staff reports 04/14/09
In addition to all of the wonderful films on this year's festival program, SYRFILMFEST '09 has worked to produce a full slate of special events that will appeal to the widest possible range of film enthusiasts.

The festival kicks off Friday, April 24, with the opening night screening of "Ben Hur" (1925). The classic silent film will be screened with an original jazz score composed by J.C. Sanford and performed by Sanford and professional musicians, along with members of the Central New York Jazz
Orchestra. The event will take place at The Palace Theatre in Eastwood starting at 7 p.m.

The night of Saturday, April 25, features a screening of writer/director Scott Teems' film "That Evening Sun." The film, produced by Syracuse native Larsen Jay, is the story of an aging Tennessee farmer, played by Oscar-nominated actor Hal Holbrook, who is discarded by his son at a
nursing home and hitches a ride back to his country farm to live out his last days in peace. "That Evening Sun" took home the Audience Award and the Special Jury Award at this year's South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas. The screening will begin at 9:15 p.m. at The Palace Theatre and will be followed by a discussion with writer/director Teems and producer Jay.

On Sunday, April 26, beginning at 1 p.m., Le Moyne College will present its second annual Sidebar Screening, a series of films organized around the theme of "Personalizing Political Resistance." This program, which is composed of a mix of foreign and domestic documentaries and fiction films, will explore the human dimensions of various political struggles. The program will take place in Le Moyne's W. Carroll Coyne Center for the Performing Arts.

On Tuesday, April 28, the festival will present a special program free to the public titled "Russian Heroes of Disability." This day- and evening-long program, which begins at 2 p.m., focuses on two Russian films whose heroic main characters become disabled in the war with Afghanistan.

The filmmakers and members of the medical community will be on hand for a panel discussion between screenings of the two films.

On four separate nights, award-winning independent filmmaker Rob Nilsson will be on hand for special tribute screenings of his films. Nilsson will take questions at the conclusion of each film. The schedule includes:
"Northern Lights," Wednesday, April 29, 7 p.m., The Palace Theatre; "Need," Friday, May 1, 5:15 p.m., Everson Museum of Art; "Frank Dead Souls," Saturday, May 2, noon, Everson Museum; and "Presque Isle," Saturday, May 2, 7:30 p.m., Everson Museum.

Seminars have become an important component of SYRFILMFEST, and 2009 will continue the tradition. Forum/panel discussions will be held on Wednesday, April 29, and Thursday, April 30, on the Syracuse University campus. Both discussions are free and open to the public. The first, on Wednesday at 2 p.m. in the Joyce Hergenhan Auditorium in Newhouse 3, will focus on the subject of "Hollywood and Politics"; panelists include actress Michelle Anton Allen, actor Tom Bower, filmmaker Rob Nilsson and attorney John Stout. The second forum will take place on Thursday, April 30, at 2 p.m. in the Hamlin Auditorium at the Newhouse School and will be on the subject of "Music and Sound in Film"; panelists will include composer Jeff Beal and Canadian sound designer Jane Tattersal.

Saturday, May 2, will feature a series of seminars for interested professionals and students. Topics for the seminars include a "Gathering of CNY Filmmakers"; a "Film Investors Roundtable"; and a talk by Hollywood producer David Greenblatt, "How to Get Into the Business," which should be of interest to aspiring actors, directors, cinematographers and others seeking entry into the world of film.

And there will be parties! Several members of the cast and crew of the recent Ed Harris-directed western "Appaloosa"-including writer/producer Robert Knott, actor Tom Bower and composer Jeff Beal-will be in Syracuse for a screening of the film on Saturday, April 30, at 7 p.m. at The Palace
Theatre. The screening will be followed by a chance to mingle with the filmmakers at Daisy Dukes in Armory Square, beginning at 9:30 p.m.

Then on Saturday, May 2, the public is invited to come and dance with the filmmakers at the RUMS OF PUERTO RICO Awards Party-a celebration of this year's films and the people who make them at the MOST, beginning at 10 p.m. The party is open to the public; tickets are $40. The party will feature live music, dancing, food and the announcement of the film festival award winners. For more information on the party, visit syrfilmfest.com.

The 2009 SYRFILMFEST will close on Sunday, May 3, with the screening of "World's Greatest Dad," starring Robin Williams. The film's writer/director, Bob Goldthwait, is a Syracuse native who brings his latest film straight from the Sundance Film Festival. "World's Greatest Dad" will begin at 7 p.m. at The Palace Theatre, introduced by Goldthwait, and will be immediately followed by a party at OHM Lounge in Armory Square.

All events are subject to change. Check syrfilmfest.comfor the latest festival news, online ticket purchasing and details on all the films.

TAGS: SYRFILMFEST,Bob Goldthwait,Robin Williams,RUMS OF PUERTO RICO,MOST,David Greenblatt,J.C. Sanford,Ben Hurr,palace Theater,That Evening Sun
EDITION: The Eagle

Rating: 2.5/5 (8 votes cast)

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