BIFF17 REVIEW: Marshall [2017]

“No one will even remember you were here” It’s hard to believe America’s first black Supreme Court Justice hadn’t yet earned the big screen cinematic treatment until now. Besides Thurgood Marshall appearing as a character in a few TV productions (including HBO’s Emmy-nominated one-man play Thurgood starring Lawrence Fishburne) and two movies (The People vs. […]

BIFF17 REVIEW: Woman on Fire [2017]

“I’m sick and tired of being afraid and hiding” I’m not sure anyone could have written a better script than Brooke Guinan‘s real life to truly focus on what it means to be a transgender person in a bigoted, “traditional” world. Here’s a woman born as George Guinan VI into a FDNY (New York Fire […]

REVIEW: Dnevnik masinovodje [Train Driver’s Diary] [2016]

“I wish you a quick first accident” Whether a result of suicide, drunken stupidity, or sheer dumb luck, train drivers the world over kill people. You’d like to believe it’s a rarity, but the truth is most likely the opposite. What then is life like for those who’ve chosen this profession? They’re constantly on alert, […]

BIFF17 REVIEW: Mermaids [2017]

“All tails are welcome here” On first blush Ali Weinstein‘s documentary Mermaids focuses its glimpse at the titular sea myth’s power towards the whimsical and fun. She takes us from the days of old at Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park (which is still in operation) to a contemporary trend of mer-lovers creating or commissioning […]

BIFF17 REVIEW: Prodigy [2017]

“Love is the guise under which selfishness operates” Guilt is a powerful thing. It can make you act in ways that go against your own survival and yet still ensure those actions are selfishly motivated. You aren’t necessarily acting to help another or have their best interests in mind. You’re goal is to make-up for […]

BIFF16 REVIEW: Mercy [2016]

“Why would you let her suffer?” It’s practically impossible to talk about what’s happening in Chris Sparling‘s latest thriller Mercy without spoiling it. The writer/director knows, splitting it into three pieces as a result: the first third completely shrouded in mystery, the next a replay from alternative perspectives, and the last the truth of the […]

BIFF16 REVIEW: Off the Rails [2016]

“I’m volunteering my time” It starts as a lark: Darius McCollum led away in handcuffs with smile ear-to-ear. We think this is a guy having fun pretending to be a Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) employee. He knows what he’s doing, never hurts a soul, and gets people where they’re going on time whether by subway […]

BIFF16 REVIEW: 2307: Winter’s Dream [2016]

“I guess Hell finally froze over” The year is 2307 and Earth is three centuries removed from climate change transforming its surface to glacial ice. Humanity has evolved to living underground, improving technology to help sustain their tenuous ecosystem outside of the subzero temperatures. This includes insulation injections to combat cold for up to 48-hours, […]

BIFF16 REVIEW: Tony Conrad: Completely in the Present [2016]

“No LSD needed” When Tony Conrad passed away in April 2016, I knew of him as an experimental filmmaker. It’s hard to be an art student at the University at Buffalo—despite his teaching in Media Studies rather than Fine Art—and not know his name at the very least. But that was all I knew: a […]

BIFF16 REVIEW: Tower [2016]

“Stay away from the university area” My first experience with rotoscope animation was probably Richard Linklater‘s Waking Life in 2001. I found it a fascinating technique retaining the live action movement and reality while allowing the room to add dream-like flourishes of fantasy that fit the frame aesthetically. You don’t care when someone’s head becomes […]

BIFF16 REVIEW: Gold Star [2016]

“I wish I could stop worrying about everything” I know what Victoria Negri‘s debut feature Gold Star is about even if it never quite finds the footing to fulfill its promise. It’s about a young woman trapped in a life she never thought she’d lead as a part-time fitness club employee who’s lost the nerve […]