth and enhanced quality.
Since its inception, the Lake Placid Film Forum has been the one multi-day event in the region where resident and visitor movie buffs can count on seeing films they’re not likely to encounter at the local multiplex—and meet filmmakers in an up-close-and-personal setting. And the Adirondack Film Society—through its expert programmers and guest film industry presenters, both at the LPFF and its other programs—doesn’t just screen films: it curates, analyzes, and seeks to help educate audience members about the films it presents. With its late-October timing during a still-amazing time of year in Lake Placid specifically and the Adirondacks in general, the 2018 Lake Placid Film Forum promises to the ideal setting for just such a film-going experience.
The event is also a celebration of filmmakers and filmmaking—often a brave, independent kind—and of watching movies in a public setting as part of a larger audience and not alone on a TV screen or some digital device. Venues for the Film Forum include the Lake Placid Center for the Arts (LPCA), 17 Algonquin Drive (off NYS Route 86/Saranac Ave. near Desperados “Mexi-Quinn” Restaurant and the Quality Inn) and the historic Palace Theatre on Main Street.
For more information on this year’s LPFF, including the date change, please contact Fred Balzac, AFS Operations Manager at (518) 523-3456 or firstname.lastname@example.org and be sure to visit adirondackfilmsociety.org for periodic updates as this year’s Film Forum program and guest list develops.
A Tradition of Inspired Screenings
Begun in 2000, the Lake Placid Film Forum was inspired in part by a sold-out screening at the Palace Theatre in 1999 of “The Sweet Hereafter,” adapted from the novel by part-time North Country resident Russell Banks, which was introduced by Mr. Banks, the film director’s Atom Egoyan, and AFS Artistic Director Kathleen Carroll, herself a Lake Placid native. Shortly thereafter, the Adirondack Film Society was born, co-founded by a team that included or soon added Ms. Carroll, Lake Placid’s John Huttlinger (currently serving as Chair of the AFS board), movie-house impresario Nelson Page (former Chair, now Vice Chair), Naj Wikoff, and the late Robin Pell, with active participation from Mr. Banks.
The multi-day Film Forum event was an instant smash with filmmakers as well as North Country movie buffs. Guest filmmakers have included such directors as Martin Scorsese, Paul Schrader, John Sayles, Courtney Hunt (whose acclaimed independent film, “Frozen River,” was shot in nearby Clinton County); novelists such as William Kennedy, Jay Parini, and Richard Russo as well as Mr. Banks, all of whom have had work adapted for the screen; and such actors as Hal Holbrook, Steve Buscemi, James Tolkan, Kyra Sedgwick, Tony Shalhoub, Matthew Modine, Campbell Scott, Parker Posey and Academy Award winners Cliff Robertson (for “Charly”) and Melissa Leo (for “The Fighter”). Programming at the annual event has typically included such segments as workshops, master classes and panel discussions with invited filmmakers and other industry professionals; “North Country Shorts”—films made by area residents and/or shot in the region; and “Sleepless in Lake Placid,” the undergraduate student overnight filmmaking event.
Between 2000 and 2013, the Film Forum was held every year but one. For 2014, the AFS board made the decision to go a different route and initiated the monthly (September through April or May, except for December) AFS Screening Series at LPCA. The series debuted where the Film Society essentially began—with a retrospective screening of “The Sweet Hereafter,” with Mr. Banks on hand in person to introduce the film and lead a discussion afterwards—and is now in its fourth year, continuing March 16-17 with “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” and, on Friday evening, April 27 and possibly a second date, with “In Between,” a new comedy-drama from Israel by a Palestinian director making her feature-film debut.
The Film Forum returned on an annual basis in 2015, and the past two editions have essentially doubled the number of screenings and other film-related programs that were held in 2015. With the 2018 event taking place over three days instead of five, the LPFF’s organizers are emphasizing quality over quantity and aim to make it the best Lake Placid Film Forum yet.