Flocking to the Film Forum

LAKE PLACID – The Lake Placid Film Forum is adding a few new elements this year, changing some things and bringing back the old favorites.

This year’s film forum runs Wednesday, June 12, through Sunday, June 16 and its theme is “The shared experience in a wired world.” The forum plans to look at the idea of what a shared experience is as the way people watch movies evolves over time and movie theaters shift away from filling the same role they historically have.

In an essay in the forum’s program, forum Project Specialist T.J. Brearton writes that no matter how you view movies – on your cell phone’s Netflix app, at home on TV or in a movie theater – you’re engaging in the shared experience of movie watching.

“For me, the theater experience remains the one type of shared experience that remains in my mind long after it’s over,” Brearton wrote.

Artistic Director Kathleen Carroll agrees, writing in the program introduction about an experience of watching a movie in Lake Placid in the 1950s that still brings a powerful emotional response for her today.

“The opening sequence was a ride on the Coney Island roller coaster and that night was the ultimate shared experience for the entire audience who squealed as they felt what seemed like the real stomach-churning impact of riding a roller coaster,” Carroll wrote.

Coffee and Conversation

In the past, the forum has often staged a panel discussion to focus on a specific topic. This year, organizers wanted to do something a little more informal and casual to encourage discussion about the shared experience. So Saturday morning will feature Coffee and Conversation, a discussion lead by Ira Deutchman.

Duetchman has been making, marketing and distributing films since 1975, having

worked on more than 150 films, including some of the most successful independent films of all

time. He was one of the founders of Cinecom and later created Fine Line Features, two

companies created from scratch, and in their respective times, helped define the

independent film business. He’s currently the managing partner of Emerging Pictures and teaches at Columbia University.

His talk will focus on techniques that can be used by theaters to introduce new revenue streams, diversify their product, and remain relevant and exciting in a medium dominated by Hollywood and diffused by widespread digital media.

Forum organizers are encouraging people to attend and participate in the discussion, giving their opinions on what they want to see from their local movie theaters.

The event is set for 10 a.m. Friday at the Palace Theatre.


A popular element of past forums, the annual Sleepless In Lake Placid 24-hour film competition, will return once again this year, and it will also focus on the theme of the shared experience, said forum Associate Coordinator David Press.

Four New York colleges – Syracuse University, Marist College, Hobart and William Smith and the Rochester Institute of Technology – will compete in the challenge, which is to write, film and edit the best 10-minute film they can in 24 hours.

The culmination of SILP, when everyone meets up and watches the films, then prizes are awarded, is set for 8:45 p.m. Friday at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts.

Film screenings

And of course, there are a number of screenings scheduled of a variety of films. The forum always has a mix of local and non-local films and activities, but all of them have some sort of connection to the area.

“What’s extremely important to us is having this sense of community,” Press said. “As a programming committee, we try to pull out films that are of interest to a great many people but specifically focused on area filmmakers.”

Some of the films have a more literal connection, like “The Mountains Will Wait for You,” which will kick off the forum on Wednesday night and is about the matriarch of the Adirondack 46ers, or “Summit,” a film about a tragic hike of K2, which should interest local hiking enthusiasts.

Others have a looser connection, like “A Band Called Death,” about what some call the original punk band, which was from Burlington, Vt., or “Fairhaven,” a film that appealed to Carroll’s tastes.

Carroll is also excited to bring “Whitewash,” which Press said got a lot of buzz at the Sundance Film Festival.

“Kathleen is always looking for the more independent, noteworthy films,” Press said.

Press said he’s most excited about the film “Syrup,” a self-referential commentary on marketing and how businesses manipulate us all as consumers.

“It’s hilarious,” Press said. “It’s really funny. Surprisingly funny.”

The forum this year is adding the Tony Lucas Award to its North Country Shorts segment, a group of short films made by area artists.

The award will be partly monetary, plus it will offer the winner “a special opportunity,” and the winner will be chosen based on excellence in cinematography and artistic use of location.

There are eight short films slated for the North Country Shorts program this year, and they are scheduled to be shown from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts.

Press said the idea behind adding an award to the program is to help along the idea that Lake Placid and the area is not just sports-centered.

“There’s also fantastically creative individuals who are making really great films,” Press said.

For more information about the forum, go to

Contact Jessica Collier at 891-2600 ext. 26 or