High Falls Film Festival

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The High Falls Film Festival, founded in 2001, celebrates the artistry and innovation of women in film — behind the camera, in leading roles on the screen, and at the heart of storylines. The focus on women in film is inspired by Rochester, N.Y.'s legacy as the birthplace of film (George Eastman and Kodak) and the women’s rights movement (Susan B. Anthony). The offerings include an international slate of independent films enhanced by panels, workshops, and talks with filmmakers.

High Falls Film Festival presents more than 50 features, documentaries, and shorts, including a children's program and student-filmmaker program, in addition to panel discussions, opening and closing night parties, and informal "Coffee With" events featuring visiting filmmakers and artists. The festival is a lively mix of emerging and established talent, with past guests including actresses Kerry Washington, Christine Lahti, Angela Bassett, Jane Alexander, Candice Bergen, Joan Allen, Famke Janssen, and CCH Pounder,[1] voice-over actress Nancy "Bart Simpson" Cartwright, producer Lauren Shuler Donner, editor Thelma Schoonmaker, and director Vicky Jenson. Other guests have included actors Philip Seymour Hoffman, Bill Pullman, Robert Forster, Richard Kind, David Zayas and Tony Goldwyn, and directors John Curran and James Ivory.

The festival aligned with the Rochester International Film Festival in 2007 and with George Eastman House in 2009 under the name George Eastman House 360 | 365 Film Festival.[2] After taking a hiatus in 2012, High Falls Film festival returned in 2013 to its original mission,focus, and name. The festival's venues include The Little Theatre and various nightspots around Rochester's East End entertainment district.


The Susan B. Anthony “Failure is Impossible” Award
Honors a woman in the film industry who has persevered in her career and triumphed over difficulties.

  • 2011: Director/filmmaker Julie Taymor
  • 2010: Film Editor Thelma Schoonmaker
  • 2009: Actors Lynn Redgrave and CCH Pounder
  • 2008: Actor Rita Moreno
  • 2006: Director Agnieszka Holland
  • 2005: Actor Angela Bassett
  • 2004: Actors Sally Kellerman
  • 2003: Actor Candice Bergen
  • 2002: Actor Lainie Kazan
  • 2001: Actor Pam Grier

The Golden Lens Award for Cinematography
Honors a person who has made creative contributions of outstanding artistic significance to the field of cinematography.

  • 2011: Buddy Squires

The Rochester Film Legacy Award
Honors a filmmaker or film supporter based in the Rochester area whose passion and dedication embodies Rochester’s proud film legacy.

  • 2016: June Foster
  • 2015: Marilyn O'Connor
  • 2011: Brock Yates

The Faith Hubley “Web of Life” Award
Named after its first recipient, honors a woman who understands the power of art in connecting with an audience and in making the world a better place.

  • 2005: Jane Alexander, actor
  • 2004: Mira Nair, filmmaker
  • 2003: Jeannie Epper, stuntwoman
  • 2002: Nancy Cartwright, voice actor
  • 2001: Faith Hubley, animator

The Elizabeth Cady Stanton “Thorn in the Side” Award
Honors women who exemplify the collaborative nature of film and video. The award is named in honor of Stanton, who said: “If there is one part of my life which gives me more intense satisfaction than another, it is my friendship with Susan B. Anthony... we have indeed been thorns in the side of each other...”

  • 2009: Debra Zimmerman
  • 2008: Estela Bravo, director
  • 2006: Stella Pence, (retired) Co-Director, Telluride Film Festival

Audience Choice Awardees
Festival audiences chose Best Feature, Best Documentary and Best Short. Past Audience Award winners include:

  • Best Feature: Sugar!
  • Best Documentary: My Love Affair With The Brain: The Life and Science of Dr. Marian Diamond 2015
  • Best Feature: The Lennon Report
  • Best Documentary: Yemeniettes 2011
  • Best Feature: The First Grader
  • Best Documentary: Bill Cunningham New York
  • Best Short: Shoegazer


  1. ^ Gallagher, Michael Aaron (May 30, 2009).2009 Rochester High Falls International Film Festival honors ground-breaking pioneers. Retrieved 05-30-2009.
  2. ^ Reguero, Anna (2009-12-23). "George Eastman House joins area film festival". Democrat and Chronicle. Rochester, New York: Gannett Company. p. 1A. Archived from the original on 2009-12-23. Retrieved 2009-12-23. 

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