The 17th annual celebration of film is being held in Lake Placid this weekend. The Lake Placid Film Festival made a few changes this year including its name and when it’s held.
The film festival begins tonight with a gala to honor co-founder and former New York Daily News film critic Kathleen Carroll. Screenings start Friday. The festival features a number of changes this year – including its name. Until this year it was the Lake Placid Film Forum. It’s now the Lake Placid Film Festival. Organizers also moved the event from June to October. Festival Director Gary Smith says they felt attendance had been compromised by good weather. “We felt we were constantly competing with the weather. And although that’s a great time to be up here there are many things competing so we decided to move it to a time of year when it wasn’t so compelling to be outside.”
This is the first year the film festival features a theme because Smith says it needed something to help link the stories. The theme is “Embracing Diversity”. “Diversity was a topic that needed addressing up here in the Adirondacks we thought. And so we’ve brought films from all different regions and illustrating whether it’s economic diversity, whether it’s racial diversity, whether it’s people trying to get out of Columbia to make it to the U.S. all these kind of things. We honestly came to believe that there was no better genre or way of depicting these varying areas of diversity than on film. So that’s why we chose a number, but not all, but a number of the films are on that theme.”
This is the third year author and film historian Jeremy Arnold has picked a classic film and will host a discussion after its showing. Arnold says “The Lion in Winter” doesn’t appear often at festivals or classic film showings. "It’s celebrating its 50th anniversary which is the kind of anniversary that always makes us like to look back on certain films. It really holds up well. It also has a brilliant reputation. But I don’t know that it really has been shown and seen that much in recent decades. It’s not something that somehow seems to pop up all the time on television or in revival. And it has such a powerhouse cast and it’s such an entertaining movie you know it’s fantastic to see with an audience. And I just thought it would be a good choice for all those reasons."
Arnold says he’s drawn to this festival because of its eclectic mix of films. "I like how the lake Placid Film Festival incorporates them so that they’re all on an even playing field. You could see “The Lion in Winter” or you could see “Ramen Shop” or “Monrovia, Indiana” none of them are presented as outlier to the festival as a whole. It’s all integrated. That’s what I really like about it. And also the Lake Placid setting the sense of community here is very strong."
Forty films will be shown over three days on seven screens at three venues. They include “Free Solo”, “Bisbee 17”, “The Children Act”, “The Heiress” and “The Last Suit.”