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Samuel Fuller and Louis Gossett Jr. Celebrated at Niagara Falls Film Festival 2019
Samuel Fuller and Louis Gossett Jr. Celebrated at Niagara Falls Film Festival 2019

The Niagara Falls International Film Festival (NFIFF) announced the film and events lineup for the 2nd edition of the film festival taking place September 18 to 21.

Highlights among the film lineup include Matt Shapira’s BIG MUDDY, about two brothers coming to terms with the loss of their mother, using a trip down the Missouri River to forge a path forward; Randall Stevens’ faith-based drama THE REASON, starring NFIFF Legacy Award honoree Academy Award Winner Louis Gossett Jr. in a story of people facing crises and how their loves intersect as they attempt to overcome their struggles; Ron Vignone’s TWO WAYS HOME, a recent award-winner at the Women Texas Film Festival, which stars Tanna Frederick in a story of a bi-polar woman attempting to save her grandfather’s farm and reconcile with her estranged 12-year-old daughter; and Zachary Cotler, and Magdalena Zyzak’s THE WALL OF MEXICO, which stars critically-acclaimed actor Xander Berkeley and the TWILIGHT SAGA’s Jackson Rathbone in a story about a decadently wealthy Mexican-American family who start a bitter feud when they decide to build a wall to stop white locals from stealing their highly precious well water.

Continuing a tradition that began last year, NFIFF will open with a Red Carpet Gala on Wednesday, September 18 at The Rapids Theatre (1711 Main Street) celebrating the films and career of the legendary Samuel Fuller. The Gala celebration and Opening Night reception will feature the presentation of the NFIFF’s Icon of Industry Award, and a star on the Niagara Falls Walk of Fame to Christa and Samantha Fuller, the filmmaker’s wife and daughter, which will kick off a number of screenings of his classic films throughout the film festival, culminating in a Closing Night presentation of the WWII classic, THE BIG RED ONE. Fuller’s posthumous honor will also include a donation in his name to the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital. 

NFIFF will screen Samantha Fuller’s documentary about her father, A FULLER LIFE (2013), as well as presenting a number of great Fuller flicks. Among the classics, and notable Samuel Fuller titles that Niagara Falls film lovers can enjoy on the big screen will include; THE BIG RED ONE (1980); CHINA GATE (1957); HELL AND HIGH WATER (1954); THE NAKED KISS (1964); POWER OF THE PRESS (story by Fuller) (1943); SHOCK CORRIDOR (1963); and THE STEEL HELMET (1951).  Filmmaker and film historian Michael Schlesinger will also be on hand to add to the backstories and history of the films.

The evening will also include the presentation of NFIFF’s Legacy Award as well as the presentation of a star on Niagara Falls Walk of Fame to Academy Award Winner Louis Gossett Jr., who will be attending NFIFF with his latest film, THE REASON, and a special musical performance by Mikaela Astel, following her Top Ten finish in last season’s “The Voice” competition.

Niagara Falls International Film Festival’s Founder and President Bill Cowell said, “It’s always thrilling to both grow the film festival with more screenings and more filmmaker appearances for the local film fans to enjoy. But combining a salute to one of the greats of cinema like Samuel Fuller including his wife and daughter and some of the wonderful stars he worked with, with the best in independent film is going to add up to an incredible week for the city and the people here that truly love movies.”

2019 Niagara Falls International Film Festival Official Selections

NARRATIVE FEATURES

BIG MUDDY
Director: Matt Shapira
Country: USA,
Running Time: 116 min

After Bo and Duncan’s mother dies, the responsibility is given to Bo to decide if Duncan is able to handle his part of the inheritance. Bo’s son is suffering from severe asthma and this money would allow them to seek treatment from a specialist. Duncan is looking for a way to get out of town after losing a large bet so Bo easily convinces him to float down the Missouri River, the same river they went down as children. 

BOZKIR (LOOK AT THE BIRDS)
Director: Mehmet Tanrisever
Country: Turkey,
Running Time: 111 min

Abdullah and Cripple Ziya are gun dealers in the Bozkir district of Konya. They put honesty, honor, and dignity before anything else. Even though Abdullah and Cripple Ziya have opposite personalities, their friendship and partnership go back many years. Abdullah has worked hard and finally bought the horse he has bee dreaming of. Now, all he wants to do is marry his beloved Emine and build a happy life.

CHUBBY CAFÈ
Director: Li Qui
Country: USA,
Running Time: 81 min

Chubby is the boss of Chubby Café. She has four lovely employees: Lazy, Petty, Anger and Simple. Each of them has distinct personality. One day they saved a mysterious woman named Illusion from a suitcase. Illusion lost her memory and tried to find out who put her in the suitcase and delivered her to Chubby Café. At that time, three types of customers draw her attention: two crying little girls from orphanage, two passionate lovers and a homeless who made lots of troubles.

Preceded by

THE TRAFFIC SEPARATING DEVICE
Director: Johan Palmgren
Country: USA,
Running Time: 15 min

FANG
Director: Adam Steigert
Country: USA,
Running Time: 74 min

One night, one drug induced murder, turn local junkies Chloe Romero (Melodie Roehrig) and Joe Spencer (Theo Kemp) into criminals on the run. With no place to hide, they take a road trip to a distant relative’s house, only to find they’re not running from the law, but for their lives as they’re stalked and hunted by creatures of unknown origin.

Preceded by

THE HEADACHE
Director: Herman Carballo
Country: USA,
Running Time: 5 min

FLORRIE
Director: Ilir Pristine
Country: USA,
Running Time: 79 min

Florrie is a 30-year-old woman dating 3 men simultaneously. Juggling all these men is catching up with her as is her complicated past. Her best friend Henrietta puts Florrie on the spot and forces her to pick one of the committed boyfriends. Why is Florrie not able to accept love from any of these men?

Preceded by

MOTHER
Director: Rodrigo Sorogoyen
Country: Spain,
Running Time: 18 min

OLYMPIA
Director: Gregory Dixon
Country USA,
Running Time: 90 min

McKenzie Chinn stars as a struggling artist, navigating work and romance in the Windy City. When her boyfriend asks her to drop everything and move cross-country, she soon discovers that her biggest obstacle may be herself. Featuring quirky animation and a revelatory central performance, Olympia is a heartfelt story for anyone who’s ever felt adrift on the rough seas of adulthood.

Preceded by

THE MURALIST
Director: Eric Forman
Country: USA,
Running Time: 10 min

THE REASON
Director: Randall Stevens
Country: USA,
Running Time: 83 min

Welcome to southeast Michigan and the small town of Carlson where faith, hope, and struggle are defined by the different faces of those who live there. An addict that sits at a bar to forget. A mother whose five-year-old boy has leukemia. Two doctors. An atheist haunted by his past and a brilliant young oncologist that places all her hope in the power of modern medicine. A blind pastor whose son hasn’t spoken a single word in thirty-eight years. But the minister sees by faith. He knows there are answers and believes that someone who cares is watching… someone with a greater purpose. Yet there is something he doesn’t know… that none of them know. In the midst of the ordinary and the devastating, there is a reason these lives will be changed forever.

Preceded by

VIKING FUNERAL
Directors: Bobby Webster, Alden Ford
Country: USA,
Running Time: 19 min

SGT. STUBBY – AN UNLIKELY HERO
Director: Richard Lanni
Countries: Ireland/France,
Running Time: 84 min

The true story of a stray dog who joins his new master on the battlefields of the World War I. For his valorous actions, Sgt. Stubby is still recognized as the most decorated dog in U.S. history.

SGT. WILL GARDNER
Director: Max Martini
Country: USA,
Running Time: 125 min

An Iraq War veteran takes a spirited motorcycle trip across America and picks up pieces of his life that have been lost since going into combat.

SHEPARD
Director: Jourdan McClure
Country: USA,
Running Time: 75 min

A troubled teen crosses paths with a charismatic, dangerous stranger and it becomes the worst decision in both of their lives.

Preceded by

THE BOY HERO
Director: Kyle Thompson 
Country: USA,
Running Time: 21 min

THE SNOW QUEEN: MIRRORLANDS
Directors: Robert lence, Aleksey Tsitsilin
Country: Russia,
Running Time: 87 min

A powerful king nearly lost his family due to the Snow Queen’s evil deeds. He finds a way to withdraw all the magic from the world – they who master the magic powers get trapped into the Mirrorlands. The only one who can stop him and keep the fairytale in our world is Gerda – as her own superpower is not sorcery but her faith in kindness and friendship. In Gerda’s new adventures, the Snow Queen herself will help her along with trolls and pirates.

TURNOVER
Director: Linda Palmer
Country: USA,
Running Time: 120 min

When café owner Peter, leaves his disgruntled manager Henry, to take care of business, Henry instead hires a crew of misfits, including his replacement. Peter returns to an unrecognizable business but soon learns the value of camaraderie and bonds with the new team. Only through their help is he able to save his business, his life, and find love. 

TWO WAYS HOME
Director: Ron Vignone
Country: USA,
Running Time: 93 min

A young woman living with bipolar disorder struggles to care for her cantankerous grandfather and his dilapidated farmhouse, all while trying to reconcile with her estranged 12-year-old daughter. 

Preceded by

PIGGY
Director: Carlota Martinez
Country: USA,
Running Time: 14 min

THE WALL OF MEXICO
Directors: Zachary Cotler, Magdalena Zyzak
Country: USA,
Running Time: 105 minA young handyman begins working for a decadently wealthy Mexican-American family and is drawn into a bitter feud when the family decides to build a wall to stop white locals from stealing their highly precious well water.

Preceded by

AGE OF BRYCE
Directors: Brian Elliott, David Feagan
Country: USA,
Running Time: 10 min

YES
Director: Rob Margolies
Country: USA,
Running Time: 101 min

Based on Tim Realbuto’s critically acclaimed Off-Broadway play, YES tells the story of washed up child star Patrick Nolan, whose life was ruined when he was involved in a scandal involving a minor. Years later, Patrick becomes entranced with a 17-year-old student, who he decides to mentor. What begins as an innocent acting lesson turns into something much more intimate between two surprisingly common minds.

DOCUMENTARY FEATURES

GOING ATTRACTIONS: THE DEFINITIVE STORY OF THE MOVIE PALACE
Director: April Wright
Country: Australia,
Running Time: 84 min

The evolution of the movie business over the past century, from penny arcades and nickelodeons, to the grand movie palaces built by the studios, and what happened over the decades as they were challenged by television, decaying downtowns, multiplexes, and cell phone cinema.

Preceded by

FOR THE GIRL IN THE COFFEE SHOP
Director: Rebekah Jackson
Country: Australia,
Running Time: 9 min

SING YOU A BRAND NEW SONG: THE WORDS AND MUSIC OF COLEMAN MELLETT 
Director: C.D. Malloy
Country: USA,
Running Time: 52 min

Documentary tells the story of Coleman Mellett’s life and the making of the album, Life Goes On which was built around unpublished material he had recorded prior to his death, which was a labor of love for all involved.

Screens with

ONCE IN A HUNDRED YEARS: THE LIFE & LEGACY OF MARIAN ANDERSON
Director: William Nicoletti
Country: USA,
Running Time: 40 min

Young black girl from South Philadelphia becomes first African American to break down barriers for black classical singers.

WHO KILLED LT. VAN DORN?
Director: Zachary Stauffer
Country: USA,
Running Time: 80 min

Lt. Wes Van Dorn, a 29-year-old United States Naval Academy graduate and the married father of two young sons, died when the helicopter he was piloting crashed off the coast of Virginia during a 2014 training exercise. Motivated by her grief, his wife Nicole sought an explanation for the cause of the disaster. Her efforts spurred an investigation that uncovered a long history of negligence and institutional failings around the 53E helicopter-the model Van Dorn was piloting when he was killed, and the deadliest aircraft in the US military. 

SALUTE TO SAMUEL FULLER

A FULLER LIFE (2013)
Director: Samantha Fuller 
Country: USA,
Running Time: 80 min

Friends and admirers of iconoclastic film director Sam Fuller read from his memoirs.

THE BIG RED ONE (1980)
Director: Samuel Fuller
Country: USA,
Running Time: 113 min

A hardened sergeant and the four core members of his infantry unit try to survive World War II as they move from battle to battle throughout Europe.

CHINA GATE (1957)
Director: Samuel Fuller
Country: USA,
Running Time: 97 min

In 1954, during the French Indochina War, an Eurasian female smuggler and a group of French Foreign Legion mercenaries, infiltrate the enemy territory in order to destroy an arms depot.

HELL AND HIGH WATER (1954)
Director: Samuel Fuller
Country: USA,
Running Time: 103 min

During the Cold War, a scientific team refits a Japanese submarine and hires an ex-Navy officer to find a secret Chinese atomic island base and prevent a Communist plot against America that could trigger WW3.
THE NAKED KISS (1964)Director: Samuel FullerCountry: USA, Running Time: 90 minKelly, a prostitute, traumatized by an experience, referred to as ‘The Naked Kiss,’ by psychiatrists, leaves her past, and finds solace in the town of Grantville. However, her path towards happiness is thrown amiss, when she witnesses a shocking event, which threatens not just her happiness, but her mental health as well.Preceded byABERRATIONDirector: Edmund MaziarzCountry: USA, Running Time: 9 min
POWER OF THE PRESS (1943)Director: Lew LandersStory by: Samuel FullerCountry: USA, Running Time: 64 minDuring WWII, the publisher of the isolationist New York Gazette is murdered just as he was about to change the paper’s policy and support the US war effort. His friend, a small town patriotic editor, is brought in to find the culprits.Preceded bySCHMO BOAT (2015)Director: Michael SchesingerCountry: USA, Running Time: 30 min

SHOCK CORRIDOR (1963)
Director: Samuel Fuller
Country: USA,
Running Time: 101 min

Bent on winning a Pulitzer Prize, a journalist commits himself to a mental institution to solve a strange and unclear murder.

THE STEEL HELMET (1951)
Director: Samuel Fuller
Country: USA,
Running Time: 85 min

A ragtag group of American stragglers battles against superior Communist troops in an abandoned temple during the Korean War.

SHORT FILMS

Short Docs & Music Videos
TRT: 96 min

AMONG THE HEMLOCKS: FANTASTIC STORIES FROM FREDONIA, NY
Director: Roslin Smith
Country: USA,
Running Time: 27 min

Filmed amidst the beautiful landscapes of Fredonia, this informative, educational, and entertaining documentary incorporates historical music and sounds, to relive a bygone era and the people who lived, died and continue to live among the hemlocks.

RISKING EVERYTHING: A STORY OF NIAGARA’S FREEDOM SEEKERS
Directors: Isadore Bleckman, Mary Roseberry
Country: USA,
Running Time: 34 min

17 SHOTS
Director: Uga Carlini
Country: South Africa,
Running Time: 4 min

COLOR SCHEME: THE JEPHRIES
Director: Quinton Oliver Smith
Country: USA,
Running Time: 5 min

THE DREAM BOX
Director: Michael Angelo Colgan
Country: USA,
Running Time: 5 min

LOVER AND A GIVER
Director: Sebastian Rivera
Country: USA,
Running Time: 4 min

MISSING YOU
Director: Elijah Goodell
Country: USA,
Running Time: 6 min

THIRSTY EYES: 838
Director: Ioan Gavriel
Countries: Austria/Poland,
Running Time: 6 min

TRYING TO FIND LOVE
Director: Michael Eldon Lobsinger
Country: USA,
Running Time: 5 min

Program “A”
TRT: 88 min

THE HOURGLASS (Das Stundenglas)
Director: Dieter Grohmann
Country: Austria/Germany,
Running Time: 6 min

LESS HEAT IN ARIZONA
Director: Tom Wardach
Country: USA,
Running Time: 15 min

MOTHER’S DAY MEMORIES
Director: Matthew Michael Ross 
Country: USA,
Running Time: 15 min

THE QUIT
Director: Todd Lillethun
Country: USA,
Running Time: 28 min

WELCOME FRESHMAN
Director: Bradley Bethel
Country: USA,
Running Time: 4 min

YELLOW ARROWS
Director: Yana Sar
Country: USA,
Running Time: 15 min

Program “B”
TRT: 89 min

THE AIRPORT RUN
Director: Eliana Ujueta
Country: USA,
Running Time: 22 min

GOOD EGG
Director: Laurel Cummings
Country: USA,
Running Time: 6 min

GPS
Director: Roben Goodfellow
Country: Canada,
Running Time: 13 min

LEMONS
Director: Simon Werdmüller von Elgg
Country: USA,
Running Time: 13 min

MAMA’S RECIPE (La Ricetta della Mamma)
Director: Dario Piana
Country: Italy,
Running Time: 15 min

RAW
Director: Adrienne Cobbs
Country: Australia,
Running Time: 10 min

TREE GAME
Director: Julie Slack
Country: USA,
Running Time: 10min

Program “C”
TRT: 95 min

A SERIOUS SCORE
Director: Haley Poth
Country: USA,
Running Time: 14 min

COLD STORAGE
Director: Thomas Freundlich
Country: Finland,
Running Time: 9 min

MOTH
Director: Shu Zhu
Country: Germany,
Running Time: 17 min

STORMCHASER
Director: Gretl Claggett
Country: USA,
Running Time: 27 min

THE TATTOOED HEART
Director: Sheldon Wong Schwartz
Country: USA,
Running Time: 10 min

Program “D”
TRT: 68 min

ALWAYS
Director: Natalie Shaheen
Country: USA,
Running Time: 7 min

AVENGEMENT
Directors: Edgar Jimz, Edward V. Turner
Country: USA,
Running Time: 13 min

FILCH
Director: Rachel Fitzgerald
Country: Australia,
Running Time: 10 min

INTERVENTION
Director: Linda Palmer
Country: USA,
Running Time: 15 min

THE STATEMENT
Director: Kenyon Noble
Country: USA,
Running Time: 23 min

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