Interview with BDFFF directors Gregory Lamberson and Chris Scioli.
What sets your festival apart from other festivals?
We’re a seven day festival that covers multiple genres. We pride ourselves on the fact that we try to divide our programming evenly between local productions, national films and international films. We’re also a very filmmaker friendly event; last year, thirty out of town filmmakers attended, and we had a luncheon for them. It’s great to see visiting filmmakers networking with each other and building friendships that last after the festival.
Do you have a favorite film that has showcased at your Festival?
We couldn’t single one out. There have been many that we’ve adored, and many that we’ve only seen because we’re festival programmers. And we love when the filmmakers are able to attend, which isn’t always the case. It’s hard for people to travel around the country after they’ve spent all their money on their films, so when they make the effort, we go out of our way to be welcoming.
Is there something in particular that you look for in submissions? Or are there multiple factors?
We look for originality first, and technique second. Obviously, there are exceptions; some films’ goals are to recreate a feeling of a specific film, genre or time period. Nothing excites us more than when you pop a film into my Blu-ray player not knowing what to expect, and by the halfway mark you're saying to yourself, “What the HELL am I watching?” and then by the end you want to watch it again, even if it’s 3:00 am.
What is your goal for your festival?
To show the best independent genre films from around the world, and to shine a spotlight on local filmmakers, especially those new to the film festival experience.
Do you have an interesting story that has taken place during a past festival?
In our second year, Isaac Ezban came all the way to show his amazing short Cosas Feas, which just may be my favorite film we’ve shown. The festival was in October that year, and this being Buffalo, it started to snow, and he had never seen snow before. Greg Lamberson let him scrape the frost off my windshield! That symbolizes what we love about our festival in so many ways. Last year we had the world premiere of Return to Nuke Em High Volume One, and we honored Lloyd Kaufman, and a bunch of Troma fan-atics came to the sold out show in a rented school bus, and we loved it.
How is your festival received locally?
We have a strong arts community, so we’ve been fortunate with local press. We have a devoted core audience, but expanding beyond that has been hit or miss. We love the Q & A sessions when we have visiting filmmakers. Melissa Mira and Geoff Klein showed Pinup Dolls on Ice last year, and while the audience reaction was hot and cold, the Q & A was thoughtful and passionate. We love that give and take.
Where do you see or would like to see your Festival in 5 years?
In terms of presentation, we’re already there. And in terms of brand name recognition, we’re already there. We just want to grow our audience, and we have enough college campuses here to do that.