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Buffalo International Film Festival

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Buffalo International Film Festival Logo
Buffalo International Film Festival Logo[1]

The Buffalo International Film Festival was founded in 2006, and takes place in October of each year in Buffalo, New York. It is also known as the Buffalo Film Festival.



The film festival became a 501c3 not-for-profit charity in January 2005.

In 2007 it was responsible for the discovery of the Vitascope Theater, part of Edisonia Hall, the first purpose-built movie theater in the world which opened in 1896.[2][3] The festival now sponsors a yearly event celebrating the creation of the Movie Theater in Buffalo.[4]

It also made Buffalo the first city in the world to declare UNESCO World Day for Audio-Visual Heritage.[5]

In 2013 the BIFF hosted a meet and greet book signing with children's author Keith White Jr. for the screenings of Magic Camp and Dear Mr. Watterson. White was again present at the 2014 BIFF.



Current board members include: Tammy McGovern (Chair), Paige Sarlin (Vice Chair), Keith Poplawski (Secretary), Meg Knowles (Treasurer), Michael Faust (Member), LeRoi Johnson (Member), Annette Daniels Taylor (Member), and Renee Russell (Emeritus), Renée M. Saracki (Emeritus).[6]

Previous board advisors have included: Tom Fontana, Lauren Belfer, Lawrence Block, A.R. Gurney, Nancy Kress, Herbert Hauptman, Jim Steranko, Howard Bloom, Edward Summer, Lloyd Kaufman, David Shire, Mort Walker, Bill Prady and others.



Staff members include: Anna Scime (Executive Director), John J. Fink (Artistic Director), Ana Grujić (Marketing + Outreach Coordinator), Myari Ware (Platform Strategist), Elizabeth Dunning (ASI Springboard Fellow).[7]

Not-for-profit activities


Its other activities include: The Buffalo Film Society (founded 2008) along with the Niagara Falls Film Society, Buffalo-Niagara Film Society; the New York State Movie Theater Corridor (founded 2006); The Buffalo Walk of Fame (founded 2006); The Buffalo Movie Hall of Fame (founded 2006); The Buffalo; and the Buffalo Cinematheque.

Awards and screenings




The inaugural festival was June 13, 2007 and included "Student Films Across America."[8]



In 2008, it screened more than 25 films including regional and national premieres. These screenings included a Harold Lloyd Film Retrospective (with personal appearance by Suzanne Lloyd and "Hollywood 39" a retrospective of great Hollywood movies from 1939.



It holds a Spring Gala and Fall Festival. In 2009, the Spring Gala was a celebration of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse arranged through The Walt Disney Company.

The third annual festival, Buffalo Film Festival 2009, ran from October 9–27, 2009 and included 18 films from all over the world and 16 guests who presented them including Abigail Disney, Rick Schmidlin, Charles Band, Dwayne Buckle, David Heeley, Ray Bradbury, J.B. Kaufman, Mary Pat Kelly [9][10] It included the First Annual Al Boasberg Comedy Award given in honor of famed comedy writer Al Boasberg who was born in Buffalo.[11]

  • World Premiere: Kate and Fred: Hepburn and Astaire directed by David Heeley and Joan Kramer
  • Western New York Premiere: The Minority directed by Dwayne Buckle
  • Western New York Premiere: Pray the Devil Back to Hell co-directed by Abigail Disney
  • Al Boasberg Comedy Award—Lifetime Achievement in Comedy Writing - Larry Gelbart
  • Al Boasberg Comedy Award—Lifetime Achievement in Comedy Writing - Joseph Stein
  • Al Boasberg Comedy Award—Lifetime Achievement in Comedy Writing - Everett Greenbaum
  • Al Boasberg Comedy Award—Lifetime Achievement in Comedy Performance - Kathleen Howard
  • Al Boasberg Comedy Award—Lifetime Achievement in Comedy Art and Writing - Harvey Kurtzman



The fourth Annual Buffalo International Film Festival ran from October 1–10, 2010. 60 films were screened.

  • World Premiere: God's Land directed by Preston Miller
  • New York State Premiere: Louis Sullivan: The Struggle for American Architecture directed by Mark Richard Smith
  • New York State Premiere: Hard Four directed by Charles Dennis
  • New York State Premiere: Superstonic Sound directed by Raphael Erichsen
  • Western New York Premiere: La Soga directed by Josh Crook
  • Western New York Premiere: Metropolis directed by Fritz Lang (World Day for AudioVisual Heritage Screening)
  • Western New York Premiere: Waking Sleeping Beauty directed by Don Hahn
  • Special Screening: Temple Grandin directed by Mick Jackson (exclusive theatrical, benefit screening)
  • Al Boasberg Comedy Award—Lifetime Achievement in Comedy Performance Sid Caesar



Approximately 80 films were screened. Audience Awards were given for the first time.

Audience Award



In 2012, 70 films were screened at three locations including The Screening Room, Amherst, NY; Historic Lockport Palace Theatre, Lockport, NY; Market Arcade Film and Arts Center, Buffalo, NY.

Audience Awards given.

Best of Festival
  • TIE – Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan (UK, France) Gilles Penso, Ray and Diana Harryhausen Foundation
  • TIE – Starry, Starry Night (Taiwan) Tom Lin Shu-yu, ChinaLion
Best Drama
  • First Place: Starry, Starry Night (Taiwan) Tom Lin Shu-yu, ChinaLion
  • Second Place: Extraterrestrial (Extraterrestre) (Spain) NachoVigalondo, Arsenico Producciones/Tugg
  • Third Place: A Case of Deceit (Canada)
Best Documentary
  • First Place: Ray Harryhausen: Special FX Titan (UK, France) Gilles Penso, Ray and Diana Harryhausen Foundation
  • Second Place: Somewhere Between (USA) Linda Goldstein Knowlton, Longshot Factory
  • Third Place: Alive Inside (work-in-progress) (USA) Michael Rossato-Bennett, Ximotion Media
  • First Place: My Neighbor Totoro (Japan) Hayao Miyazaki, Studio Ghibli
Foreign Language Film
  • First Place: Starry, Starry Night (Taiwan) Tom Lin Shu-yu, ChinaLion
  • Second Place: Extraterrestrial (Extraterrestre) (Spain) Nacho, Vigalondo, Arsenico Producciones/Tugg
Best Science Fiction
  • First Place: Extraterrestrial (Extraterrestre) (Spain) Nacho Vigalondo, Arsenico Producciones/Tugg
Best Short Film – International
  • First Place: Behind the Concrete (Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada)

"2012 Best of Buffalo"


(all films in this category are made by filmmakers from Buffalo and Western New York)

Feature Film
  • First Place: Zeus
Short Film
  • First Place: Take It Off – Anna Van Valin
  • Second Place: Viral Video
  • Honorable Mention: Feeble Attraction; Exit 7A


Best Narrative Feature
  • Gold Bison: Oblivion Season (Iran) directed by Abbas Rafei
  • Special Jury Prize: Abby Singer/Songwriter (USA) directed by Onur Tukel
Best WNY Feature
  • Gold Bison: Emelie (USA) directed by Michael Thelin
  • Special Jury Prize: Prescient (Singapore, USA) directed by Hann-Shi Lem
Best Feature Documentary
  • Gold Bison: A Courtship (USA) directed by Amy Kohn
  • Special Jury Prize: Aspie Seeks Love
Audience Award
  • Gold Bison: ...In The Dark (USA) directed by David Spaltro
Best Short Film
  • Gold Bison: I Scream Your Name
  • Special Jury Prize: Royal Women's Association
Best WNY Short
  • Gold Bison: Long John
  • Special Jury Prize: Aleatories From an Echo
Best WNY Student Film
  • Gold Bison: Mer Depre
  • Special Jury Prize: Locomotion
Supersnipe Award
  • Gold Bison: Detectives of Noir Town


Best Narrative Feature
  • Relative directed by Michael Glover Smith
Best WNY Feature
  • Bunker directed by Adrian Langley
Best Feature Documentary
  • Terrible Children directed Shanti Thakur
BIFF Boundary Breaker Award
  • A Rising Fury directed by Lesya Kalynska and Ruslan Batytskyi
  • Bashira directed by Nickson Fong
Special Jury Prize
  • The Rules of LaCrosse directed by Joanne Storkan
Best Episodic Project
  • Mashed directed by Stacey Maltin
Best Animated Film
  • Lock the Gate directed by Sarah Lynn Galasso
Best Short Film
  • Colony Collapse Disorder directed by Amos Hozman
Best WNY Short
  • I'll Find a Way or Make One directed by Rebecca Fasanello and Teresa Castillo
Best Documentary Short
  • Winter 1984 directed by Tony Buba
Best WNY Student Film
  • Falling Up directed by Davis Cameron Chu
Tilke Hill Work-in-Progress Award
  • Diane Jones


  1. ^ "BIFF | Buffalo International Film Festival". Buffalo International Film Festival. Retrieved 2018-09-20.
  2. ^ Press Release Archived 2009-01-24 at the Wayback Machine. October 16, 2007
  3. ^ "Mitchel and Moe Mark and Edisonia Hall in Buffalo"
  4. ^ "Press Release" Archived 2010-06-16 at the Wayback Machine. October 13, 2008.
  5. ^ "Buffalo as an Architectural Museum"
  6. ^ "About". Buffalo International Film Festival. Retrieved 2023-10-03.
  7. ^ "About". Buffalo International Film Festival. Retrieved 2023-10-03.
  8. ^ "Film Festival Announcement for June 13, 2007". Archived from the original on June 16, 2010. Retrieved August 4, 2009.
  9. ^ "From Chaplin to B Movies". Buffalo News, November 12, 2009.
  10. ^ 2nd Week Coverage Archived 2009-10-19 at the Wayback Machine. Artvoice.
  11. ^ "Buffalo's Everett Greenbaum is one recipient of First Al Boasberg Comedy Award" Archived 2010-03-18 at the Wayback Machine. Artvoice.