Meet the Adirondack Film Society’s Board of Directors 2019!

AFS Board of Directors 2019 – Left to Right: Fred Balzac, Heather Clark, John Huttlinger (Treasurer), Nelson E. Page (Chairman & President), Amy Quinn (Secretary), Nick Gunn, Eric Granger (not in photo, Gary Smith – Vice Chairman)

Thank you to everyone who made the 2018 Lake Placid Film Festival a huge success!

October 2019 is just around the corner, so please save the dates for the 19th Annual LPFF.

Tribute Gala 2019

The Adirondack Film Society and the Lake Placid Film Festival will honor Russell Banks.

Shorts Competition 2019

Check in with our website for competition dates, rules and more information at

LPFF 2019 Festival Director and AFS Vice-Chairman & Nelson Page, AFS Chairman and President meet at the Desmond Hotel in Albany NY to continue planning LPFF2019.

2018 AFS Tribute Gala Honoring Kathleen Carroll

What’s Happening?

Earlier in 2019…

AFS Screening Series @ LPCA: “Eighth Grade”
March 15 & 16, 7 pm

The Adirondack Film Society Screening Series at LPCA, Version 5.0, continues with this critically acclaimed, indie comedy-drama written and directed by Bo Burnham in his feature-film directorial debut. It is told through the perspective—including via selfie videos posted on Facebook—of 13-year-old Kayla Day (played by Elsie Fisher, who was nominated for a 2019 Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Musical or Comedy) enduring the tidal wave of contemporary suburban adolescence as she makes her way through the last week of middle school—the end of her thus-far disastrous eighth-grade year. Josh Hamilton plays her loving, but sometimes clueless dad.
Common Sense Media hailed Ms. Fisher as “fabulous in writer-director Burnham’s poignant, sensitive exploration of the challenges of early adolescence in the age of social media and constant phone use,” while Screen Rant (*) raved that the film “masterfully captures the emotional horror of being a Generation Z middle-schooler, yet tells a universally relatable coming of age story.”

What other critics have written or said about “Eighth Grade”:
• “So deeply rooted in the feminine adolescent experience that it often feels as if Bo Burnham cracked open a whole mess of girls’ diaries to pen it. You’re going to fall in love with Elsie Fisher, the big, beating heart of ‘Eighth Grade.’” — Kate Erbland, Indiewire
• “Very, very special… Thank you, bless you, Bo Burnham” — Brooks Barnes, The New York Times
• “Poignantly captures middle school in the time of Snapchat” — Emily Yoshida, Vulture
• “We have seen the future of coming-of-age films, and its name is ‘Eighth Grade’” — David Fear, Rolling Stone
• “It’s a movie for the moment, and man, does it get this moment right” — Erik Davis,
• “‘Eighth Grade’ will break your heart” — Mike Ryan, Uproxx
The 2018-19 AFS Screening Series continues on Thursday and Saturday, May 2 and 4 (film TBA). And save the dates for 18th Annual Lake Placid Film Festival (née “Film Forum”): October 24-27, 2019!
To learn more about the Screening Series or other AFS programs and activities, please contact Operations Manager Fred Balzac at 518-523-3456 or 518-588-7275 or or visit To learn more about the film, check out:

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“In Search of Greatness”

“In Search of Greatness” ADK Film Society Screening Series

On February 15 and 16 at 7 pm the Adirondack Film Society – Lake Placid, NY presented the regional premiere of In Search of Greatness, the latest groundbreaking feature documentary from award-winning filmmaker Gabe Polsky (“Genius”). It is a cinematic journey into the secrets of genius, told through the eyes of some of greatest athletes of all time. The film is based largely on original interviews with hockey great Wayne Gretzy, football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice and soccer legend Pelé and features such giants in their respective fields as Muhummad Ali, Michael Jordan and Serena Williams and non-athletes David Bowie an Albert Einstein. Mr. Polsky’s previous documentary, “Red Army”—about the creation and development of the Soviet Union’s national hockey team and its fate after the squad’s breathtaking loss to the U.S. in the 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympics—remains one of the best-attended programs in the Screening Series at LPCA. And as he did following one of the Red Army screenings back in November 2014, director Polsky will appear via Skype to participate in at least one Q&A session with the LPCA audience present for “In Search of Greatness.”

More about the film:

“American Animals” ADK Film Society Screening Series

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“American Animals”

LAKE PLACID, NY — “American Animals” is the unbelievable but entirely true story of four young men who attempt to execute one of the most audacious art heists in U.S. history. Spencer Reinhard, Warren Lipka, Eric Borsuk and Chas Allen are friends who live an ordinary existence in Kentucky. After a visit to Transylvania University, Lipka comes up with the idea to steal the rarest and most valuable books from the school’s library. As the story starts to unfold, the would-be perpetrators question whether their attempts to inject excitement and purpose into their lives are simply misguided attempts at achieving the American Dream.

The 2018-2019 edition of the Adirondack Film Society (AFS) Screening Series at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts (LPCA), Version 5.0, continues with this critically acclaimed comedy-drama on Friday and Saturday, January 25-26, at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased in advance by visiting or calling the LPCA box office at 518-523-2512; they will also be available at the door. To learn more about the Screening Series or other AFS programs, please contact AFS Operations Manager Fred Balzac at 518-523-3456 or -588-7275 or and/or visit

Taking the Heist Movie into Bold New Territory

In the meantime, area film buffs and movie lovers have “American Animals” to take in—written and directed by British filmmaker Bart Layton, who is probably best known for his earlier acclaimed work, “The Imposter.” This newer film centers around two friends from the middle-class suburbs of Lexington, Kentucky. Spencer (Barry Keoghan) is determined to become an artist but feels he lacks the essential ingredient that unites all great artists—suffering. His closest friend, Warren (Evan Peters), has also been raised to believe that his life will be special and that he will be unique in some way. But as they leave the suburbs for universities in the same town, the realities of adult life begin to dawn on them and with that, the realization that their lives may in fact never be important or special in any way.

Determined to live lives that are out of the ordinary, they plan the brazen theft of some of the world’s most valuable books from the special collections room of Spencer’s college library. Enlisting two more friends, accounting major Eric (Jared Abrahamson) and fitness fanatic Chas (Blake Jenner), and taking cues from heist movies, the gang meticulously plots the theft and subsequent fence of the stolen artworks. Although some in the group begin to have second thoughts, they discover that the plan has seemingly taken on a life of its own.

Unfolding his narrative from multiple perspectives, and innovatively incorporating the real-life figures at the heart of the story, writer-director Layton takes the heist movie into bold new territory.

What the critics had to say:

*“‘American Animals’” is a high-style caper that touches a deeper chord of youthful indiscretion and moral imbalance. You won’t be able to stop talking about it.”—Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

*“Sensational…. a riveting college-boy crime caper that speeds along on pure movie-movie adrenaline, before U-turning into a sobering reflection on young male privilege and entitlement…. a wildly entertaining true-crime thriller.”—Guy Lodge, Variety

“The embrace of factuality’s slippery nature lends the film a delirious headiness, turning what might otherwise have been just another true-crime story into something more philosophical and complex.”—Michael O’Sullivan, Washington Post

“Incredible…. an expertly told, brilliant story.”—Gail Tolley, Time Out

“…One of the summer’s freshest and most entertaining films.”—Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

Genre: comedy, drama, mystery & suspense • rated R (for language throughout, some drug use and brief crude/sexual material) • running time: 120 mins.

The two screenings of “American Animals” are partially underwritten by the Law Office of Brian P. Barrett, PLLC.

Amazing 2018 screenings…

Ethan Hawke near shipyard in scene from

Ethan Hawke stars in “First Reformed” as tormented pastor, Rev. Ernst Toller

ADK Film Society Screening Series @LPCA, v5.0, Opens with a Late-Career Masterpiece by the Writer of “Taxi Driver” & Director of “Affliction”

LAKE PLACID, NY — From writer-director Paul Schrader —whose films include “Taxi Driver,” “Affliction,” “American Gigolo,” “Blue Collar,” “Hardcore,” “Raging Bull” and “The Canyons”—comes a gripping thriller about a crisis of faith that is at once personal, political and planetary.

movie poster for First Reformed

“FIRST REFORMED” opens the 2018-2019 edition of the Adirondack Film Society (AFS) Screening Series at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts (LPCA), Version 5.0, on Friday and Saturday, September 14-15, at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased in advance by visiting or calling the LPCA box office at 518-523-2512; they will also be available at the door. To learn more about the Screening Series or other AFS programs, please contact AFS Operations Manager Fred Balzac at 518-523-3456 or -588-7275 or

The film tells the story of Reverend Ernst Toller (Ethan Hawke), a solitary, middle-aged parish pastor at a small Dutch Reform church in upstate New York on the cusp of celebrating its 250th anniversary. Once a stop on the Underground Railroad, the church is now a tourist attraction catering to a dwindling congregation, eclipsed by its nearby parent church, Abundant Life, with its state-of-the-art facilities and 5,000-strong flock. When a pregnant parishioner (Amanda Seyfried) asks Reverend Toller to counsel her husband (Philip Ettinger), a radical environmentalist, the clergyman finds himself plunged into his own tormented past and equally despairing future, until he finds redemption in an act of grandiose violence. Cedric the Entertainer (billed as “Cedric Antonio Kyles) is featured as Reverend Joel Jeffers.

“This mesmerizing drama of a pastor’s crisis of faith feels like the movie Paul Schrader was put on this planet to make.” — Ann Hornaday, Washington Post

“A fierce film [by Paul] Schrader, one of the crucial creators of the modern cinema…. Schrader excavates deep personal history and bares present-day anger and pain with a rare, wondrous intensity. ‘First Reformed’ is a devil-may-care film, made with the sort of reckless abandon… that only an established filmmaker who’s still in a hurry will yield to….” — Richard Brody, The New Yorker

Rated R (for some disturbing violent images); running time: 1 hr., 53 mins.

The 2018-19 AFS Screening Series at LPCA continues Friday and Saturday, November 9-10, 2018 and January 25-26, February 15-16 and March 15-16, 2019 and Thursday and Saturday, May 2 and 4, 2019 (films to be announced). And save the dates for the 18th Annual Lake Placid Film Festival, with screenings and related programs such as panel discussions taking place Friday through Sunday, October 26-28, 2018—to be kicked off Thursday evening, October 25th, by a special gala tribute to AFS-LPFF co-founder and current Artistic Director Kathleen Carroll, longtime film critic Kathleen Carroll, who was ahead of her time in recognizing the importance of such film directors as Federico Fellini, Francois Truffaut, Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen and Clint Eastwood. To learn more about the 2018 LPFF, please visit

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