Version 16.0 of the Annual Lake Placid Film Forum Is Overflowing with
Movies for Film Lovers and Films for Movie Buffs
Lake Placid, NY—The annual Lake Placid Film Forum (LPFF), the Adirondack region’s premier film-related event now celebrating its sixteenth incarnation, has long been known for screening great films—typically, the kinds of independent, envelope-pushing, often quirky, sometimes demanding, but always rewarding films you can’t see in your local movieplex. However, for its 2017 edition, the LPFF offers a breathtakingly diverse as well as dynamic lineup of film screenings and related programs that should whet the interest of virtually every kind of North Country moviegoer.
Since the Film Forum premiered back in the year 2000, its stock-in-trade has been the American (or sometimes English-speaking Canadian) independent narrative or documentary feature film—works that tour the now-ever-burgeoning film-festival circuit before settling in to populate “art house” cinemas across the world. And LPFF ’17 has several such films, which have always been of great interest to its core audience of adventurous filmgoers and more discriminating cineastes.
But in an effort to program some films with the potential to reach out to a wider audience of moviegoers—and also because of a recognition on the part of the Adirondack Film Society (AFS) board and staff/consultant programmers of including a program acknowledging the special nature of its home base, the Olympic Village; plus the unforeseen set of particulars surrounding the passing of one of the giants of the film directing world—the LPFF finds itself screening several wildly popular (and, at least in one case, a huge blockbuster of a) classic films.
Here’s a quick rundown of many of the films being shown at this year’s LPFF, which runs from Wednesday, June 7, through Sunday, June 11, at venues including the historic Palace Theatre downtown on Main Street, the Lake Placid Center for the Arts (LPCA), the Whiteface Lodge and Northwood School:
- Crowd-pleasers: With residents of Lake Placid and neighboring communities who have been tremendous supporters of the LPFF and other AFS programs over the years firmly in mind, including winter sports enthusiasts—as well as local filmgoers who don’t typically attend AFS screenings—the Film Forum programmers have planned a special way to kick off the five-day event. On opening night of the festival, the Film Society will give a big “Thank you, Lake Placid” with a screening of the 2016 true-story hit movie, “EDDIE THE EAGLE” (Wed., 6/7, 7 pm, Palace) about the famed Olympic ski jumper Michael “Eddie” Edwards who actually trained in Lake Placid. Although the film is set largely in Europe and Lake Placid is not mentioned, the LPFF views “Eddie the Eagle” as a celebration of much of what Lake Placid stands for, with its glorious history of winter sporting events, including ski jumping, according to AFS Chair John Huttlinger. Headlining the evening among panel discussion speakers and other invited dignitaries will be former United States Ski and Snowboard Association ski jumping coach Larry Stone.
In recent years, the Film Society has wanted to offer more programming for families with children, such as the silent films with live accompaniment that’s been offered at the LPFF in 2015 and 2016—building on the successful school-day screenings of “Selma” in 2015 and, this past March, “Hidden Figures” presented in partnership with John Brown Lives! and, for this year, also the Adirondack Diversity Initiative. With even younger children in mind, as well as folks of any age who are young in heart, the AFS is thrilled to present what promises to be a truly special, even magical, program on Sunday morning: a tribute to the late, great actor, Gene Wilder, with a screening of the 1971 family classic “WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY” (Sun., 6/11, 11 am, Palace) introduced by Dr. Peter Ostrum, who played young Charlie in the film and who is now a veterinarian in not-too-far-off Lowville, NY, near Watertown. Dr. Ostrum will also participate in a Q&A session immediately following the film—so kids, ready those question, not only about Peter’s experience making “Willy Wonka” but also about the life and work of his co-star, Gene Wilder.
This year, a major running theme of the LPFF is international exchange and understanding, highlighted by the presence of directors and producers flown into the North Country from Havana, Cuba and Moscow, Russia. Along those lines, the AFS is pleased to present the second annual installment of “The Essentials’/Classic Film” program with screening of the much-beloved Gregory Peck-Audrey Hepburn-director William Wyler classic “ROMAN HOLIDAY” (Sat., 6/10, 8:15 pm, Palace) hosted by Jeremy Arnold. Mr. Arnold is a long-established Turner Classic Movies contributor (as well as longtime summer resident of Lake Placid) who in 2016 saw the publication of his book, “The Essentials: 52 Must-See Movies and Why They Matter,” a tie-in with the popular Saturday night TCM show that is returning with Alec Baldwin stepping in as host following the recent death of Robert Osborne.
Speaking of tributes, the LPFF will screen two contemporary classics by one of Hollywood’s greatest, most beloved directors, Jonathan Demme, who passed away this past April 26th and who was a guest of, and special friend to, the Film Forum: the 1991 blockbuster “THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS” (Fri., 6/9, 9:30 pm, Palace), winner of the Oscar for Best Picture, Best Actress (Jodie Foster), Best Actor (Anthony Hopkins), Best Adapted Screenplay (Ted Tally) and Best Director), hosted by film-industry expert Larry Jackson, who worked on the film while serving as an executive at Orion Pictures & was a friend of Demme’s; and, as the LPFF’s closing program Sunday evening, “STOP MAKING SENSE” (Sun., 6/11, 8:15 pm, Palace), one of the all-time great concert films—about the quintessential late 1970s/early 1980s New Wave bands, the Talking Heads.
- Independent American and Canadian (English-language) narrative features:
— “PATERSON” (Thu., 6/8, 6:30 pm, LPCA), the latest work from the path-breaking indie filmmaker Jim Jarmusch (“Stranger Than Paradise”) starring Adam Driver as a bus driver named Paterson who lives in Paterson, New Jersey, and who writes poetry inspired by Paterson native son William Carlos Williams; co-presented with the Adirondack Center for Writing.
— MAUDIE” (Fri., 6/9, 7 pm & encore Sat., 6/10, 11 am, both at Palace), reported to be Atlantic Canada’s hottest movie, a romance/bio-pic set in the stunning scenic beauty of Nova Scotia about beloved folk artist Maud Lewis (played by Oscar-nominated British actress Sally Hawkins); co-starring Ethan Hawke as her husband and directed by relative newcomer Aisling Walsh.
— “TITLE VII” (Sat., 6/10, 1:15 pm, Palace), a powerful drama set in an African-American-owned consulting firm that shows why same-race discrimination cannot only ruin a company but possibly also destroy lives, directed by Nicole Franklin, who will be on hand in person to introduce her film and do a Q&A session right after it.
— “LOVING” (Sat., 6/10, 2:30 pm, LPCA), from acclaimed writer/director Jeff Nichols comes this compelling drama celebrating the real-life courage and commitment of interracial couple Richard and Mildred Loving (played by Joel Edgerton and, in an Oscar-nominated performance, Ruth Negga), whose struggle to live as a married couple in their hometown turned into the civil rights case, Loving v. Virginia, which went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court; co-presented by John Brown Lives!
— “THE DINNER” (Sat., 6/10, 5 pm & encore Sun., 6/11, 3:30 pm, both at LPCA), a mystery-drama about two sets of wealthy parents who meet for dinner to decide what to do about a crime their sons have committed; directed by Oren Moverman and starring Richard Gere, Laura Linney, Chloe Sevigny (of “Love and Friendship”) and Steve Coogan.
— “THE LOVERS” (Sun., 6/11, 1:15 pm, Palace), a romantic comedy-drama directed by Azazel Jacobs (son of legendary experimental filmmaker Ken Jacobs) about a husband and wife (Debra Winger and Tracy Letts) who, while each embroiled an extramarital affair, are sent reeling when they suddenly fall for the least likely person imaginable—each other.
— “A QUIET PASSION” (Sun., 6/11, 3:15 pm, Palace), the critically acclaimed drama starring Cynthia Nixon (“Sex and the City”) as the one-of-a-kind American genius, poet Emily Dickinson, directed by Terence Davies; co-presented by the Adirondack Center for Writing.
Follow-up news releases will focus on additional highlights of LPFF ’17, including international/foreign-language titles, feature documentaries, short films, student films, film-related programs such as master classes and collaborations with multiple film groups and other nonprofit/educational organizations. As in the past two years, admission to panel discussions, workshops and master classes remains free and single tickets to all screenings are $10 per person; however, this year the AFS is introducing an all-Forum screenings pass for $79, payable by cash or check made out to the “Adirondack Film Society”. To learn more about tickets or the program overall, please contact AFS Operations Manager Fred Balzac at (518) 523-3456 or email@example.com or visit adirondackfilmsociety.org.
*This project is made possible, in part, with funds from the Decentralization Program, a regrant of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and administered by the Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts.
North Country Public Radio is a media sponsor of the 2017 Lake Placid Film Forum.
Pictured (above right): Screening of “The Good Mind” at LPFF ‘16 with the film’s director and a key participant—Gwendolen Cates and Chief Jake Edwards, center—with (from left) AFS Operations Mgr. Fred Balzac, Artistic Director Kathleen Carroll and Chair John Huttlinger. Photo: Ben Stechschulte, courtesy of the Adirondack Film Society.