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Highlights of the 5th Annual Big Apple Film Festival

December 16, 2008

The 5th Annual Big Apple Film Festival took place November 19th and ran through November 22nd at the world famous Tribeca Cinemas. The festival screened 90 films of all genres and lengths. Categories included narrative feature films, short films, documentary, animation and experimental.

On November 19, the 5th Annual BAFF presented its opening night feature film and New York City premiere of “The Living Wake”(audience award winner, Woodstock Film Festival, Heineken Red Star Award, Cinevegas Film Festival). The film stars Mike O'Connell, Independent Spirit Award nominee Jesse Eisenberg (The Squid and The Whale, Rodger Dodger, The Village), Jim Gaffigan, Ann Dowd (Flags of Our Fathers, Garden State).

This year's closing night feature film was “The Project” (winner, audience award, 2008 Slamdance Film Festival). The film is directed by Ryan Piotrowicz.

Other highlights included “Picture Day” (2008 Student Academy Award nominee), “Megatron” (winner Palm D‘or, Short Film Category, Cannes Film Festival), “Beyond Wiseguys: Italian Americans and the Movies” (featuring interviews with Chazz Palminteri, Stanley Tucci, Susan Sarandon, Jack Valenti, David Chase, Ben Gazzara, Isabella Rossellini and others), iMurders (starring William Forsythe, Terri Colombino, Frank Grillo, Charles Durning) and “Jackie Mason: The Ultimate Jew”, a powerful behind the scenes look at legendary comedian Jackie Mason's final Broadway performance in New York City.
The festival also included a special “Spotlight on Students” section.

The 5th Annual Big Apple Film Festival also welcomed a series of special guest speakers
Special guests and discussions included:

Stereotypes and The Movies

An in depth discussion which examined how stereotyping cultures has impacted independent filmmaking, as well the Hollywood studio system. The panel discussed to what extent character stereotyping has impacted and influenced society's views and perspectives on one another. The discussion also examined whether or not stereotypes still exist in today's films., as well as how stereotyping has changed throughout the history of filmmaking in the United States and globally. Featured panelists included Oscar nominated writer/director Richard La Gravanese(P.S. I Love You, Freedom Writers), producers Rosanne Deluca Braun and director Steven Fischler .

Behind the Scenes With “The Living Wake”

A behind the scenes look at the making of the award winning film "The Living Wake" (Audience Award Woodstock Film Festival, .Heineken Red Star Award Cinevegas Film Festival). Filmmakers and cast discussed the experience behind development and production, how the concept transitioned from script to screen and how audiences have responded to the film at festivals nationwide. Keynote speakers included actors Jesse Eisenberg (The Squid and The Whale, Rodger Dodger, The Village) and Mike O'Connell, Producers Peter Kline and Chadwick Clough, and director/producer Sol Tryon (Bomb The System, Explicit Ills).

Horror Versus Thriller: Defining a Genre

A discussion with the director and cast of the feature film "iMurders", on the similarities and differences between the horror and thriller genres. Questions discussed were: Are the horror and thriller genres one in the same? At what point does a horror transition into a thriller and vice versa? How have these genres changed from early filmmaking to today? Special guest speakers included Actors William Forsythe (88 Minutes, Halloween, Gotti), Frank Grillo (Pride and Glory), Dan Grimaldi (The Sopranos), Christie Bothelo, Jack Mulcahey (The Brothers McMullen) and director Robbie Bryan.

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