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FILM: High Falls Film Festival announces 2013 schedule


The High Falls Film Festival today announced the line-up of films for its 2013 edition, which will run April 18-21 at various local theaters. Although it will be the 11th installment of the festival overall, it is the first since 2011 and will feature a return to the festival's original name and a renewed focus on celebrating women in film.

This is clearly a rebuilding year for the festival, which has a new executive director in Mary Howard and new director of programming in Kate Dobbertin Bernola. The festival will include 32 programs featuring 50-plus films over the course of four days (plus an additional event on April 14) and -- at least at this time -- a deliberate lack of big-name celebrity guests.

There will be no recipient of the Susan B. Anthony "Failure is Impossible" Award this year, in part because Howard says that the festival wants to take to time to "cultivate" the honor. Festival Board Chair Malcolm Spaull also stated at the press conference that the festival doesn't want to bring in a celebrity "just for celebrity's sake." They want to find a recipient who is truly integral to women in film.

The festival took off 2012 to regroup and redefine itself. In 2009 the festival switched names to the 360 | 365 Film Festival and had brief partnerships with both the George Eastman House and the Rochester International Film Festival.

Dobbertin Bernola explained at Tuesday's press conference at Little Theatre that the theme of the 2013 festival would be celebrating women in film, which is not the same as films directed solely at women. She said that when choosing movies for the festival she tried to keep an eye on appealing to a wide audience, while still keeping women filmmakers in the forefront.

The schedule released this morning still has several holes on it with films to be announced. Among the more interesting selections released by the festival are:

-"The Girls in the Band," a documentary about gender discrimination in the national jazz scene

-"Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel," a documentary about the highly influential fashion writer and editor

-"How We Got Away With It," a drama that was shot largely in the region

-The "Go Public" Project, featuring short films shot in support of public education

In addition, WXXI will partner with the festival on Sunday, April 14, for "Film For All." The classic "His Girl Friday" will be broadcast on WXXI that afternoon, and there will simultaneously be a free screening of the 1940 Cary Grant/Rosalind Russell screwball comedy at the Central Library's Kate Gleason Auditorium. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion featuring High Falls Film Festival staff.

The festival will also offer visiting filmmakers, Q&A sessions, and educational panels on filmmaking. Parties are scheduled for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights at the Inn on Broadway, Strathallan, and Eastman House's Potter Peristyle, respectively. Fashion Week Rochester will present a fashion show in conjunction with a screening of the Vreeland documentary.

Tickets for films and events go on sale Friday, March 15, at the festival website. There will also be mobile box offices set up at around town at various dates and times, but details were not disclosed.