Coming Attractions / Cinema Highlights in WNY

Time for the International Jewish Film Festivals, as well as winners from Cultivate Cinema and Thursday Night Terrors

Still from WESTERN

Courtesy of Cinema Guild


March sees the return of a local film festival favorite, along with unique screenings from our friends at Cultivate Cinema Circle and Thursday Night Terrors.


The must-attends


The Buffalo International Jewish Film Festival

It is year thirty-four for the Buffalo International Jewish Film Festival, and this annual mix of features and documentaries from around the world shows no signs of slowing down. In 2019, the BIJFF will feature a pre-fest conversation with a Hollywood heavyweight, a special concert-screening event, and a list of fascinating films.


Katie Wzontek, the JCC of Greater Buffalo’s Director of Cultural Arts, recently discussed the festival’s highlights, its goals, and what has made it such an enduring local event. And visit for more details on the entries and special events.


Talk a bit about the conversation with Linda Reisman on Mar. 9.

Linda Reisman is a Williamsville native and an award-winning film producer, whose recent producing credits include Leave No Trace and The Danish Girl. Though she now lives in Boston, she still considers Buffalo home and visits often; her family has a strong connection to the Buffalo Jewish community.


Linda’s status in the industry, the professionals she has worked with, and the films she has worked on—the most recent being Oscar contender Leave No Trace—will offer people an exclusive inside look into the film industry at our fundraiser event.


How do the Reisman talk and the Joe’s Violin screening/concert on Mar. 16 [details below] connect with the BIJFF goals?

Both of these events really support the first part of the mission statement of the festival: we are dedicated to providing an educational and entertaining cultural experience for the general community of Western New York. We continue to look for programs and films that we feel will connect and engage the entire WNY community helping us to fulfill the second part of our mission, which is to convey the diversity of Jewish experience while recognizing the commonality of Jewish values.


The festival is one of the area’s longest-running. What do you think makes it stand out, and remain so popular?

I think one reason is that our Committee Chair Michael Silverman and other volunteer committee members work very hard to develop programs and select high-quality films that also support the goals and mission of the Festival. We strive to feature films that remind audiences of the enormous value of stories that explore heritage, celebrate culture, and honor history, bringing people together to experience and share a common love for film.


5 BIJFF films you can’t miss

The festival schedule is peppered with fascinating selections, including one taking place before the fest officially begins.


Joe’s Violin screening and concert, Mar. 16

Wzontek calls this screening of the Oscar-winning documentary Joe’s Violin and a musical performance from Buffalo String Works students a true “multi-media event.” “Transformative Generosity: How Donated Instruments and Music Change Lives” will also feature a panel discussion and light dessert reception. Joe’s Violin, the story of the bond between a Holocaust survivor and a twelve-year-old girl, will also screen on Mar. 22 and 26.


The Accountant of Auschwitz, Mar. 24 and 28

Director Matthew Shoychet will participate in a Q&A after the screening of The Accountant of Auschwitz, a documentary making its U.S. premiere at the festival.


Working Woman, Mar. 24 and 26

Wzontek says Working Woman, a drama about a woman who must support her family while fending off unwanted advances from her boss, is “especially relevant to the #MeToo movement.”


The Waldheim Waltz, Mar. 25 and 27

Director Ruth Beckermann probes the wartime past of Austrian politician Kurt Waldheim in a documentary that Wzontek describes as “a case study of how a lying, deceitful power-monger rises to the presidency of his country by concealing his motives and past actions.”


The Cakemaker, Mar. 23 and 27

One of the most acclaimed foreign-language films of recent years, The Cakemaker is a stunning debut feature from director Ofir Raul Graizer.


Fundraiser for the Buffalo International Jewish Film Festival … A Conversation with Linda Reisman: 7:30 p.m. on Mar. 9 at the JCC Benderson Family Building, Maxine and Robert Seller Theatre, 2640 N. Forest Rd., Getzville; festival: Mar. 22-28 at the Dipson Amherst Theatre, 3500 Main. St.;


Still from The Cakemaker



More noteworthy screenings


Cultivate Cinema Circle—Western

CCC’s year-long series titled “Post-Colonialisms: World Cinema and Human Consequence” continues this month with Valeska Grisebach’s Western. Film Comment called this story of a group of construction workers in rural Bulgaria “the best film since Claire Denis’s Beau Travail to be made by a woman about men (indeed, about men who are without women, most of the time).”

7 p.m. on March 14 at Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, 341 Delaware Ave.;


Thursday Night Terrors—The Howling

Joe Dante does werewolves in this 1981 classic. Dee Wallace and Patrick Macnee star, and I’ll be hiding under my bed if you need me.

7:30 p.m. on March 21 at the Dipson Amherst Theatre, 3500 Main St.;


Buffalo Film Seminars

While entries from Luis Buñuel and David Lean are always appreciated, it is the BFS screening of Arturo Ripstein’s Time to Die on Mar. 26 that most intrigues. The Mexican filmmaker’s 1966 feature is a dark western co-written by novelists Gabriel García Marquez and Carlos Fuentes. Note that the series is on recess on Mar. 19.

Mar. 5: The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie

Mar. 12: Doctor Zhivago

Mar. 26: Time to Die

7 p.m. at the Dipson Amherst Theatre, 3500 Main St.;


Old Chestnut Film Series—The Ox-Bow Incident

More Henry Fonda from Old Chestnut, this time in a 1943 western directed by the venerable William Wellman.

7:30 p.m. on March 8 at the Museum of disABILITY History, 3826 Main St.;


TCM Big Screen Classics—To Kill a Mockingbird

One of cinema’s all-timers, this adaptation of Harper Lee’s novel has lost none of its power. These screenings will include special insight from Turner Classic Movies.

1 p.m. on March 24, 12 and 7 p.m. on March 27, at the Regal Elmwood Center, 2001 Elmwood Ave., and Regal Transit Center, 6707 Transit Rd., Williamsville; for times, dates, and additional details, visit


Reel Talk at the Albright-Knox: Defiant Lives

The AKAG screens a documentary exploring the disability rights movement in the United States, Britain, and Australia.

Tours at 6:30 p.m., film at 7:15 p.m., on March 28 at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, 1285 Elmwood Ave.;


Charade, Clue, and more at the Screening Room

A typically busy month at Amherst’s Screening Room includes Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn in Charade (starting on March 1), board game adaptation Clue: The Movie (starting on March 8), and Mike Judge’s Office Space (starting March 22). Visit for the full lineup.

The Screening Room, 880 Alberta Dr., Amherst;


Gone With the Wind: 80th Anniversary

The beloved Clark Gable-Vivien Leigh-starrer returns to theaters to commemorate its eightieth anniversary.

1 and 6 p.m. on March 3, 1 p.m. on March 17, and 6 p.m. on March 18 at the Regal Elmwood Center, 2001 Elmwood Ave., and Regal Transit Center, 6707 Transit Rd., Williamsville;


Noir Essentials—Strangers on a Train

The latest Noir Essentials season, titled "Departures," begins with Alfred Hitchcock's delightfully nasty Patricia Highsmith adaptation.

7:30 p.m. on March 20 at the Dipson Eastern Hills Cinema, 4545 Transit Rd., Williamsville;


Find links to film critic Christopher Schobert’s latest reviews at



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