BIFF15 REVIEW: In the Dark [2015]


“Atheist searching for a miracle” There’s nothing like a good cold open to set the mood and David Spaltro‘s In the Dark gets out of the gate running. It introduces us to Joan (Catherine Cobb Ryan) and Bethany Mills (Grace Folsom)—a seemingly wholesome mother and daughter duo connected by love and respect. The former has […]

BIFF15 REVIEW: They Look Like People [2015]


“You must prepare for the war” **POTENTIAL SPOILERS** I do not consider They Look Like People‘s Wyatt (MacLeod Andrews) being revealed as schizophrenic to be a spoiler. He goes to see a psychiatrist pretty early on and is in a constant battle with himself to figure out what’s real and what isn’t. Rather than be […]

BIFF15 REVIEW: Strange Bird [2015]


“Happy Birthday, Emma” After their screening premiere of Strange Bird at the Buffalo International Film Festival, co-writers Daniel Mecca (who also co-directs with Timothy Ringwood) and Conor O’Donnell explained how much of the short’s final cut was found in the editing room. This makes perfect sense as there’s no dialogue for almost the entire first […]

BIFF15 REVIEW: Emelie [2015]


“Everyone dies at some point” It begins with the abduction of a girl. The scene is quiet and innocuous until it isn’t—a car rolling up to a young girl to ask for directions as children play in the background. The driver says, “Are you Anna?” before a man grabs her and shoves her in the […]

BIFF15 REVIEW: Prescient [2015]


“Things would have been very different if it weren’t for her” Theodore Meridian (Michael Piccirilli) sees the future—a very specific future. If the person he locks eyes with is destined to die within 24-hours, he’ll catch a glimpse of their demise. This power has haunted him since childhood and only his Aunt Kay (Bryna Weiss), […]

INTERVIEW: Sebastian Schipper, director/cowriter of Victoria


The word on the street about Victoria is that it’s a must-see for one reason: its entire two-plus hour runtime was captured in a single, pulse-pounding continuous take. While that aspect is definitely paramount, don’t think the film has nothing else to offer. This thing gets your blood pumping as much from the authentic performances […]

TIFF15 REVIEW: Der Nachtmahr [2016]


“What do you want from me?” In great Lost Highway-era David Lynch fashion, visual artist turned filmmaker Akiz‘s Der Nachtmahr switches from linear reality to seamlessly disorienting crosscuts between life and dream. It occurs when soon-to-be eighteen year old Tina (Carolyn Genzkow) passes out drunk while peeing in the woods outside a secret rave full […]

TIFF15 REVIEW: Peur de rien [Parisienne] [2016]


“For now everything is ugly” Many deflect from it, but a writer/director’s intent can change the viewer’s outlook on his/her film. Danielle Arbid‘s fictional coming-of-age drama about a college-aged immigrant from Lebanon to France (Manal Issa‘s Lina) is one containing many new acquaintances able to help her find the freedom she covets but never found […]

TIFF15 REVIEW: Waves ’98 [2015]


“It feels like everything is stuck in a loop” Downtown Beirut is Waves ’98‘s lead character Omar’s (Elie Bassila)—a virtual, teenage stand-in for writer/director Ely Dagher—”white whale”. It’s a world he has yet to experience close-up, relegated to peering over and through concrete buildings from his safe suburban rooftop at a city split in two […]

TIFF15 REVIEW: Maman(s) [2015]


“I’m drowning in it now” Young Aida (Sokhna Diallo) is forced to process a lot on the day her father (Eriq Ebouaney‘s Alioune) returns to Paris from Senegal after two months away. First is the joyous laughter of mom (Maïmouna Gueye‘s Mariam) and her friends burning an herbal aphrodisiac up her dress. Next is the […]

TIFF15 REVIEW: Viaduc [Overpass] [2015]


“Your brother’s plane arrives at 5 PM” Writer/director Patrice Laliberté‘s short film Viaduc [Overpass] relies heavily on our suppositions as the viewer. And it does so to perfection. To us Mathieu (Téo Vachon Sincennes) has done nothing to earn the benefit of the doubt. Not only do we meet him sneaking out to illegally spray […]