Along with a number of full length feature films, the Buffalo International Film Festival (BIFF) showcases some shorts. One short in particular, The Runner, was not only shot in Buffalo, the director also happens to hail from this city. When I first saw the trailer for the film, I immediately sensed that it was going to be different than anything else on the festival’s docket.
The story, written and directed by Justin Berardi, is about a recovering alcoholic who must face the demons of his past. He does this by lacing up and hitting the streets.
Berardi began shooting The Runner in Buffalo two years ago. After making the rounds in Paris, Munich, Barcelona, Hong Kong and Seoul, the film will be making its North American debut at BIFF. Berardi felt that since the film’s backdrop (Buffalo) was so integral to the production, it was fitting to hold the premier at BIFF.
“From the first page of writing the script, I envisioned the diverse and authentic landscape of the city and knew it would serve as the perfect backdrop for the story, which is meant to be relatable to audiences in any city, American or otherwise,” shared Berardi. “Unlike Los Angeles and other frequently-filmed areas, Buffalo’s spectacular locations are largely unfamiliar to audiences, which add to the mystery of the character’s journey and bolster the sense of discovery the film encourages.”
The Runner was shot entirely without spoken dialogue, making the emotionally unhinged visuals even more powerful. With an all original soundtrack, messages that cover the socially charged issues of drunk driving and mental health, and a 12-minute run time, Berardi takes the viewer through an emotional journey that concerns all ages, cultures and demographics. In the end, we all have a ‘runner’ inside, who is looking for answers to issues that appear to be insurmountable. Thankfully, most of us are able to find an appropriate outlet to release the pain and anxiety that would otherwise control our lives.
“Beyond the aesthetic value of Buffalo, I have always been drawn to the character of the city itself as resilient, compassionate, and a special place where people rally around positive change. From the Buffalo Bills and the Rockpile to Larkinville and Silo City – and everywhere in between – the City of Good Neighbors is ingrained in me as an artist, and as a result, deeply integrated in THE RUNNER,” said Berardi.
Tickets for THE RUNNER can be purchased online at the BIFF website. The film will screen as part of the “Late Night Local Elevated Genre” block on Friday, October 7, 10:15PM at the North Park Theatre, 1428 Hertel Avenue in Buffalo. For tickets, please visit buffalointernationalfilmfestival.com/get-tickets.
The Runner opens for Alcoholist (Lucas Pavetto) Itally/USA, 105 minutes, World Premiere
See the entire BIFF X line-up by clicking here. BIFF X – October 7 to 10, 2016