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Buffalo natives have many ties to BNFF 2011

The Buffalo Niagara Film Festival kicks off tomorrow, April 8, featuring more than 100 different works, ranging from documentaries to music videos to feature films.

And interestingly, many of the films have ties to Western New York. Muzafar Malik, producer of the feature film Webdultery calls Buffalo his “second home,” while others, like WNY native Josie DiVincenzo, star of The Desperate, is still very involved in the community. She has acted in several local productions and teaching an acting class at Niagara University.

Thomas Gidlow, director of the short film Victor James, says he “grew up on the Sabres and Bills,” and spent most of his childhood in Youngstown, Lewiston, and Niagara Falls.

Meanwhile, Joseph Izzo, one of the writers and producers of the feature film Uncle Louie, has extended family in Buffalo, and even made the title character from his film from Buffalo. “It could not have been made without Buffalo running through our blood,” Izzo says.

The films featured have a wide array of themes from marriage (Webdultery) to life in Nazi Germany (The Desperate). In Webdultery, a young married couple step outside their relationship using online adultery websites, anonymously encouraging each other to cheat.

“I find it very fascinating that it is so easy now to find other people who are willing to cheat in such a public and ‘out there’ way,” says Malik. “I thought it would be interesting to take a look at a young modern marriage and see how it can be impacted by how easy it is to access adultery.” Webdultery premieres April 9 at the Market Arcade Theatre at 3:30 p.m. You can see the film's trailer here.

Shifting gears to a completely different theme, the short film, The Desperate, takes place in Nazi Germany at the height of the Holocaust. It is the story of a Nazi general who pleads with a condemned Jewish doctor to save his dying only son. The award-nominated film features DiVincenzo as the only nurse in the concentration camp who helps the Jewish doctor.

DiVincenzo says the film will resonate well with everyone in that it is an emotional plot. “Its theme, message, and story—which is based on real events—is a heartrending one of two men who suffered the hate of war from opposite ends, yet need and understand each other in spite of it.” The Desperate premieres April 17 at the Rapids Theatre at 3 p.m. Watch the film's trailer here.

Gidlow’s short film Victor James is about the decisions and the unknown consequences that come with making these decisions. The film is about the self-titled character and his longtime sidekick, who settle debts for a compulsive gambler. However, when things get dangerous, Darcey questions her commitment to Victor. “It's a very straightforward drama with some action and comedy, and the story is one that I think anyone can enjoy,” says Gidlow. Victor James premieres April 14 at the Market Arcade Theatre at 8 p.m. You can see the film's trailer here.

In Izzo’s dark comedy Uncle Louie, a man named Benny is in trouble with a loan shark. Despite his reluctance, his girlfriend recruits Benny’s uncle Louie, a hit-man from Buffalo, to take matters into his own hands. Uncle Louie premieres April 14 at the Market Arcade Theatre at 8 p.m. Watch the film's trailer here.

With unique personal connections to the region, many people involved in the Buffalo Niagara Film Festival agree that the city’s wonders are often overlooked. “It is much more rich in artistic culture then people realize,” says Malik. DiVincenzo says turning awareness to a show, gallery, or concert is essential with the talented fine and performing arts in Buffalo. “There is no reason, really, to ever be bored in Buffalo.”

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