The region’s premier film-related event, the Lake Placid Film Forum—now marking its 15th anniversary—takes place June 8-12 with its biggest & best lineup of new, recent and classic movies in years…

 

LAKE PLACID, NY—With its initial success as a major cultural event here in the Adirondack North Country—let alone the odds of sustaining that significance for 15 years—being as likely as the proverbial million-to-one shot, the “underdog” of film festivals is trained, prepped and ready to step into the ring once more.

Taking its cue from the boxing classic “Rocky”—the Best Picture Oscar-winner whose 40th anniversary will open the five-day event with a free outdoor screening in Mid’s Park in beautiful downtown Lake Placid Wed., June 8th (~9 pm)—the annual Lake Placid Film Forum (LPFF), presented by the Adirondack Film Society (AFS) through Sunday, June 12th, returns this year with its biggest and best lineup of new, recent and classic films in years. Venues include the venerable Art-Deco-style Palace Theatre at 2430 Main Street—soon to be celebrating its 90th anniversary—and the multipurpose, regionally cherished Lake Placid Center for the Arts (LPCA) at 17 Algonquin Drive.

A scene from the documentary "Don't Blink" (screening Sun., 6/12, 6:15 pm, at LPCA), with a cameo appearance by actor Mark Ruffalo.

A scene from the documentary “Don’t Blink” (screening Sun., 6/12, 6:15 pm, at LPCA), with a cameo appearance by actor Mark Ruffalo.

Screenings include: narrative features and documentaries; international foreign-language as well as North American English-language movies; a slew of Canadian pictures, including a special double-feature on Saturday afternoon of two highly regarded new films curated by an emeritus Ontario-based film professor and AFS Board Member Tom Hanrahan; a silent film classic—Charlie Chaplin’s “The Kid”—plus a short, with live piano accompaniment by Ben Model, who frequently performs such programs at New York City’s Museum of Modern Art; and a special “Essentials” screening of one of the greatest movies ever made, Carol Reed’s “The Third Man,” starring Joseph Cotten and Orson Welles—a program that will be moderated by Jeremy Arnold, the author of the brand new book, “The Essentials: 52 Must-See Movies and Why They Matter,” which is a tie-in with the popular “Essentials” program that airs Saturday nights on cable TV’s Turner Classic Movies (TCM). Following the screening, Mr. Arnold will be joined by producer and former industry exec Larry Jackson, who worked with Welles on his unfinished film “The Other Side of the Wind” as well as “Filming Othello,” and AFS Artistic Director Kathleen Carroll, former film critic for the New York Daily News, for a discussion of “The Third Man” and what makes a film an “Essential.”

Among the documentary features are true-life stories about such subjects as:
• The witty, urbane, long-established comedian, Robert Klein, who influenced at least a whole generation of comics who followed him such as Jerry Seinfeld and Richard Lewis, some of whom appear in the film;
• The indigenous Onondaga people of northern New York State and their efforts to save and protect the environment of the land and planet that they regard as sacred ground;
• Legendary photographer Robert Frank whose work includes a famous shot of the Village Green in nearby Jay, New York, which was published in the New York Times;
• Revered filmmaker Sidney Lumet, considered one of the greatest “actor’s directors” to work in New York City as well as Hollywood, whose rich output of powerful, gritty contemporary movies includes “Twelve Angry Men,” “Serpico,” “Dog Day Afternoon, “Network” and “Verdict”;
• The USA and East German women’s swim teams that competed against each other in the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal, in a narrative that details the triumph of victory and the agony of defeat until it unravels into a tale of tragedy when the East German women are shown to have been enmeshed in illegal doping during the Games; and
• A fascinating take on the impact of the digital world on real life by the great German narrative feature director, Werner Herzog, known for such classic works of obsession as “Aguirre, the Wrath of God” and “Fitzcarraldo.”

Over the years, the Lake Placid Film Forum has become known for providing an intimate setting for audience members to meet well-known filmmakers as well as other film-industry professional who—while not necessarily household names—are artists of the first order in their craft and often expert at communicating about it. Expected guests this year—in person or, in one case, via Skype—include:
• Film critic Marshall Fine, director of the documentary “Robert Klein Can’t Stop His Leg” (scheduled for Sat., 6/11, 8:30 pm at the Palace*);
• Gwendolen Cates, the director of “The Good Mind,” about the Onondaga, joined by Chief Jake Edwards, who is featured in the film (Fri., 6/10, 9:15 pm & Sun., 6/12, 4 pm at LPCA);
• Laura Israel, director of “Don’t Blink,” the Robert Frank doc (Sun., 6:15 pm, LPCA), slated to be accompanied by panelist Nathan Farb, the renowned Adirondack photographer whose footage of Frank giving a lecture is included in the film;
• Documentary maven Nancy Buirski, director of “By Sidney Lumet,” this year’s Closing Film (Sun., 8:30 pm, LPCA) who will appear via Skype to introduce her film;
• Fifteen-time Emmy Award-winner Brian Brown, director of “The Last Gold,” about two very different approaches to Olympic women’s swimming (Fri., 7 pm, at LPCA & Sun., 7:00 pm, at the Palace); and
• Pianist-organist Ben Model, who returns to the LPFF following his crowd-pleasing performance at last year’s event accompanying a Clara Bow feature and a Charlie Chase short and who, with the Chaplin classic “The Kid” plus another short, promises to top his previous Film Forum appearance (Thu., 6/9, 7:30 pm, LPCA).

Among the narrative features (or, in the case of “Where to Invade Next,” strictly speaking a documentary) that will be screened, performers and directors include: Cate Blanchett, Robert Budreau, Andrew Cividino, Stephen Elliot, Ethan Hawke, Todd Haynes, Harvey Keitel, Martin Landau, Guy Maddin, Rooney Mara, Michael Moore, Atom Nagoyan, Christopher Plummer, Paolo Sorrentino and John Turturro.

The organizers of this year’s LPFF are excited about the program and ready to roll. AFS co-founder and Chair John Huttlinger says, “We really focused on programming this year, and it has paid off: we have a bounty of great films.” Co-founder and Artistic Director Kathleen Carroll agrees: “As has been the case in recent years, it’s been the documentaries I’ve seen in festivals and screenings in New York City that have caught my eye…but it’s also been a banner year for Canadian narrative features—and we are featuring both genres.” And Vice Chair Nelson Page exclaims, “Given the lineup of films—new, classic and in between—this promises to be one of our best years yet!”

Tickets to each screening are $10 per person, available at the door, with the exception of the Canadian double feature Sat. at 1:15 pm at the Palace, for which admission is $15 for both films, $10 for the second film (space permitting). The Palace Theatre accepts only cash (518-523-9271; please visit its Facebook page); tickets to screenings at the LPCA can be charged as well (518-523-2512, www.lakeplacidarts.org). To learn more about this year’s Lake Placid Film Forum—including a complete schedule and more details about the films once both are posted, as well as periodic updates—please visit www.adirondackfilm society.org and our Facebook page; for additional info, including about the Film Society itself and its other programs and activities, please call AFS Operations Manager Fred Balzac at (518) 588-7275 or e-mail fredbalzac@aol.com.

*Please note: times, locations, guests and films/events are subject to change. Please check the AFS website, www.adirondackfilmsociety.org, for schedule updates.