Big Screen Dreams in Albany


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See films like Laurie Coyle's Adios Amor at the Albany FilmFest

Photo courtesy Albany Film Festival

Film festivals are programmed for audiences, of course, but they’re also designed for embryonic filmmakers—whether the young ’uns realize they want to make movies yet or not.

The ninth edition of Albany FilmFest delivers a slew of directors in question-and-answer sessions after the lights come up, spilling the behind-the-scenes beans for mavens and novices alike. Even better, the festival’s scale and intimacy allows for post-Q-&-A queries and conversations in the lobby or on the sidewalk. It’s a casual, unintimidating setting for cultivating curiosity, if you have or know a child who’s intrigued by making or playing with images.

The kids’ matinee on Sat., March 16, at Albany Community Center, augmented with filmmaking demonstrations, is an ideal place to start. The shorts’ programs that conclude the festival on Sun., March 24, are geared toward adults, but teenagers will find plenty to enjoy among the range of styles and themes.

In between, Albany FilmFest has assembled an alluring, all-ages lineup from around the Bay Area and beyond. Local filmmaker Laurie Coyle’s richly surprising Adios Amor: The Search for Maria Moreno (Tue., March 19) introduces us to California’s first Latina labor organizer. Stan Dodson, Nicolas Berger, and Emily Fraser’s Old Survivor, about the old-growth redwood tract in the Oakland hills, tops a triple bill of environmental documentaries on Wed., March 20. Deandre Forks’ music video for the East Oakland Scraper Bikes Team leads into Satan & Adam (Thu., March 21), V. Scott Balcerek’s Harlem-set, black-Jewish musical mystery tour that played last year’s S.F. Jewish Film Festival.

Like its predecessors, the ninth edition of the Albany FilmFest aspires to reach every member of the community, from the oldest to the youngest. Every dream, every movie, has to start somewhere.

Albany FilmFest, March 16-24, Albany Twin Theatre, 1115 Solano Ave., Albany, 510-525-4531, AlbanyFilmFest.org.

This article was originally published in our sister publication, the East Bay Monthly.

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