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The 14th Annual Buffalo International Film Festival

October 8 - 12, 2020 – Announces Feature Film Programming & Shorts Blocks

Tickets are now on sale for the 14th Annual Buffalo International Film Festival (BIFF)…. virtually, of course. 

Since 2006, BIFF has been promoting regional filmmaking initiatives by providing a number of resources that might not otherwise be available to makers, including workshops, seminars, industry panel discussions, fiscal sponsorship, and professional development opportunities. 

In a city like Buffalo, where we are finally beginning to substantially tap into the international film market, it’s more important than ever to support BIFF, which simply means viewing the films, and tuning into the artists.

This year’s festival showcases over 100 films, shorts and episodic series from 20 countries, with over 100 film delegates from across the globe participating! 

“We’re excited to provide a safe, socially distanced platform for cinematic discovery and networking this year with over 100 films, shorts and webisodes,” said Artistic Director, John J. Fink. “We’re committed to keeping what makes BIFF a special experience for our filmmakers and patrons while giving our audiences a little more time and space to discover our amazing official selections on a screen of their choosing during the festival weekend.”

The 2020 festival will run from October 8 to October 12. Audience members can now purchase tickets, to virtually view a heavy hitting line-up of films that include a number of Western New York premieres and international submissions/selections (see the films). 

Other festival highlights include:

  • A wide array of virtual film offerings to be watched at the leisure of the ticket holder during the festival period
  • Pre-recorded and live-streamed filmmaker Q&As
  • Panels and performances
  • Installations at local art spaces
  • Two evenings of screenings at the Dark Alley Drive-in on Hertel Avenue

Audiences will be able to screen BIFF films on their computers, mobile devices and smart TVs with screen casting or the Eventive TV app for Roku and Apple TV. This year BIFF will offer three affordable, flat-fee options for virtual viewing – $8/Individual screenings, $17/Triptychet (three screenings) and the unlimited Bison Pass (all virtual festival screenings and events, and one $20 drive-in ticket for $40). Once a ticket for a screening is purchased, viewers will have a 48-hour “watch window” from purchase/unlock.

Drive-in tickets are $20/car load. One car per transaction.  BIFF is also partnering with the Arts Services Initiative of Western New York and participating in their Arts Access Program to offer free tickets to community members enrolled in the program.

Announced Centerpiece Titles:

Arthouse Centerpiece – The Vasulka Effect, directed by Hrafnhildur Gunnarsdóttirby 

Video art pioneers Steina and Woody Vasulka struggle with finances, an extensive archive and a legacy spanning decades across multiple cities and continents. This documentary traces their life and work from Iceland to NYC, to Buffalo, to Santa Fe and back again. From  the ‘second renaissance’ celebrating the decentralization of media and revolution against censorship, to the present day – this intimate portrait explores what it means to be a media maker in an ever-changing, technological world.


WNY CenterpieceRunaway, directed by Meg Knowles

Buffalo-based filmmaker Meg Knowles retraces the steps of her sister, who in the summer of ’73 ran away from an upscale New England summer camp, hitchhiking cross-country to California. Weaving a tale of teen angst gone off the rails, a mother’s patient desperation and a sister’s disbelief, Knowles’ warm, personal documentary begs the question: does retracing your steps heal old wounds or make new ones?


Regional Centerpiece The Walrus and the Whistleblower, directed by Natalie Bibeau

St. Catherines-raised filmmaker Nathalie Bibeau’s award winning documentary follows Phil Demers, an ex-trainer at Niagara Falls, Ontario’s MarineLand who sets about to expose the park’s practices on social media and before the Canadian Senate, all while being sued by the park’s owners for $1.5 million for plotting to steal a walrus. 


Arthouse Spotlight Queer Genius, directed by Chet Catherine Pancake 

Chet Catherine Pancake’s affectionate and intimate portrait of multiple generations of critically acclaimed and notoriously radical queer artists overcome personal and political obstacles to find new ways to think about and live their own “genius.” Featuring Barbara Hammer, Eileen Myles, Black Quantum Futurism, Moor Mother, and Dynasty Handbag / Jibz Cameron.


Additionally BIFF is proud to host the Western New York premieres of several New York State feature film productions including Tahara and United We Sing (filmed in Rochester) and Paper Spiders (filmed in Syracuse) as well as features by local filmmakers including Work and The Songpoet.


Main 2020 Film Lineup:

This year’s filmic programming will feature 15 Domestic + International Narratives, 16 Domestic + International Documentaries, and 9 Shorts Blocks.

BIFF Domestic + International Narratives: 

Beautiful Dreamer, Amy Glazer (Dir), East Coast Premiere, USA

Screening with short film: A Dinner Party, Michèle Kaye (Dir), US Premiere, Canada


Cold Feet, Brad Ellis & Allen C. Gardner (Dir), NY Premiere, USA
Screening with short film: Black Hearts, Red Hands, Russell Southam (Dir), WNY Premiere, Australia


County Lines, Henry Blake (Dir), NY Premiere, UK


Fall Back Down, Sara Beth (SB) Edwards (Dir), US Premiere, Canada


Freeland, Kate McLean & Mario Furloni (Dir), WNY Premiere, USA

Screening with short film: Hung Up,  Damon O’Steen (Dir), NY Premiere, USA


Go/Don’t Go, Alex Knapp (Dir), WNY Premiere, USA

Screening with short film: Bodies, Jacob Anderson (Dir), WNY Premiere, USA


How To Stop a Recurring Dream, Edward Morris (Dir), NY Premiere, UK

Screening with short film: Two Winters, Anthony Saxe (Dir), WNY Premiere, USA


La Fameuse Invasion des Ours en Sicile (The Bear’s Famous Invasion of Sicily), Lorenzo Mattotti (Dir), NY Premiere, France


Marcus, J.R. Poli (Dir), North East Premiere, USA


Paper Spiders, Inon Shampanier (Dir), WNY Premiere, USA


Small Town Wisconsin, Niels Mueller (Dir), Special Presentation, USA


Tahara, Oliva Peace (Dir), NY Premiere, USA 


Toprak, Sevgi Hirschhauser (Dir), NY Premiere, Turkey

Screening with short film: alterSchädel, jonCates (Dir), NY Premiere, USA


Two Komachis, Takeshi Sone (Dir), WNY Premiere, Japan (Japanese with English subtitles)

Screening with short film: Those Beautiful Moments, Vasily Chuprina (Dir), NY Premiere, Russia (Russian with English subtitles)


Up On The Glass, Kevin Del Principe (Dir), Special Presentation, USA

Screening with short film: Treeline Lake, Sinah Ober (Dir), NY Premiere, USA


BIFF Domestic + International Documentaries: 

Determined: The Story of Holocost Survivor Avrahm Perlmutter, Keren Perlmutter (Dir), NY Premiere, USA

Screening with short film: Alina, Rami Kodeih (Dir), WNY Premiere, USA


Disrupted, Sarah Colt (Dir), NY Premiere, USA

Screening with short film: Dear Georgina, Adam Mazo & Ben Pender-Cudlip (Dir), WNY Premiere, USA


Higher Love, Hasan Oswald (Dir), WNY Premiere, USA


How To Overthrow The US Government (Legally), Caveh Zahedi (Dir), North American Premiere, USA

Screening with short film: The Deepest Hole, Matt McCormick (Dir), NY Premiere, USA


Landfall, Cecilia Aldorando,  (Dir), WNY Premiere, USA (Spanish with English subtitles)


No Bone: Scars of Survival, Mark Schiller (Dir), WNY Premiere, USA


Queer Genius, Chet Catherine Pancake (Dir), WNY Premiere, USA


Runaway, Meg Knowles (Dir), NY Premiere, USA


The Songpoet, Paul Lamont (Dir), NY Premiere, USA


There’s No Place Like This Place Anyplace, Lulu Wei (Dir), US Premiere, Canada


United We Sing, Dan Petracca (Dir), World Premiere, USA


The Donut Dollies, Norm Anderson (Dir), NY Premiere, USA


The Grand Unified Theory of Everything, Charlie Hoxie (Dir), WNY Premiere, USA

Screening with short film: Flag Country, Pamela Falkenberg & Jack Cochran (Dir), NY Premiere, USA


The Vasulka Effect, Hrafnhildur Gunnarsdóttir (Dir), NY Premiere, Iceland


The Walrus and the Whistleblower, Nathalie Bibeau (Dir), NY Premiere, Canada

Screening with short film: Sleepless Flight  Jeremey Cournyea (Dir), NY Premiere, USA


Work, Mani Mehrvarz (Dir), World Premiere, USA


BIFF Shorts Blocks:

BIFF Shorts: Danger Zone

OMG / WTF / NSFW / LMFAO movies.


BIFF Episodic

BIFF’s ongoing screening series about ongoing stories.


BIFF Shorts: Global Docs

Nonfiction dispatches from Poland, Greenland and Brazil.


BIFF Shorts: International Narratives

Stories from across the globe and into your home. 


BIFF Shorts: Lost Connections

Films about those lost and found moments in life.


BIFF Shorts: Racial Justice in View  

Works exploring issues of race, colonialism, visibility, (in)justice and more.


BIFF Shorts: Students

Your first look at exciting new voices in cinema.


BIFF Shorts: WNY Stories

Celebrating unique perspectives, voices and stories from Western New York.


BIFF Shorts: Youth Block

The next generation of storytellers – exciting new voices and work by filmmakers under 18. Co-presented with Squeaky Wheel Film and Media Art Center, and curated by students enrolled in their youth education and workforce development pipelines.

Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside, Buffalo Porchfest, and Paint vs. Paint. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market on Elmwood. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, the Hertel Alley Street Art Festival, and The Flutterby Festival.

Contact Newell Nussbaumer |

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