Film fans get a chance to take in the art and craft of other countries as the Syracuse International Film Festival gets underway tonight. This year’s event will give audiences a chance to interact with filmmakers.
This year, film buffs get transported to India for one of the highlights of this year’s festival. Founder and Artistic Director Owen Shapiro chose works by Madhur Bhandarkar to show audiences something a little different.
"His films are great. They sort of break the boundary line between Bollywood commercial musical kind of films and more serious themes so they're on that border and they create some really interesting ideas and they're beautifully made."
The festival also features works by Nick Cassavetes; an Israeli film that was actually shot here in Syracuse; as well as a music-in-film showcase with live scores played in front of silent films. Each night will also create special experiences.
"These are films that are all important, independent films, but it also gives the audience a chance to have a Q&A session with the filmmaker," says Shapiro. "Every single one of these films will be accompanied by either the director or an actor from the film or a producer. There will be real insight opportunities for the audience."
Shapiro feels the appeal of the international films is much more broad than just art-house movie fans. He also believes the festival has a solid history – if not exactly recognized locally.
"Our festival is really well-know and respected internationally and I think it has a fairly good national reputation, as well. I don't know about the local community. I don't know how many people in the local community are really interested in the arts or in film."
The Syracuse International Film Festival gets underway Tuesday night with Nick Cassavetes' “Unhook the Stars” at Syracuse University. Wednesday night, the festival will be showing silent films with live music at the Palace Theatre. All of the films, times and locations are at filminsyracuse.com.