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Film Lovers - and Actors and Directors - can Enjoy Return of Syracuse International Film Festival with Screenings, Talks, Workshops

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A wide range of international, American and New York made films are part of Syracuse International Film Festival this weekend.

The 18th annual Syracuse International Film Festival is about to get underway, and fans actually have films to see in person this year after going all virtual in 2020 due to the pandemic. In fact, the overall theme is “Return to your love of film.” Film Festival President John Ginty says they wanted to curate an experience for audiences.

“It was important to us not just to have films on the screen.  While of course that’s the most important part of our film festival, showcasing the talent of these filmmakers,  It was also important to us to be able to create an environment where [people can come, enjoy filmmakers who talk about what they do.”

For example, on Friday, Emmy nominee and writer for Fear the Walking Dead Nick Bernardone will conduct a writers workshop, air shows he wrote, and hang out for a Q and A. Master short-form filmmaker and SU alumnus Bryan Buckley will talk about his decades-long career on Saturday.

Ginty says the process of procuring films didn’t change; they tapped into their vast network of filmmakers and used an online service.

“The interesting part really came when, seeing what types of films were going to be submitted because of the nature of 2020 and not being able to do things on a normal scale in production and having to be very creative about how you make films.”

So, he says their biggest worry was if there would be enough films submitted, and what the quality would be.

“Much to our surprise, excellent, excellent films.  If you know what you’re looking for, you can see some of them have smaller casts, limited locations.  But all of that really adds to the ingenuity and creativity that these filmmakers have.” 

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Festival presenters didn't know the response they'd get from filmmakers when they sought entries, or from audiences being asked to come to a theater in person.

Ginty says if online, pre-sale tickets are any indication, audience interest is exceeding his expectations. The festival begins tomorrow/Friday and runs through Sunday at three locations: Shemin Auditorium in the Shaffer art building at SU and The Redhouse theatre downtown. The program and ticket information is at

Chris Bolt, Ed.D. has proudly been covering the Central New York community and mentoring students for more than 30 years. His career in public media started as a student volunteer, then as a reporter/producer. He has been the news director for WAER since 1995. Dedicated to keeping local news coverage alive, Chris also has a passion for education, having trained, mentored and provided a platform for growth to more than a thousand students. Career highlights include having work appear on NPR, CBS, ABC and other news networks, winning numerous local and state journalism awards.
Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at