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Weekend-Long Film Festival in Nyack

Screenings spotlight local, international filmmakers

Film buffs won't have to travel far to see independent flicks this weekend.

The will host its first-ever film festival Friday through Sunday, kicking off today at 7 p.m. and showing a total of 18 original films from local and international artists.

"This is an opportunity to see [films] in a closer point to their creation," said Nyack Village Theatre owner Richard Quinn. "It's a very real film experience."

The festival will feature a mix of documentaries, comedies, romance and science fiction.

Quinn said he wanted to give local filmmakers the opportunity to show off their work, but ended up with a few surprises. Award-winning films like A Girl, A Guy, A Space Helmet are set to showcase, and Alienated—directed by Paul Borghese and filmed in Piermont—will star Vincent Pastore from "The Sopranos."

Emmy award-winning writer Christopher Kit Lukas, of Sparkill, entered his film The Choreographer into the festival. The 55-minute piece documents his neighbor Lisa de Ribere, a former New York City Ballet and American Ballet Theatre dancer, as she composes a new work for Barnard College dancers.

"I've always loved doing behind-the-scenes shows looking at various art forms," Lukas said. I think it's more interesting than the performance itself. It shows the thing we very seldom get to see, which is people preparing."

Varying in length from 10 minutes to 105 minutes, some films will be shown two or three times during the weekend-long event. Awards will be given for Best Direction and Best Screenplay, as well as an award for each film-length category: Best Short, Best Short Feature and Best Feature.

The films' directors and actors aren't the only ones who have had a brush with fame. Actor and composer Sam Waymon, of Nyack, will be one of the festival's judges.

Waymon has been involved with films for 39 years, ever since he acted in and wrote the music for Ganja and Hess. The film, shot in Nyack, went on to be named one of the 10 Best American Films of the Decade at the 1973 Cannes Film Festival.

Waymon said one of the key qualities he'll be looking for in a winning film is its believability.

"I'm looking at the content, if the story makes sense—if there's a reality to the acting," he said. "If there's no truth to it, the film fails at that point."

As a composer, Waymon said another characteristic he'll focus on is how the music interplays with the dialogue and the characters.

"It's all an emotional trip," he said. "Movies are about travel, fantasy, where the filmmaker wants you to go. What you hear audio-wise is just as important as what you see visually."

Tickets for the Nyack Film Festival can be purchased for $12 online or $15 at the door. Some of the shows are almost sold-out, Quinn said. A complete schedule of the Nyack Film Festival can be viewed .

Quinn added that locals should take advantage of being able to see independent films before they hit the big screen.

"This festival is for anyone who's interested in seeing film that has been created recently, and mostly locally," he said. "You're seeing where we are now, rather than seeing these films a year from now before they get out into the commercial, corporate world."

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