The Knickerbocker Film Festival is under way this week, commemorating five years of presenting emerging filmmakers to New York’s Capital Region.
The festival opened at the Arts Center of the Capital Region in Troy on Friday: tonight it's back in Albany for four days of screenings at the Madison Theater, the Linda, and Spectrum 8 Theaters.
Joe Bonilla co-founded the Knickerbocker Film Festival in 2010. "We did it at the Madison Movie theater and we felt that Pine Hills deserved a film festival and the city of Albany deserves a film festival. And each successive year we've been growing it from one theatre, then two, and now we finally have every theater in the city of Albany but also the Arts Center in Troy. I believe for the region it's important to have a vitality that can only be done through film. And we have a lot of arts organizations that do a lot of great things, but in terms of filmmaking and emerging filmmakers that we're able to bring to Albany and show their work, we're proud to do it every year."
Twelve films were selected to be screened at the festival. Nikita Shpilberg directed Perfect Life, Inc. about one couple's attempt at creating the perfect moment. "We live in a very unique era of digital filmmaking. The cost of production of quality audio and video is incredibly low in comparison to only 20 years ago. The challenge is how do we see good work out there? That's where we rely on the gatekeepers, such as festivals."
Sonalii Castillo is an actress, producer and director. You may have seen on network shows like Heroes, CSI and NCIS. Her adventure short Dahlias: Wild Card follows two assassins bound by childhood friendship and betrayal as they rekindle an old pact to serve vengeance. "And just the fact that some festival saw it and recognized it and accepted it into the festival, that, for me as an artists just gives me so much validation. And I'm just so incredibly grateful and excited and just honored, really, to be hones with you, I'm really extremely honored, because I know that I was picked over people who I am sure are just as talented and are just as amazing, so I'm just feeling incredibly honored right now."
Festival co-founder Bonilla has the last word. "Anybody who wants to get a sliver of what the filmmaking community is gearing toward in terms of just a comprehensive program, the Knickerbocker Film Festival is the right choice for them, for their dollars.”